More Italians

(Community Matters) In early January, our quest for the best Italian reds was left unsatisfied (did ok w/ whites), so we scheduled another round this time at Congress Bar. Enlisted their sommelier, June Rodil, to guide us.  And, she did – quite ably and graciously. Even more than guiding us through the reds, in our conversations, she helped me further pinpoint what it is I like in reds and from where they are likely to come – colder temperatures than most Italians. The colder temps of Bordeaux, Germany and even Austria yielding earthier tastes rather than fruity. And, along with Graham Reynolds (my co-conspirator on this quest to taste and identify more wines & liquors) the three of us acknowledged, most wines available for tasting by flights or by glass are simply limited. We may make one more pass at Italians, this time investing in 3 top bottles – so maybe we should expand our tasters by 4, nah, maybe 1.

Of those we tasted (after starting with June’s required Prosecco :)), we tried a Selveplana sangiovese which was way too fruity, a Dolcetto d Alba – though from Piedmont, ditto. Moving into the nebbiolos from the northern (colder) Piedmont region, found the comforting minerals and savory herbs.

savory . . .  Chef Bull was on hand last night and concocted 3 vegan courses which left me wanting nothing more. Seriously, I’d convert to vegan if I could eat like that every day. Delivering each to our table, explaining ingredients and preparation, it felt as if we were sitting at the chef’s table . . . quite a treat especially since we were not even in the restaurant but in the bar. Just a tomato sauce he says . . . but when asked how prepared, it reminds me of the three days prep and reduction of just the Virginia pot pie – from a 3 year old hen raised on . . .

Owners Jeff Trigger and Dave Shaw also on hand, ever the gracious hosts. Hank Cathey and Ron Berry were at the bar when we arrived (Ron after his first meeting as a new member of Graham’s & Peter Stopschinski’s Golden Hornet Project). Ended the night with my first Manhattan – expertly ordered by Graham – Thomas Handy rye, Carpano Antica vermouth & bitters – & perfectly prepared by mixologist Adam Bryan. I know, I know, I’m not supposed to like fruity and this posting is overly flowery – but that’s the reality of Congress Bar, Congress Restaurant and Second Bar & Kitchen. ughh, speaking of Manhattan, I hear it’s 40 and raining, I gotta dash, I’m due there this evening.

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