Sunday, June 07, 2015

What the World Needs Now is Passerina, Sweet #Passerina

Rome, if anything, is a mirror of all that is good and bad in the world. From my first trip here, in 1971, and with all the times I have come into this city, it has eternally stayed the same. Rome is simply a reflection of the humanity that inhabits present time and space.

Tonight, at Cesare al Casaletto, the food was lovely as always, the mosquitos were gentle, the dogs were patient and many of the patrons were in a state of propagation frenzy. One would have thought it was the beginning of Spring, not the end. I counted four tables where the dessert was foreplay. Entertaining, at the least, to this observer, who had a brand new Passerina to keep him company.

What is it about Passerina? It’s not as harsh as Trebbiano, not as deep as Verdicchio, not as shallow as Frascati and not at all disappointing. If I could imagine a world, it would be one where Passerina flowed endlessly, to all who were open to its charms. Passerina is what many of us are looking for in a wine ̶  delicate, fresh, clean, yes it’s all that. But it’s not just that, something else is going on. How well it went with the fried zucchini blossoms. And the fresh calamari fritti. But then the rigatoni with oxtail sauce comes to the table. Did it shrink? Not at all. Passerina stood up to the challenge, took the bull by the horns and the two were last seen nuzzling up to each other, way beyond the foreplay stage. Yes, versatile, would be the word. But never cheap or even easy. One must bring their best sauce, their finest al dente pasta, for Passerina bores easily. And the last thing one wants is a lackluster Passerina.

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In other news, well not really news at all. More like a pre-moon-landing walk down Via Veneto.

While I am in Rome, long time restaurateur once told me about Rome in the 1960’s. This restaurateur, let’s call him Mario, told me that he would come to Italy to visit relatives and to do research on the foods being served in local places, usually upscale, as Mario was an upscale kind of guy.

For those who don’t know or are too young to remember, the Via Veneto was ground zero for La Dolce Vita. Fellini fashioned ideas and shaped images from the Via Veneto café society. I was too young, but by all accounts, this was the place to be. Italy was coming out of its long coma from the last war, and Western Society was going through the beginning of a sexual revolution that we still haven’t seen the end of. Talk about a long tail.

Mario was on site, regularly, to assess the food scene, and to also participate in the café society that attracted folks like him. I can only imagine the energy that Rome had for those who were open to such experiences. Many of them are old now, if not dead. And likely, the youth of today look at these oldsters as folks who have never felt a quiver in their loins. Well, those youngsters would be mistaken, for it was the octogenarians, and the nonagenarians who set the sexual revolution in play and made it possible for those four couples to start their foreplay course at the tables in front of me. It was a great show, and I had a wonderful little Passerina there to keep me company.

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And the wine? It was a 2014 from Agricola Macciocca, Monocromo #1, Passerina del Frusinate IGT from Lazio. A wine produced in harmony with nature and one that was not only delicious and a great value, but one that ebbed and pulsed with the meal and the emotions that were present in Rome on a late Spring night. And yes, it was a dry wine, but a very sweet experience.

So, it seems, we're finally back on the wine trail in Italy. More to come. Check in regularly for the next week or so.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

thomas tucker said...

What a coincidence- just ate there last week. The eggplant was marvelous, as were the tripe and the zucchini.

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