The Italian holiday Ferragosto literally means the fifteenth of August. For literary types, the fifteenth of another month (March) might bring to mind a day of gloom and doom that was foretold to Julius Caesar, but was a warning he chose, tragically, to ignore, in Shakespeare’s dramatization of the historical event. However, in Italy, the fifteenth of August, or Ferragosto, is a time for feasting, fireworks spectacles and drinking in celebration of the tradition end of the harvest. Given what it takes to make a good bottle of wine, this day of revelry is well deserved.
Giovanni Bonmartini Fini, of centuries old Barone Fini vineyards, partners with Nicola and Dora Marzovilla of I Trulli Enoteca e Ristorante, to bring the Ferragosto celebratory tradition to New York City, in the spirit of charity.
I Trulli has designed a four course menu emphasizing the best of its traditional Southern Italian menu to commemorate the occasion on August 15, 2016. Barone Fini will donate the proceeds from the sale of its wines during that day to The Food Bank of New York City.
Giovanni, an Italian with Italian and Italian American roots is the fifteenth generation member of the Bonmartini Fini family of winemakers and he wanted to give back to the city his mother called home. Success in the paper products industry in Rome allows Giovanni and his sister to concentrate on wine making as a passion and an important part of the Bonmartini family history and tradition.
The Barone Fini vineyards are located along the mountain slopes in Valadige or the Adige River Valley in the Trentino Alto Adige or the Upper Adige/ Sud Tirol. The vineyard plants several grape varieties including two of Italy’s most important varietals, Pinot Grigio and Merlot. The Pinot Grigio grapes are grown on twenty five to thirty year old vines and the Merlot grapes are grown on fifteen to eighteen year old vines.
The grapes are hand harvested and sorted before being processed and bottled under Denominazione di Origine Controllata or D.O.C. regulations that guarantee the origin and the quality of a wine.
On August 15, 2016, two D.O.C. Pinot Grigios and a D.O.C. Merlot will be served at I Trulli in celebration of Ferragosto and in support of The Food Bank of New York City. The first, a crisp Barone Fini Pinot Grigio,Trentino, 2015, with lively lemon and apple notes, a refreshing acidity and balanced mineral elements, makes a wonderful pairing with a chef’s selection of antipasti that include pillowy mozzarella cheese and tomato calzones, and a caprese salad of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
A Barone Fini Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige, 2015, with good
structure, balanced notes of citrus and tropical fruit, and a subtle herbaceousness has just enough complexity and weight to complement a hearty meatballs in marinara sauce that makes up part of the first course. It also works well with a seafood salad of sauteed calamari, clams and shrimp in a zesty vinaigrette.
A fruit forward and well rounded Barone Fini Merlot, Trentino, 2014, with luscious notes of fresh berries and cherries makes a perfect complement to a second course selection of tender grilled flat iron Wagyu steak. The fruitiness of the wine balances the subtle roasted flavors of the steak.
A smooth and creamy panna cotta with coconut, mango and pineapple present a welcome, light and sweet ending to a celebration for a charitable cause served Italian style.