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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Garofoli Podium Offers Smooth, Creamy Fruit Flavors

Garofoli Podium 2016, Italy

Cost: $25-27

My wife Teri loves chardonnay, and I like it too, with the right meal. But after a while I am looking for some of those other great white wines to try.

One night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we wanted a quiet evening at home with a simple meal. We both love shrimp, so that was the choice this night and my challenge was to find a good white to make the meal pop.

Instead of opening the usual chardonnay, I remembered a great verdicchio we had a couple of years ago with a light summer meal, and as I searched my cellar I came across another verdicchio by the same producer, Garofoli.

The wine is Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Podium ($25-27), but if you are looking for it in a wine shop, the front label merely says Podium and Garofoli. It is 100 percent verdicchio and is the family’s flagship wine.

The wine is made from a special selection of grapes from a single vineyard. Yields are lowered and harvest is delayed, so the wine becomes rich and full. The wine is fermented on the lees and then spends 15 months in concrete and stainless steel tanks. It then matures in the bottle for six months.

Not only is this Garofoli’s signature wine, it is important to the Italian wine industry. It is one of the most awarded single-vineyard white wines in Italy, having won 15 Tre Bicchieri awards.

Podium is a smooth, creamy wine with flavors of apricot, lemon and pastry cream, with a touch of spices. Crisp acidity provides balance in this medium-bodied wine which finishes with a mouthwatering touch of herbs. It probably will continue to improve in the bottle for another six or seven years.

The vineyard is at about 1,000 feet elevation, on top of a flat-topped hill that looks like a speaker’s stand or podium, giving the wine its name. The vines average about 15 years old and are farmed sustainably.

About 45,000 bottles are produced a year. Verdicchio is the most planted grape in the region and highly respected for being a white wine with great aging potential.

The warm Adriatic Sea guards Marche’s Eastern border with steep cliffs, but the beautiful inland valleys and rolling hills that are settled at the base of the high-rise mountain range of Monti Sibillini are what make Marche perfect for growing wine grapes. The entire region of Marche is considered a wine production zone, but Garofoli has found great success in the classic region of Castelli di Jesi DOCG and Rosso Conero DOC. 
 

Winery: Considered to be the oldest family-owned winery in the Marche region, Garofoli is one of the best known wineries in the region, which lies halfway down the east coast of Italy.

Wine has been produced in the area for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1871 that Antonio Garofoli began producing wine for the pilgrims who passed by his home on the way to visit the famous church of Loreto. Thirty years later his son, Gioacchino, founded the winery and began making wine commercially.

Gioacchino’s sons, Franco and Dante, succeeded him after World War II and began modernizing the company. Besides selling the wine in bulk at cafés, Garofoli began bottling wine and selling it in food stores. Sales grew quickly.

In the 1970s Marco’s sons, Carlo and Gianfranco, began working at the winery. Once again, Garofoli modernized its equipment and higher quality wines were produced. The company reduced vineyard yields and only harvested grapes when they were fully ripe.

This yielded wines with bigger body and structure, a style that was becoming popular.
In the 1980s the company moved its wine from bottles modeled after ancient amphora into classic Bordeaux bottles.

Since 1994 Gioacchino Garofoli has been a joint-stock company, wholly owned by the Garofoli family. Gianfranco Garofoli is company president and in charge of the administrative and business departments while Carlo, one of the region’s most esteemed enologists, is CEO in charge of the technical and production departments.

Now led by the fifth generation, Gianluca Garofoli, the family’s estate vineyards cover a total area of about 128 acres, situated in the zones of Montecarotto (Jesi area), Paterno and Piancarda (Mt. Conero area) and Castelfidardo. 

Annual production amounts to about two million bottles, of which 35 to 40 percent is sold on the domestic market and the remainder on markets throughout the world. The company is known for its respect for tradition while always trying new techniques to improve the wine.

The wine is imported by Dalla Terra Winery Direct, which eliminates an average of 25 percent of the mark-ups on imported wine because of its unique business model. Instead of the traditional three-tiered distribution system, Dalla Terra allows distributors to purchase and ship wines direct from the wineries.

Goes with: We had this delicious wine with fried shrimp, hush puppies, a salad and a wonderful black beans and brown rice side dish by Zatarain’s. The flavors of the shrimp and the beans and rice perfectly matched the deep, rich flavors in the wine.

Usually when I fry shrimp I just drag the shrimp through a mixture of House Autry breading, Morton Nature’s Seasons and red pepper flakes. The shrimp come out great, but this night we wanted to try a little heavier breading. So we dipped the shrimp in a milk/egg mixture before frying them. It took a little longer to cook the shrimp, but the breading added a little extra something to the flavor.

The rice mix, called Roasted Garlic Adobo Brown Rice With Black Beans was just the right sidekick to the shrimp. Influenced by Caribbean flavors, it combines the bold flavor of fire-roasted bell peppers, savory onions and roast garlic, along with the rice and beans. We eat very little white rice because the brown rice is healthier and getting the rice in a package like this one adds even more flavor.

I love using Zatarain’s mixes because they are simple to use and have a lot of great New Orleans flavor. This is just one of their five new Garden District Kitchen varieties, and they all have rich flavors, from salsa verde to Spanish style to Parmesan garlic.

These mixes sell for only $2.49, and if you add some meat, they can be a one-dish meal.

The wine also would pair well with a variety of poultry dishes, especially things like chicken in a thick cream sauce. It also is a nice aperitif, tasty enough to sip on its own before dinner.


If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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