Let me begin this first Blog of 2022 by wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.
We started the year in great style entertaining some very good friends on New Year’s Day with some delicious food and wine, alongside the usual interesting and lively conversation.
As befits the time of year, we cooked a rich, hearty, warming venison casserole – an easy dish to match with wine, pairing well with almost any big, robust red. I chose a Barbaresco from north-west Italy with its attractive flavours of raspberry and leather. During the evening I thought it was rather overpriced for its quality although subsequently I concluded that I may have opened the bottle when it was too young (it was from the 2015 vintage); a glassful left in the decanter developed very well overnight and the following day showed rather more of the complex character I was expecting.
The real wine talking point of the evening, however, was the bottle our friends brought: Caggiano’s ‘Devon’ Greco di Tufo (bought from the Great Wine Company, formerly Great Western Wine). It was absolutely delicious – rich and vibrant with lovely melon and peach flavours and a long savoury finish. It went perfectly with some soft, creamy cheeses at the end of our meal but would also team well with fish or poultry.
Greco di Tufo, as you might guess from its name, originated in Greece but has been established in the Avellino Hills north of Naples for centuries where it produces white wines of reliably high quality; if you can’t find this particular wine, just look out for the grape name – I doubt you will be disappointed.
But there was another reason this wine was such a hit with us: my wife was born and raised in Devon and to be given such a thoughtful bottle was very special. The only question that remained was what is the link between a wine from southern Italy and the English county of Devon? My best guess is that the producer thought that the Avellino Hills resembled Devon’s Dartmoor region but his website gives no clue and so the mystery remains.
We may need to buy another bottle to mull over the question a little longer!