As the heat of Summer approaches, our wine desires usually make a shift from reds to whites and rosés. While rosés are all the rage for their blushing colour, light fruit and commonly dry finish, there are hundreds of white wines that are excellent for Summer sipping and many of them come from Italy. Italy is home to somewhere between 800-1000 grape varieties and home many of the finest and lesser known white wines in the world.
The Zonin family has been making wines in Italy for over 200 years. They represent the largest, privately owned vine growing and winemaking company in Italy with estates from Venice to Sicily. Recently Zonin USA and Francesco Zonin, a seventh generation member of the Zonin winemaking family, hosted a private dinner titled, "White Nights" in Miami at the Vagabond Hotel and Restaurant where five of their great whites were paired with Chef Alex Chang’s inventive cuisine.
The requested attire was white as the evening began at the beautiful Vagabond Hotel poolside with their newest release, Zonin Prosecco Dress Code Collection, White Edition, a bubbly white wine that consists of Glera and Pinot Bianco grapes.
Dinner was held inside The Vagabond’s mid century, split level restaurant for dinner where we began with a beautifully executed heirloom tomato panzanella salad that included ricotta salata and roasted baby eggplant. The chosen pairing was a 2014 Tenuta Ca’Bolani Aquilis Sauvignon Blanc DOC whose high acidity level and vegetal character married well with all aspects of the salad.
The dish that followed, cobia tartare with yuzu vinaigrette, avocado and quinoa was one of my favorites that evening. The brightness of the yuzu, freshness of the fish and crisp of the blue corn tortillas went really well with the richness of the 2014 Rocca Di Montemassi Astraio Viogner DOC.
The evening concluded in a similar way to how it began, with bubbles. This time from Asti, Piedmont, the Zonin Moscato, DOCG from Castello del Poggio. Moscato is a highly fragrant,effervescent wine that is lower in alcohol and a little higher in sugar content than most wines. This Moscato paired well with our dessert, Amazake Strawberry Granita, which included sesame mocha chews, crispy yuba and compressed strawberry.
This was a great dinner to launch Summer wine choices, highlight the rage of white wines in Italy and also to see how a wide range of dishes pair with white wines.
Zonin wines can be found locally at Publix, Winn Dixie, Total Wine and other local wine shops.