In the company of two great friends (Karina and Celeste -just recently introduced-), in the strikingly cold Amsterdam we managed to find a little but inviting italian restaurant. This, of course, after seeing Dutch people in action trying to take advantage of their height at the "all you can eat" cheap, japanese restaurant.... we were upset... and left the room. To some extend I appreciated the idea of leaving... the japanese restaurant was too noisy and I wanted to have a nice chat with them.
At our arrival, the waiter asked us to wait some extra 5 min before he could sit us... we waited... a couple arrived... and they were inmediatly sat in a table close to the kitchen... mmm....mmmm... I was wondering... why was that?... and then he finally arrived and showed us the way to the best of all tables in the restaurant.... at the window facing the canal!. WOW! the view was lovely, the company excellent... so... I asked for no more!
After ordering an "antipasti" (some serrano ham, cheese, morcilla, salami, etc) our main dish was delivered. For that special dinner I was the one suggesting the wine... even though I really wanted to go for a Barbera (hardly found in Mexico) I decided to go for something easier to have, very flavorfull, smooth, not tanic at all, with a big cherry scent, and at 14% of alcohol.... a wine from Sicilia made out of Nero D'Avola. (http://www.bestofsicily.com)
Nero d'Avola is considered as the most typical and representative red grape of Sicily, excluding the territory of Etna. The incorrect name Calabrian is an "Italianization" of the word in old Sicilian dialect, Calaurisi which actually means "grape of Avola." Nero d'Avola ("black (grape) of Avola") was selected for cultivation by grape-growers of Avola (Siracusa) several hundred years ago and spread to the commune of Noto (SR), the provinces of Ragusa and Caltagirone, and recently throughout the rest of the island.
When cultivated to yield a low quantity of fruit per vine, this grape variety is capable of expressing the characteristics of important aged red wines. An aroma of red fruit and typically "sweet" tannins that persist after many years are the most significant components. At the same time, this grape also lends itself well to the production of young and novello wines of a suggestive red and violet-tinged color, highly pronounced aroma of red fruit (plum, blackberry) and smooth tannins. It may also have a peppery or jammy taste. (Wilkipedia in the web)
Sometimes it has been compared to Syrah, able to age and yet easy to try young. It goes great with most italian meals and was an excelent match for our pasta. I had "Penne arrabiato" -probably for my crave for spices at that time-, Karina had Tagliatelle nero and Celeste had a Salad. The wine was tasted, scent, and felt.... good combination... good in did. I can't remember the name of the producer (couldn't write in on the cork for it was plastic!) but it was a 2004.
Needless to say, we left the restaurant around midnight, after receiving a wedding proposal from the waiter himself!... it was obvious... I mentioned my returning to the sunny, crowded and lovely country of mine... MEXICO!
The content of that conversation.... a must for a next time....