Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Nights IN: Mediterranean Nosh and Soave

Friday Nights IN is a regular feature at GWU$20 that's intended to trim a few dollars from your entertaining budget by replacing a meal out with a meal in. Some suggestions are dinners for four, six, eight, or even ten. Some are for romantic dinners for two. And some suggestions are perfect for when you need time to yourself!

It's been a while since I've posted a Friday Nights IN suggestion, but if your life is like mine the days seem too short to get everything done, the kitchen is too hot to cook, and the idea of yet another something cooked on the grill is not that appealing. So my suggestion is to take a culinary trip to the Adriatic and Mediterranean with a meze platter and a wine from Italy's Veneto region.

First up, the food. Meze is not so much cooked as it is assembled--so it's perfect for single diners, couples, families, or starving masses. Anything goes really, but to get you started you can look at the suggestions in this recent Bon Appetit recipe. I know the hummus doesn't have Tahini in it, but after several goes at it we now prefer this flavorful, easy version. And the cucumber and feta salad is delicious. If you've got people coming for dinner who don't like to eat shrimp, buy a roasted chicken and have at that instead (or in addition). Add and subtract at will until you have just the right mix of flavors and textures to suit your palate.

Then, the all important issue of wine. With this meal you want a wine that is crisp but still has some body to it. It needs to be able to stand up to feta, not overwhelm the shrimp, pair nicely with the vegetables--you get the picture. In short, you want a good Soave, like the 2008 I Stefanini Il Selese Soave (MSRP $12.00; for more information contact the importer, Domenico Selections). This wine smells of summer, with lovely musk-melon aromas accompanied by some white floral and saline notes. This next observation will probably only resonate with those of you reading this from the UK, but the aromas reminded me particularly of elderflower cordial. Flavors of white peach, lemon, and bitter almond provide a nice point-counterpoint with the saline notes and the flowers and the wine has a juicy, lip-smacking aftertaste. This wine is terrific for the price and very distinctive. You'll be surprised Soave can be this good, and deliver such excellent QPR.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


I love mezze' or tapas or cicchetti -- or whatever you want to call Mediterranean-style small plates.

And I love the recommended pairing of Il Selese (accent on first syllable -- means "drying floor" in the local Veronese dialect) with such delicious nibbles.

I don't know if your readers would be impressed, but it did get a 90 from Wine Spectator -- pretty good for a $10-13 bottle.

Thanks e buona bevuta!

(Terence Hughes, Domenico Selections)