Tonight’s dinner was Penne Rigate with a sauce of guanciale crisped, the fat drained, and added to Rao’s Southern Italian Eggplant Sauce with a bit of added garlic. A basil chiffonade was added to the dish on serving; then at table we added a mix of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmagiano Reggiano. This delightful pasta dish was enjoyed with a 1998 Dobra Zemlja Estate Sangiovese from Amador County - dark garnet in color, with no light edge; rich, spicy cherry fruit in nose and flavors; brightly acidic mid-palate with rich fruit to carry the acidity; and a medium-long spicy cherry finish. The pasta and wine was enjoyable with snow still falling, a good fire in the fireplace, and Beethoven Sonatas for Violin & Piano played by Pamela & Claude Frank in the background.
Then for dessert we had a lovely 2005 Susana Balbo Late-Harvest Malbec from Mendoza, with TJ’s Chocolate bars, Milk for Carollee and 72% dark for me. The 2005 Malbec was even better than the last one we had many months ago, with more age it had mellowed considerably. It was exquisite with the chocolates, nearly as good as Banyuls.