It was a pleasure to break bread and clink a glass with Matteo Tosso, Italy's best sommelier, according to Guida Espresso.
I may not have a Valentine this year, but I did get to enjoy a media lunch with hottie Matteo Tosso at Anacapri in Coral Gables last week. Though young, Matteo has earned the prestigious rank of Best Sommelier from the Guida L'ESPRESSO 2012 -- it's the European version of Wine Spectator, but in a more beautiful language.
And speaking of language, nothing could top the day after listening to Matteo, his girlfriend (yes, of course he's taken!) and a Beni Di Batasolio winery rep wax poetically about the wines in English inflected with the lilting, lyrical tones of that ancient tongue.
Our actual tongues were none the worse for wear either, as we sipped several varieties of wine from the Barolo region of Piedmonte in northwest Italy. Matteo is the sommelier at La Rei, a restaurant attached to Il Boscareto, a luxury property in this wooded, hilly area. Even at the tender age of 26, Matteo has over ten years of hospitality and wine studies under his belt.
Now, to be fair, I haven't been to Il Boscareto, so I can't write about it. But after having lunch with these folks, I did feel transported to my own mental movie script -- think a cross between Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love with some very delicious ending. And the Barbaresco wine with Anacapri's hearty spaghetti and meatballs didn't hurt. In fact, I may have to reconsider my opinion of Scarpetta's spaghetti, as a good red wine goes so well with a truly meaty meatball -- a meatball with substance.
During lunch, we spoke of romantic picnics, sneaking away to make love in the vineyards and the aphrodisiac properties of white truffles -- expensive and exclusive to the Barolo region. By dessert time, my Coral Gables repast had turned into a much needed Italian vacation for my imagination.
A tough job but somebody has to carb load.
But it wasn't all sexy talk and it wasn't all noodles. My favorite red was the Briccolina, somewhat dry yet fruity and sweet enough to make a great accompaniment for our third course, grilled steak and arugula.
Which got me thinking: what's a sexy drink for Valentine's Day? The sweet Moscato D'Asti with fresh peaches and lemon gelato might be a good way to start or end the evening. Heck, any evening for that matter, when love is in the air. You can find Batasolio winery selections at Milam's, Crown Liquors, Epicure, Doral Wine and Spirits and of course, at Anacapri restaurants.
Don't be surprised if this story continues with a dispatch from Italy later this year. Sex and the Beach loves to cover romantic travel anywhere near or around a body of water, but I think a good glass of Barolo could count as a liquid equivalent. If I can't find a husband in Miami, maybe there's one abroad waiting to give me big baci e abbracci sometime in the future, which reminds me, I need to renew my passport!