D iners at Calvert’s Thursday night had a triple treat: great Italian food from Craig Calvert, great Italian wine from Ninth Street Wine Market and great Italian crystal glasses from Bottega del Vino Crystal.

It was billed as a Chef’s Table Italian dinner, and wine lovers packed the room. They had a great time. This was another in a long string of spectacular wine dinners at Calvert’s. As is always the case, the wines and food were perfectly matched.

There even was a chance to taste the same wine from machine made glasses and the Italian crystal, so tasters could see what a difference the proper glass makes.

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Where: Calvert’s Restaurant, 475 Highland Ave., Augusta, GA 30909 (706) 738-4514
When: Thursday, July 19, 2012. 6:30 PM
Cost: $65pp which also covers the tax and tip. Reservations are required at 706-724-1442

Here are the courses and the matching wines:

Reception: light hors d’oeuvres with Demarie Arneis Roero DOCG 2009.    The wine’s name means “little rascal.”  This pleasant opening wine was light and refreshing. It’s a golden, straw-yellow color with a hint of green highlights. Noticeable aromas of fruit and floral scents on the nose that recall the warmer aspects of peach and apricot. This wine is pleasantly dry on the palate with white fruits, roasted almonds and the slightest hint of butterscotch on the finish. It  was a great start to the evening, and would be a good summer wine for sitting on the porch.

First Course: Grilled Pesto Shrimp with Pinot Grigio Beurre Blanc Sauce, accompanied by Fresh Corn Risotto. Paired with Borgosan Daniele Pinot Grigio  Isonzo del Friuli DOC 2009. This was a good example of classic Pinot Grigio, slightly off dry with a nutty taste. Hand sorted grapes and select vinification methods have created a premium, low production Pinot Grigio that shows depth and elegance. It begins with ripe pears on the nose, transforming into aromatics of dry hay and roasted almond notes as it opens up. Full and soft on the palate, yet balanced and fruity, with an elegant and aromatic finish. Pairs well with most chicken dishes and mild to medium- strong cheeses.

Second Course: Italian bread and Tomato Soup. Paired with Borgosan Daniele Arbis Blanco Venezia Giulia IGT 2009. This was a spectacular wine, tasting like a rich, buttery Chardonnay. It’s a blend of Tokai, Fruilano, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is complex and layered, especially for a white wine. It opens with alluring aromatics of stone fruits, followed by complex scents of wild flowers and herbs, kissed with notes of acacia honey. The palate is soft  with a smooth, buttery character and a distinct mineral finish.

Jay Kaplan and Deserie Shockley of Prime Wine & Spirits supplied the wine.

Third Course: Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto. Paired with Borgosan Daniele Arbis Rosso Venezia Giulia IGT 2006. This was an austere, dry red, full of robust tannins. Full of personality, broad and elegant with a slight herbaceous character and red fruit aromas on the nose. Round red fruits caress the palate with a lush, intricate finish. Pairs well with all roasted meats and dry cheeses.

Fourth Course: Sauteed Veal with Capers, Green Olives and Parmesan Sage Polenta Sticks accompanied by a Mint, Orange and Red Onion Salad. Paired with Demarie Nebbiolo d’Alba  2007. This is where the tasting really got into the big boy reds. The Nebbiolo had great fruit aromas and taste, with plenty of sharp tannins to give the wine structure and body. A brilliant ruby red color, with a ripe bouquet that shows hints of wild violets, Morello cherries and tinged with elegant touches of spice.  On the palate it is intense, fragrant and delicate; pleasant fruit nuances like cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry, and a slight spice and anise flavor on the finish.

Fifth Course: Chargrilled Italian Steak with Spaghetti Carbonara accompanied by Grilled Vegetables. Paired with Demarie Barolo 2007. It the glass it’s a bright ruby color, with an intense aroma full of  fruit and spice. Full-bodied  and enveloping with flavors of plum, blackberry and cherry and a lingering finish of violet and vanilla. This is robust that is nicely balanced. 

The Last Bite: Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Fresh Berries and Balsamic Sauce. Paired with Demarie Brachetto Birbet  NV. I think sparkling wine is a perfect start or finish to a good meal. This sparkler was a perfect finish to a great meal. Soft bubbles tempt your tongue with this slightly frizzante wine. In the glass there is a cherry red tint with faint ruby nuances; fragrant and aromatic on the nose with floral undertones. The youthful, fresh palate is reminiscent of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The wine is sweet, yet has a unique character that sets it apart from dessert wines. Strong, pleasant hints of red fruit are amplified by the fine effervescence.  Birbèt pairs perfectly with dry pastries and hazelnut cake.



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