Ciao! Enjoy that because it's all the Italian I speak - fortunately I am fluent in Italian wine! You are going to enjoy a night of authentic Italian cuisine and as the starters and mains are dramatically different there are quite a few wine options - so let's dive in!
Burrata - soft mozzarella wrapped around a creamy interior that oozes out when you cut it - yum! Mild and smooth, it's as much about texture as flavour. The curing process gives the Parma ham a touch of sweetness too, so your taste buds are going to be busy!
Your veal starter is a Piemontese specialty and chilling it actually develops its flavours, making it a fabulous summer antipasto in the heat of, er ...Tavistock! As with the first starter there are layers of flavour and texture, with a piquant touch from the capers and gherkins.
Prosecco will complement both starters - the bubbles and balanced acidity of Amori Prosecco (£11.00) will freshen your mouth between bites and has a delicious lemon sherbet finish. Choosing good quality wine is important as high volume Prosecco may be too acidic.
For dry wine I'd go white - Soave Classico from Cantina di Negrar (£8.45) is perfect. Despite being light in body, it has a surprising element of richness alongside peach and melon notes, and just a touch of saltiness. Soave has a lot in common with Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and if you've never tried it, our Les Anges Sauvignon Blanc is exceptional value at £9.25 and often compared with Sancerre at twice the price.
Whatever you choose, avoid red wines with a lot of tannin (Cabernet Sauvignon etc.) as the tannin in the wine and salty food elements will combine to create sourness.
Tonight's main courses are crying out for red wine, so here are some points to think about.
The combination of mushroom and truffle flavours is an absolute classic and the cheese adds a fatty dimension. Earthiness and savoury characteristics are predominant here - qualities found in wines that have been aged a long time in the bottle. This only happens with high quality wine so if you have a very special old bottle of Burgundy you've been keeping for a special occasion this may be the moment! Both white (Chardonnay) and red (Pinot Noir) will work, because it's the earthiness and leather/mushroom flavours you're after. These are rare and v e r y expensive however, so let's consider alternatives.
The obvious choice is Barolo - local and legendary, but not to everyone's taste, and always expensive. I propose our Barolo from Manfredi, a producer in the heart of Piemonte, priced at £23.50. It's spicy on the nose with woodsmoke and leather, and on the palate there is ample fruit, notes of game and the trademark tar. Not for the fainthearted, this is a complex wine that will develop throughout your evening and will benefit from being decanted an hour before you drink it (no decanter? Pour it into glasses - taking the cork out achieves nothing).
Bordeaux, famed for similar qualities, is an eternal favourite with the English. Chateau Cissac priced at £21.42 has classic cigar box and dark fruit aromas and will do a jolly good job old boy!
Both the above are premium wines, but you don't have to spend a lot. Pinot Noir is a wonderfully versatile grape and whilst not so good a match as an aged wine, Paparuda Pinot Noir from Cramele Recas in Romania will sit nicely with this dish for a remarkable £7.50 per bottle.
This brings me (finally) to the second/other main course, Lasagne Bolognese, which the Paparuda Pinot Noir will be a really good match with, its youth will showcase the fruity tomato sauce and complement both pork and beef. The Barolo and Claret will also pair beautifully with this rich, meaty treat, but if you want a bottle specifically for this dish then I can never resist a juicy bottle of Sangiovese! Duca di Saragnano Chianti at £10.00 is a real treat - delightfully fragrant - even floral - on the nose and with juicy, spicy forest fruits and a frm line of acidity this is a match made in heaven.
This just a selection of course, and we are here to help, so give us a call for further suggestions.
Incidentally, if you are finishing with the lemon custard, we keep a top quality Limoncello (traditional Italian lemon liqueur served chilled) made only from the zest of Amalfi and Sorrento lemons by Tossolini (£24.66). It's worth buying good Limoncello because it will last 2 years open.
Likewise if you're having the Tiramisu to finish, lovely dessert wine options include Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes (£12.90 for a half bottle), Chateau Belingard reserve Monbazillac (a steal at £8.50 for a half bottle) or if you really want to nail it a Tokaji Aszu (5 Puttunyos) for £20.50. And here's a thought for those of you who aren't fans of sweet wines and liqueur - beer! More specifically stout. Think about it - Tiramisu is thick, dark and creamy. A bottle of our Darkness Stout from Exeter Brewery will only set you back £2.50 and it's a smooth chocolatey stout with hints of coffee - it could have been brewed specifically for this!
Anyway, you have dinner to prepare for, so goodbye in Italian which, luckily, is also 'Ciao!'
As always we will be treating you as VIPs for eating with Italian Jack! We offer a 15% discount on any wine you buy online using the discount code 'Fresca' during the week before and after this event - not just the wines for your dinner, but all wines (and given my recommendation above stout too!)! Do feel free to call in and see us at the top of Plymouth Road Industrial Estate (last unit on the left behind Tesco) or simply give us a ring 01822 616272.