Writer: Yerelyn Cortez Hidalgo
Salute! On a Tuesday evening in Mid-October 2019 the fall season was officially upon us and what better way than to spend a beautiful crispy New York City evening in one of the best restaurants on Madison Avenue in the Upper East Side inside The Met Breuer Museum, La Flora. A selected group of writers and social media influencers were invited to an intimate wine pairing dinner with Wine Enthusiast Magazine and Custoza D.O.C. wines from Italy.
As contemporary-cool as its art museum digs, this restaurant pairs the playful Asian-accented dishes of acclaimed Chef Ignacio Mattos and is one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019.
Our evening began with sampling on Custoza D.O.C. wines as well as some well-paired appetizers. We dined with Wine Enthusiast Tasting Director Alexander Peartree as regional representatives from the consorzio featured exceptional wines paired with an elegant 3-course dinner.
A little bit about Custoza D.O.C., it's located west of Verona, Italy along the south-eastern shores of Lake Garda, the wines of Custoza are marked by a heady aroma matched with bright stone-fruit freshness. The indigenous varieties of Garganega, TGrebbianello and Bianca Fernanda are key to the white, sparkling and passito-style wines made in the region, with smaller amounts of other grapes also allowed in the blends. Custoza is a cuvée (top-tier) wine that celebrates the attributes each grape brings to the final blend, resulting in a truly unique expression that offers considerable drinkability and a depth of food pairing potential.
Here's a look at our wonderful culinary evening tasting exceptional wines paired with delicious food.
* Jamón Ibérico de Bellota Market crudités with miso
* Burrata, celery, and bottarga Purple endive salad with pecans and Bayley Hazen Blue Lamb ribs with yogurt and mojo verde
* Halibut with English peas and black truffle Chicken with chanterelles, leeks, and vin jaune
* Crème brûlée Chocolate parfait with hazelnut cream
Course 1 - Monte del Frà, Custoza '17 * Cavalchina, Custoza '17 * Menegotti, Custoza '17 * Cantina di Castelnuovo, Custoza '17
Course 2 - Gorgo, 'San Michelin,' Custoza '17 * Cantina Ronca, 'Tèra,' Custoza '16 * Menegotti, 'Elianto,' Custoza Superiore '16
Course 3 - Cantina di Castelnuovo, 'Bosco del Gal,' Custoza Superiore '15 * Monte del Frà, 'Cà del Magro,' Custoza Superiore '15
* Cavalchina, 'Amedeo,' Custoza Superiore '16 * Gorgo, 'Summa,' Custoza Superiore '16
Custoza is a generous land, the surrounding landscape suggesting a cultural heritage to be discovered, and above all refined grape vines. In fact, it is not by chance that wine has always been an expression of the character of this piece of land. Thanks to the climate that it enjoys where the terraces of these moraine hills are caressed by the gentle breeze from Lake Garda contributing to the creation of a soft, velvety, fresh and light wine. The DOC is named after Custoza, a historical village in the Municipality of Sommacampagna.
The settlement was an ancient watch and guard station built in the period of the wars between Mantua and Verona in the 13th century, and which controlled the hills of the nearby Via Postumia from above. Custoza DOC, according to the rules governing its production, is made mainly with native grapes such as Garganega (20-40%), Trebbianello (local biotype of Tokay Friulano 5-30%) and Bianca Fernanda (local Cortese clone 0 - 30%) to which are added, in varying degrees, Trebbiano Toscano (10-45%), Malvasia, Manzoni Bianco, Italic Riesling, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay (0- 30%, alone or in mixtures). The vineyards of the hills and foothills exposed to the south and south-west on morainic soils are suitable for the production of Custoza.
We look forward to continue to endeavor into the wine world and experience intimate pairing events with Wine Enthusiast Magazine to learn and understand the evolution of each wine and the differences each location in the world offers.
Photo credit: Wine Enthusiast Magazine