Wine of the Month
Featured Wine: GB Odoardi
Appelation d’Orgine Protegee’
Grape Variety: 30% Gaglioppo, 30% Magliocco Canino, 15% Neretto Canino, 25% Greconero (Grape percentages vary based on which grapes are more productive)
Vinification: Fermentation in stainless steel
Aging: 12 months in barriques
Color: Deep Dark Red
Yep, you are right, I have another delicious wine for you this month – GB Odoardi, a wonderful red blend from Calabria, Italy. I know I’ve mentioned a few times that my dad’s side of the family is from Calabria, but besides the fact that at some time in the near future I will most likely have a mustache (yes, I have mentioned that too), it has always filled me with pride; perhaps it was because when I was a kid, the elders in my family still practiced and embraced, although in Pittsburgh, most of their old-world ways; especially my Aunt Ella and Uncle Tony. They raised rabbits, made wine, grew most of their own food and bartered with other Calabrian immigrants and family for whatever else they needed. I remember once, when Aunt Ella was quite old, she said to me, “You know, they’re not so bad, they help you out when you need it.” I asked, “Who helps Aunt Ella?” She replied, “The Mafia.”
My father tried to continue our family traditions. He loved to cook, tried his hand at making wine (failed), made homemade sausage with a bunch of Italian guys in our basement and grew lots of fresh vegetables. My Grammy Adele’s house always smelled of spaghetti sauce and Italian cheeses and I loved that smell; still do. She almost always had a pot of sauce on the stove and it was the best sauce I’ve ever had; still is. Every once in a while dad would tell me, “I figured it out, I made a sauce just like Grammy’s.” It was never as good. However, dad did make a great sandwich, no joke. It didn’t matter what we had in the refrigerator, they always turned out so delicious. When I was a little girl, dad would come home, scoop me up and carry me to the kitchen where he prepared giant sandwiches on Mancini’s bread. Ah yes, here I go again, reminiscing, all driven by a bottle of wine; GB Odoardi is so very wonderful, aromatic, flavorful, powerful, it immediately stirred up memories. Those memories led me to all of my pairings, all of my everything that I enjoyed with this special red blend.
GB Odoardi is heavy and bold in color, in aroma and in flavor. The nose is full of ripe black plum, soft spices, tobacco, slightly ripe red cherry and leather. When you take a sip, you will see what I mean by powerful, this wine is intense and rich with flavors of ripe black plum, fig, and cinnamon with a long finish of sweet plum and tart cherry acidity. I don’t feel as if it is super acidic or super tannic, yet the finish does envelope your tongue with both in a beautiful way. I need to mention, I had two separate occasions to explore this wine and in one bottle there were references of oak in the bouquet as well as on the palate but the other bottle, no oak. You can definitely drink this wine sans food but it is better with food; it is also 15% alcohol, so for me, definitely better with food.
My first pairing was a roast beef sandwich on Italian bread. It had creamy Havarti cheese, drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh basil, red onion and crisp Roma tomato; I popped it in the oven for a bit so the cheese melted perfectly and the bread had a nice crunch. It was a wonderful pairing that could easily be deconstructed to grilled steak, bread and salad. I loved this pairing. And yes, my sandwich was delicious, but not as good as my dad’s sandwiches were. I also paired it with chocolate chip cookies, freshly baked. I’m not even kidding, it was such a great pairing with the buttery crisp sweetness of the cookie; the tart cherry finish met the sweetness and butter beautifully. My final pairing was with Calabrian potatoes, cooked in olive oil with loads of green onions and peppers and a medium sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese; this time, instead of only using sweet peppers, I added some serrano chiles too, and the spiciness fit perfectly with GB Odoardi. The fruit of the wine tamed the spice and united beautifully with the potatoes and Romano cheese. Paring with roasted or grilled meats, creamy pasta dishes or spicy foods will enhance all flavors and you will be very content.
Spring is finally here, a great time for a casual evening dinner party. Grill up some steaks, fry up some Calabrian style potatoes, whip up a tomato and basil salad. Yum! If you are living amongst nature let the wildlife be your soundtrack; for the city dwellers, Radiohead or Pink Floyd are two great options. Whether you dine inside or outside, run jars of lavender down the center of the table staggered amongst bottles of GB Odoardi.
Making such an incredibly delicious blended wine, especially one with four different indigenous grapes, is quite impressive. I love that all of the grapes are indigenous, that the family has owned the land for centuries, (it is hard to believe they only started making wine in the 1990s). Most importantly, I love that this wine is thrillingly lovely, creamy, diverse, well rounded and definitely worth checking out. Maybe GB Odoardi will stir up a delicious longing in you, remind you of some of the things that slowly get lost in our realities but remain in our hearts.