Wine and Opera… what comes to your mind? For me, the first word I think of is ‘passion’. So when I was given the opportunity to enjoy Opera while dining at Vancouver’s finest Italian eatery Cioppino’s and enjoying the prestigious wines of Allegrini Estates in Italy, I said yes obviously!
If you are not familiar with Allegrini, they are located in Valpolicella, an area of Italy which is east of Venice. They have been in the wine business since the 16th century and are recognized as one of the top Italian wine producers in the world. An estate passed down through the generations. And you can easily tell through the elegance of the wines why they have the reputation they do.
Our evening was set up like this…after each wine was introduced by Robin Shay, the engaging Export Director of Allegrini Winery, his wife Meghan, a Mezzo-soprano Italian opera singer performed a song to introduce us to the personality of each wine before we began each course. What an amazing way to experience a wine. Here are each of the wines paired with each dish and the opera piece to match…
We were greeted with a glass of Corte Giara Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2015. A delightful way to begin a wonderful evening.
Wine 1 – Valpolicella DOC 2015
Grapes – Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara
Notes of earth, mushrooms, fresh yet an old character, delicious acidity, youthful, herbaceous note
Opera – “Voi Che Sapete” from Le Nozze di Figaro
This is about falling in love for the first time, upbeat with intention
Menu – Canadian Wagyu beef carpaccio, eggless truffle mayonnaise
Earthy and savoury was perfect with the wine and the chocolate piece was a nice earthy truffle note.
Wine 2 – Palazzo delle Torre IGT 2013
Grapes – Corvina and Rondinella with a little Sangiovese
Notes of mushrooms, earthy and oaked with present tannins, concentrated and herbaceous. A portion of the grapes are set aside for appassimento – which is drying of the grapes for 3 months before they are put back into the wine
Opera – “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi
About a young woman with a clear direction but who will manipulate to get what she wants, intention and strength
Menu – Cavatelli of ricotta and semola with Alberta bison sausage ragout
The salty rich ricotta and earthy lean bison was perfect with the tannins and acidity of this wine
Wine 3 – La Grola IGT 2013
Grapes – Corvina, with a little Oseleta and Syrah
Fresh fruits, lively acidity, grippy tannins yet an old soul (a 1977 vineyard)
Opera – “Che faro senza Euridice” from Orfeo ed Euridice
He resuscitates her from the depths of hell “what will I do without you?”, loss, more depth and tone.
Menu – Barley and red wine risotto, crispy wild boar belly, Pino Nero chocolate Or Noir (a trademarked chocolate created by Pino of Cioppinos)
Chocolate shaving with salty fatty pork and earthy grain was delicious with the Corvina
Wine 4 – La Poja IGT 2011
Grapes – Corvina from the top terrace in the vineyard
Refined, depth, spirit, personality, speaks terroir, earth notes and has more intensity
Opera – “Habanera” from Carmen
Love, spirit and playful but LOVE is this song, intense
Menu – Sakura Farm pork duo with preserved cherries and coffee
The preserved cherry, coffee and nutmeg paired perfectly with the earthy notes of this wine
Wine 5 – Amarone Classico delle Valpolicella DOCG 2012
Grapes – Corvina with Rondinella and a little Oseleta
Made with the appasimento process and dried for 4 months, spicy, rich, intense yet smooth
Opera – “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables
Amar of Amarone is to LOVE and it can be bittersweet and heart wrenching, hopeless romantic
Menu – My interpretation of Gateaux Opera with Pino Caramore Or Noir (another trademarked chocolate by Pino)
A rich and intense dessert to match the rich, intense wine
What a memorable night experiencing the passion in this wine and the passion in the songs. Thank you to the International Wine Festival for creating this wonderful dinner. Until next year… cheers!