This is the 3rd part of a three-series post on a dinner that took place at the Hotel Bel Air on Wednesday, October 23rd featuring the wines of the Ca’Del Bosco and the cuisine of Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud. You can see the first part here and the second part here.
Ca’Del Bosco produces what Food and Wine Magazine calls, ‘some of the most lavishly packaged and highest priced bottles in Italy.’ Ca’Del Bosco ( The house in the woods) is the top winery from the premier sparkling wine producing region of Franciacorta in Lombardy.
About an hour north of Milan, the hills that provide the grapes for this sparkler were awarded DOC status in 1967. Included in the specification, the directive that the wines be made by metodo classico. This became a great differentiator, as the Martinotti Process reigns supreme in the nearby Prosecco powerhouse of Verona. Franciacorta was upgraded to DOCG in 1995, applying only to the sparkling wines of the area. As well, some fantastic reds, whites, and rosé are also produced throughout the region. While a relatively recent phenomenon compared to Champagne, Virgil documented “Franzacurta” in the Provice of Brescia City Coucil books as early as 1277.
The Cuvée Prestige is created from 75% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Nero, and Pinot Bianco 10% utilizing grapes from over 130 vineyards. The grapes are vinified separately and blended with the finest vintage reserves. Initially a Champagne master was brought in to the winery in years past to help in understanding the wines, though presently this is labor of love requiring 28 months of refinement prior to release is refined by Winemaker Stefano Capelli. Excellent flavor, dry with a note of under ripe pear, fresh and crisp with balanced acidity, and a pleasantly smooth mouthfeel.
The Hotel Bel Air was a perfect place to feature wines of the caliber. With an excellent well trained staff of Sommeliers wearing smart suits, featuring stylish decanters, and deft tableside manners. The second wine pairing was to go with a Caraway-Cured Tai Snapper – what better than the flagship wine, the Cuvée Annamaria Clementi. Named after founder Maurizio Zanella’s mother. Only the finest grapes from the various cru’s are included in this meticulously vinified and produced wine. From start to finish this wine takes 7 years to produce, and from the delicate prickle of the tongue to the medium plus apricot and peach finish this wine, the 2004 vintage, was pure pleasure to drink.
The Hotel Bel Air featured every accommodation that a discerning palate would require for an exemplary experience. From a fine cigar selection, to a Domaine Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, hand selected by Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck, poured tableside.
The bar keepers had an exceptionally clean and organized work space, with some of the nicest glassware (similar to the Spago bar set) on the market. Japanese style jiggers, glass bitters bottles, and balanced shaker tins were abound at this modern, upscale, and elegant bar.
The wine surprise of the night for were the Magnums of 2007 Pinero. Pinot Nero grown in Italy rarely reaches the heights of alcohol and ripeness it may achieve elsewhere in the world, acquiring decidedly different characteristics. The nose and body of this wine was noticeably Burgundian though it showed more acidity than terroir on the palate. Harvested from 30 year old vines from 6 different vineyards the Pinero features a 17 day fermentation program, following which the wine is aged for 11 months, then given 2 years of bottle age before released. Even at 13% alcohol this wine was big in the glass and delightfully balanced in regards to the 50% new oak.
The lounge area adjacent to the front bar also displays some incredible artworks of icons and trailblazers – clearly a high quality establishment.
It is easy to see how Ca’del Bosco has become the flagship winery of the Franciacorta region. Taking time and care to produce artisan wines from the best of the best has produced some incredible results, as well as a truly fantastic dinner.