My wife, her parents, her brother and sister-in-law visited Cafe Abbracci last night. It'a classic Italian restaurant near us in Coral Gables, FL.
We ended up ordering two bottles over dinner and I'm going to take you through the wine list as I saw it, what I considered ordering, what I ordered and why.
Click here to download a copy of their wine list so you can follow along.
If you know me and what I like, you know Italian reds are my thing. We're in an Italian restaurant so why not go Italian, right? That's my reasoning for flipping right to the very back to page six where they list their Italian reds.
I'm big on pasta, but I'm the only one ordering pasta. Everyone else is ordering some sort of veal dish. So I'm looking to find something that pairs well with meat dishes.
Let's talk price. I know exactly how much wine costs and it already irks me that I've got to pay 100% markup. That's just the way restaurants price wine. I really don't want to go over $50 a bottle. I might go $60 if I find something really super.
As I scan the 35 choices on the page, I see a lot of Chanti and Chianti Classico. I like them, but I'm wanting to try something different. Don't get me wrong. Chainti is a safe bet at an Italian restaurant. You really can't order a bad one unless you got really, really cheap. Search for my article on the Chiantis to learn more about those.
I'm a big fan of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, but it's the least expensive bottle on the page. I have those at home a lot. If we were having pizza or pasta at a less expensive place, I would. This is a nice Saturday evening meal out so I'm thinking, "There's no need to order that tonight." Search for our article on these to learn more about them.
The past few weeks, I've been tasting Rosso de Montalcino as part of the Italian red theme we're covering. I'm curious to see how consistent those are vineyard to vineyard. A few nights before, my wife and I tasted another one of these that I shared in another article. She really liked it so I knew if I got one of these, she'd be happy.
Now I start exploring. If money wasn't an issue, I'd go for the Super Tuscan, Tenuta San Guido "Guidoalberto" for sure. Visit our Super Tuscan article to learn more about those, but here I am at the table with Guido is my father-in-law and Guido my brother-in-law . They are both with us tonight so that would be interesting. I don't go there only because $110 is more than we want to spend.
I decide on the Rosso di Montalcino. I'm looking to see how consistent they are and I'm wanting to keep my wife happy. (Happy wife, happy life, right?)
As a final move, I ask the waiter, who is from Sardenia the island off the coast of Rome and part of Italy, figuring he would know which one of the two is more popular. He says they are both very good so I pick the Carpazo because it's $7 cheaper. That's the heavy science that went into picking tha tone.
I have had 3 Rosso di Montalcino's this past month and they are consistent and similar to each other. I've written an article on Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello de Montalcino. Read that one to learn more both of these.
With four of us drinking, we absolutely needed a second bottle. This time I'm taking a different approach. I want to explore something new that I don't usually order.
I considered the Ripasso from Venice, but at $56, I'm not sure I want to chance it. I'm not very familiar with those. The Novencento 1113 from Umbria is another one. It's tempting and only $40. Like the first one, I'm not very familiar with the area so I skip it.
Sofi and I have tasted some pretty interesting Primitivo from Puglia recently. We have joked about traveling to Puglia out of the way near the boot heal of Italy. That would be cool, right? At $35 it is the lowest priced bottle on the page.
Just for giggles, I asked the waiter if many people order it. This guy's Italian and it took him a minute to remember where Primitivos are from. He says he doesn't get too many requests for it. That's all I needed so I go for that as our choice.
I've written an article Primitivos as well. Like others I've had, I found it really refreshing and crisp. Compared to the first bottle, it was definitely lighter. These Primitivos are an interesting. The people I know that have tried them all like them. They are a low risk selection and definitely inexpensive in general. If you order one of these with friends, make sure to tell them the price will fool you. It will definitely be a conversation starter and something I'm sure you'll enjoy.