Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Italian red scores extra points

Sips: Wine

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

I planned on high school football - not dinner guests. The four of us motored to Finneytown, only to find a hand-written note taped to the ticket booth: "Game sold out."

Fortunately, the home opener was on the radio. So we headed to my place to listen. Unfortunately, I found only spaghetti and tomato sauce in the cupboard. But I managed to find a suitable wine in the cellar. As the water boiled, I uncorked a 2001 Salice Salentino by Feudo Monaci, an Italian winery that dates to 1480.

The hearty red has a heady aroma of black cherries. With one sip, the St. Xavier alumni had more to think about than Friday night football. One asked, "How much?" I replied, "On sale through December for $8.99."

That raised eyebrows.

And once we paired this dry, full-bodied wine with food, the two X men stopped whining about missing the game. They confirmed my opinion this robust Italian nicely complements pasta.

Translated, "Feudo Monaci" is "Fiefdom of the Monks." The vintage is made from mostly negroamaro grapes blended with malvasia nera - grown in Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot.

In the mouth, a sweet start - like a baked cherry pie - gives way to intense spice and a warm, lingering finish. This wine held its own against a tomato sauce, and it eased the pain of St. X's 1-point loss to Moeller.


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