My friend, Sergio Germano, the gentle giant of Serralunga, Barolo, came to town a few Augusts ago to taste me on all his new releases. I was excited to show off my new pizza oven to a real Italian. My plan was to make a few pizzas and a leg of lamb, making what I thought would be the perfect pairings with Sergio full-bodied, powerful wines.
Mother Nature did not cooperate, giving us a torrential downpour that never let up. I had to make a quick audible on lunch. Not so easy on a Monday afternoon. I decided on Yumi, one of my favorite local restaurants. Despite the food being completely incompatible with Sergio’s wines, I knew he’d appreciate the delicacy and precision of Shuenn’s sushi. Throughout the wine world, there are no greater foodies than the Piemontese….
Our plan was to taste all the wines first then dive into a multi-course sushi extravaganza. But our plan was quickly derailed as he conversation at the table slowed the tasting to a crawl and some truly great sushi dishes started arriving at the table. O-toro tartare, live scallop, shimaji with jalapeno, each dish was terrific both visually and on the palate. Sergio was blown away.
On the wine side, we were only a third of a way through his high-toned, structured red wines but I noticed a curious thing happening. I’d eat a piece of fish and then taste a wine no sommelier would ever suggest to go with it like Sergio’s Barbera d’Alba and you know what? It was good, really good. When I mentioned how odd that was, Sergio knew exactly what I was talking about, he chuckled and in that deep baritone, heavily accented, he said “I guess great food and great wine will always find a way to find each other.” It was a great lunch.
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