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Six Course Wine Dinner at Mezzanote, Lawrence, NY

The Five Towns Kiwanis held a pre-Valentines Day wine tasting dinner as a fundraiser on 2/10/11 at Mezzanote Restaurant, located at the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club, Lawrence, NY. With 70 in attendance, the room was almost full. I’m glad we brought enough wine, since there was plenty of food, served family style in a nice private room, allowing good conversation and conviviality.

The wines and menu:

Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco (NV) with bruschetta

Villa Amorese Pinot Grigio (2009) with fried calamari and salad

La Cala Vermentino (2008) with Tilapia Margarita

Falesco Umbrian Sangiovese (2008) with cheese ravioli /pink sauce

Masi Campofiorin Ripasso (2007) with chicken Scarpariello

Bartenura Moscato (2010) with biscotti/dessert

I’d only sampled the food here once to get a feel for it, then put together the menu from their normal offerings. The wines were picked from Pop’s, a well known local wine store in Island Park with a great selection, so each dish could show off a different style Italian. I wanted to introduce an assortment of wines, including some that the attendees might not be familiar with, to go with the Italian –American food. Average bottle cost was about $15 retail, so they were all affordable for everyday drinking and locally available. The lowest cost wine was Villa Amorese Pinot Grigio, which was donated by Gino Amorese, the importer and member of Kiwanis. I wrote about him last year. It is in a few places including Peninsula Wines and Spirits, in Woodmere, NY.

The Nino Franco is on the dry side, with nice fruit, and paired well with the bruschetta. Thankfully the tomatoes were more like summer than winter. Gino’s PG was great with the fried calamari its acidity and freshness complementing the crisp fish, refreshing the mouth and making you want more of each. The salad was more like antipasto, since it was accompanied with good cheese and salami. Tilapia was served in a white wine sauce that had artichokes (the canned type) but very tasty and really set off by the Vermentino. The wine had an almost lemon peel taste on the finish and plenty of fore and mid palate flavor. The only negative here was that the fish itself was way over cooked; perhaps the kitchen had the timing wrong and held it too long to get the course out when it was needed.

Cheese ravioli was next.  Good sauce paired with the Falesco, a medium fruity Sangiovese. I think it is up to a Chianti Classico standard. The only problem I had was that the ravioli had artichokes again. They were not in the menu description, far as I remember and they detracted from the dish. Simpler would have been better. The Masi Ripasso went great with the Scarpariello, but the chicken itself suffered the same fate as the tilapia, overdone and dry. The sausage, peppers and the rest of the dish was terrific, so not a loss, and by this time most people were stuffed anyway. Just enough room to have biscotti that had been dusted with sugar and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, matched with the moscato, then coffee, of course.

With thanks to Kiwanis and Ponte Teramo, who organized the event, it was a great evening, raising funds for a great organization. In retrospect, they should have charged more than the $50 p/p. After all, it was for a good cause.


Bernard Kenner

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