“Wine makes a symphony of a good meal.” ….. Fernande Garvin, The Art of French Cooking
There are times when a meal is so enjoyable an experience that its memory may last your lifetime. All its components may be known to you – even familiar – but they are put together so skillfully that no one ingredient alerts your senses. And you enjoy a symphony of flavor that has become its own statement through a unique harmony and balance, a ménage of tastes that has become its own unidentifiable profile.
Rarely, wine is like that. Even more seldom is an affordable wine like that. DeAngelis’ Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio is like that, and, at an average price of $17, is affordable. In the glass, this (white) wine presents a pale tint of straw. The nose is vegetative and grassy, but that does not carry through to the taste. And then comes the problem: its taste profile. It is mildly citrusy: slight lemon … no perhaps that’s orange-lemon. Well, maybe the lemon is just an ever so slightly buttery lemon. Another sip and no, not butter. What is it exactly? Well, maybe the butter wasn’t there. But yes, the lemon, actually orange-lemon is there, through the orange is certainly less than the lemon, and the lemon is not strong, certainly not overpowering. My gosh, this is a tasty wine. What is making it so?
Lacrima Christi* comes in both red and white versions and the labels are similar enough to be confusing. The white wine is made from a blend of Coda di Volpe** and Falanghini grapes, with Coda di Volpe being the major in the blend. I suspect the “lemon” comes from the Falanghini. Italy, as I have said, is a country with one thousand documented grape varieties. De Angelis is the oldest Lacrima Christi estate, on the coast of Sorrento, and a D.O.C. Frank Sinatra, Jerry Vale and Dean Martin all recorded versions of the song, “Come Back To Sorrento” and I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the attraction was Lacrima Christi wine. The finish is pleasantly long for a simple white and just a tad tart, well ……. not tart. Crisp is a better description. And here we go again with the taste descriptive dilemma.
Try this enjoyable wine with the taste that is difficult to describe, and yet is most enjoyable. I paired it with veal scaloppini adapted from a recipe of Lidia Bastianich (all organic and with an addition of grilled artichoke hearts) and a simple pasta (DeCecco Acini di pepe #78) cooked in beef stock with a pinch of nutmeg and aged parmesan reggiano cheese, served alongside cooked spinach. If you try this Lacrima Christi, tell me how you would describe this wine? I’ll send you the recipe for veal scaloppini.
· Literally, “Christ’s Tears of Vesuvius”
** Literally, “foxtail”
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