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E ven though I love to cook and we are retired, my wife and I don’t always sit down at the kitchen table with a home cooked meal. We get busy, run out of time, or just miss good takeout food.

That was the case recently when Teri and I both had a taste for Chinese food. We also had a movie we wanted to watch, so we decided to eat on TV trays in the family room. Teri wants me to point out that we seldom do this, and that’s true. But it is still one of my guilty pleasures that I love to do from time to time, especially when there’s a fire going in the fireplace, or when she’s not home.

Just because we had a quick take-out meal doesn’t mean we settled for a mediocre wine. We picked the Ca’ Montini Pinot Grigio from the Terre di Valfredda vineyard. It was a great choice.

With Asian food, or other spicy cuisine, the safe choice usually is a sweeter or spicier wine, such as Gewurtztraminer or an off-dry Riesling. I generally like drier wines so we went with the Pinot Grigio, and I was glad we did.

Montini Pinot Grigio
Montini Pinot Grigio

The wine is a beautiful straw yellow in the glass with intense floral aromas. The flavors are surprisingly complex for Pinot Grigio, with layers of peach, apple and citrus, followed by a mineral finish. There is a nice balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity. It is a wonderful wine.

This wine was first released in 2010, from vines planted in the 1990s. The Terre di Valfredda (which means “cold valley”) vineyard shares the soil type of the surrounding Dolomite Mountains. The mountains also protect the vines from extreme weather.

The 74-acre site is managed by three local families, and the grapes are harvested by hand.

Using only grapes from this unique vineyard adds to the quality and complexity of the Pinot Grigio, which too often is a bland, uninteresting wine. You certainly taste the characteristics of the vineyard when you drink this wine.

When we drank this wine I had Kung Po Shrimp and Teri had a spicy scallop dish. Both were terrific with the wine. I also had an egg roll and fried rice, and Teri had a spring roll. It was a feast! Not having to cook helped some, but the combination of the food and wine was perfect.

Montini Pinot Grigio pairs well with spicy Asian food.
Montini Pinot Grigio pairs well with spicy Asian food.

Serve the wine well chilled and let it warm up just a bit in the glass. It would go well with all kinds of seafood, chicken, pasta with white sauce, or just by itself in front of the fire, or on the porch next spring. It is a very versatile wine.

It also will cellar well for a year or two. I had forgotten I had this bottle, which actually is last year’s release, and it was still terrific.

From: Italy
Winery: Ca’ Montini was founded in the early 1700s in Marano di Valpolicella near Verona in the Italian region of the Veneto. During its 300-year history, Ca’ Montini has extended the reach of its expertise beyond the Veneto region and now excels in the production of great single vineyard Pinot Grigio in Trentino.

Directed by the Pizzolo family, the winery focuses today on creating premium Pinot Grigio of excellent quality and fruit purity that expresses the essential characteristics of the vineyard and its microclimate in the sub region of Ala.

The company also has created a unique bottle, roughly shaped like a tall, thin pyramid, as you can see the the accompanying photo.
Cost: $14-16
Year: 2011

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