Cost: Average price $13.99
Where buy now: Surdyk’s- $8.49
Region: Sicilia (Sicily)
This week, my quest was to find a wine that paired well with some classic St. Patty’s corned beef and cabbage [well, Frank’s Bavarian Sauerkraut]. Lunds & Byerly’s has Kobe corned beef on sale, so I grabbed me a juicy one. I threw it in the slow-cooker and away I went to work.
Flash forward in the evening, and I still needed a wine! I picked up a pair of reds: a Gamay and Pinot Noir. I was on the hunt for the perfect red wine to pair. When I got home, I was starving and so I started nibbling on the beef. “This is stupid”, I thought, “just fix a plate, sample the wines, and dig in, already”. I started by sipping on the Gamay, and it was, well, a’ight. [Full disclosure: I was truly pining for a boilermaker of Bushmill’s dropped in a creamy Murphy’s or Guinness. I love beer like the next guy, but that’s too easy. Not to mention, isn’t this supposed to be a wine blog?]. I kept eating and thought, “Well shit, I need a white wine to review this week, anyhow” so I ran to my basement and picked up a go-to white, Cusumano’s Insolia. What the eff was I doing? A Sicilian white wine with Irish fare?
Whatever. I’ve been drinking this wine for years. I honestly don’t know what prompted me to buy it in the first place; I can only imagine it was on sale. I opened it up while fabricating an account of how I enjoyed this wine on an unseasonably beautiful March day frolicking outside with the dog while she chewed on the cork.
I loaded my fork with a mound of beef and sauerkraut. Thank GOD I was alone because it couldn’t have been pretty. I struggled with the delightfully salty moistness, trying to clear way for a sip of white wine. I managed to squeeze a sip into my chipmunk cheeks. Huh? I took another sip, for I had such a mouthful, a couple of sips was required to wash it all down. “Oh, for strange!” (I imagined in my fake Scandinavian Grandmother’s voice). Take two, however, this time I used some discretion. I took an ample, not pornographic, bite of beef and ‘kraut, chewed slowly, then took another sip. I just threw down the silverware. I must not know shit about shit because this tastes pretty damn good!
Cusumano’s Insolia is a pale straw color. On the nose it’s fruity- not dry but not sweet. One can smell a lovely amalgamation of pineapple, citrus peel and soft hints of floral scents floating in the wind. It is mildly acidic with a medium body, tart but not mouth-puckeringly so. There’s a decent finish, but it doesn’t linger for a while. It’s a combination of so many things, much like the storied island of Sicily. If you like Vinho Verde, Sauvignon Blanc or Citrus-forward Chardonnays, you’ll enjoy this. Plus, it sports a groovy glass topper that’s easy to click back on. I usually drink Insolia throughout the Summer so I felt all discombobulated, how is this happening to taste so good together? I ran to the interwebs to find out if there was any history of the Irish in Sicily? Sicily is a melting pot of different cultures, so perhaps someone’s raping and pillaging somehow resulted in a convergence of white wine and corned beef. I came across this: www.medcelt.org/feile-festa/v001-n001/prose/farinella.html
I cannot make this up. My curiosity of wines has certainly helped quench my thirst, not only for the mighty fermented grape but also another love, history. Now, it doesn’t so much talk about raping & pillaging, nor food, but I don’t care, there’s gotta be something to this. I’d bet a dollar to a dime that Insolia would go swimmingly with lots of ethnic cuisines: Middle Eastern, Greek, African & Spanish to name a few. Try it with different foods, or just sip alone on a breezy Summer day.
Oh, and not to fret: I ate some dark chocolate with the opened Gamay, and that was damn good, too.