Sunday, July 28, 2019

Working Up a Thirst for Ferzo Wines at the Metropolitan Museum

I was recently the guest of Winebow on a mouthwatering Met tour for wine media led by the charismatic tour guide, Angelis Nannos, founder of the highly-rated In Food We Trust culinary tours.

The "Yum Yum Met Tour" began at a medieval carving of St. Nicholas with three small boys exiting...a pickle barrel. Angelis related the harrowing tale of an evil man "pickling" the small boys  during a famine. The unfortunate youngsters were miraculously rescued and revived by the saint.  Angelis told us food and drink are depicted throughout the museum, as he handed us tiny Heinz pickle pins and led us enthusiastically to the next exhibit. 

Here we admired a beautiful Austrian stag crafted from precious metals. Angelis asked what we thought the piece was used for, stumping us all.  As it happened, the stag could be animated to traverse a dining table, stopping randomly in front of a guest.  That lucky person got to bend back the stag's head to reveal a body full of wine - which it was the obligation of the guest to drain.  Oh, to bring back the days of the Hapsburgs! 

In our hour and a half tour, we saw Egyptian tomb relics that depicted beer and bread making, the "oldest shopping list" in ancient Greek, and a frieze with the Assyrian host of the world's largest dinner party.  

After viewing some of the Met's treasures through a delicious new lens, we had worked up a good thirst, and this was where our friend from Winebow came in.  We gathered in the Met's upstairs restaurant to sample a selection of delicious wines from Abruzzo with several of the restaurants' cheese plates. 

2017 Ferzo Pecorino, Terre di Chieti IGP - We started with the Pecorino, and I was delighted by the crisp white wine with nice acid, aromas of grass and lemon, and zesty citrus character. $26 

2017 Ferzo Cococciola, Terre di Chieti IGP - Next, we moved on to a lesser-known indigenous Abruzzo grape Cococciola.  Rounder on the palate, this had more lush stonefruit with minerality and a medium level acidity to keep things fresh. $26

2017 Ferzo Passerina, Terre di Chieti IGP - The Passerina grape had lovely aromas and flavors of white peach and lemon and also had a touch of salinity on the palate. As with the other Ferzo whites, it was a tangy pairing for the goat cheese and olives we were served. $26

2013 Caroso Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva DOP - This six year old Montepulciano was full bodied with black plum on the nose and black and red fruit on the palate, with savory flavors of olive and balsamic inflecting the wine with more character. It's an excellent value at $30. 

The white wines of Ferzo were universally fresh and crisp, yet far from simplistic.  Each of the native white Abruzzo grapes presented a different fruit expression and different weight - while all possessing refreshing acidity.  The Caroso Montepulciano is a nice reminder of how wonderful these wines can be and what great value they deliver.  And, without question, the In Food We Trust tours are well worth checking out - especially for entertaining out-of-town guests.  I challenge you to start looking for the food and wine in art - you'll begin to see delicious works everywhere. 

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