My mom was in town this past weekend, and for her last evening in Chicago we went to dinner at Terragusto. Terragusto is a popular BYOB in Roscoe Village known for its fresh, seasonal, authentic Italian food. I had been once before, but quite a while ago, before I was–gasp!–really that into wine. My mom is becoming increasingly more open-minded and adventurous when it comes to wine, so I had pretty much free range for selecting a wine to go with dinner. I couldn’t help but choose a new favorite of mine: the 2006 Velonosi Vigna Solaria.
This wine is only $15 and so super delicious. It is a blend of pecorino, passerina, and trebbiano from the Marche region of Italy (the eastern coast — think of it as the upper calf of the boot). This wine is so interesting because it is slightly late harvest; the grapes are picked in late October. Because of this, the wine has just a hint of sweetness. Paired with its solid acidity and herbal characteristics, this sweetness refreshes the palate and plays well with many foods. This wine is also substantial enough, with a certain richness on the palate, to stand up to heavier fare.
To start out the meal, we ordered two appetizers: a mushroom sformato, which is a savory vegetable custard, and polenta with eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and mozarella. The wine went well with both, although it perhaps did not cut the rich, dense sformato quite well enough. For our pasta courses, we got a four cheese tortelli with pesto sauce and zucchini, as well as black tagliatelle noodles with shrimp. Both of these were quite delicious, especially the tagliatelle, although the wine tasted super metallic against the shrimp.
The pairing of the evening, though, was the Velonosi with a seared pork loin. The pork was very simple, the sweet and plump flesh contrasting the salty skin, with a bed of carmelized onions well accenting both elements. The rich and slightly sweet Velonosi was a perfect match in body, with enough heft and acidity to cut through the pork. Its flavors of herbs and apples also went well with the dish.
Mom gave it a thumbs up too. The restaurant and the wine were a hit. Thanks for coming, Mom!
Posted by Jane.