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Stef – October 4, 2010Posted in: Events, Restaurant Reviews

I am a believer that you actually do learn something new everyday.  Some are big, some are small…  Some walk up to you, knock you in the head and make a lasting impact.  I had the pleasure of such an experience just last week.  What did I learn?  Puglia has some excellent wine.

Puglia is the heel of Italy’s “boot” and is no newcomer to the wine industry.  Puglia has 3000 years experience to be a little more exact.  Mind boggling if you consider our country was established just 234 years ago.  A beautiful region of Italy, Tormaresca has captured the essence of this Mediterranean culture and cuisine, bottled it so that it could become a part, and compliment, our dinner at anytime.

Photo by Mark C. Austin

Wines of Puglia announced it’s first ever Puglia Wine Week.  We had the honor of attending as it stopped in Houston.  Thanks to Valentino Vinbar, we had some incredible Puglian influenced dishes that the wine skillfully complemented.  By no means am I a wine snob or expert, but I am picky.  The selection Tormaresca provided had me hooked from the beginning and wanting more.

I found the Puglian influenced cuisine incredibly interesting and insanely tasty!  It consists of seafood (mussels, octopus, squid, etc), but still gives you the Italiano flavor we all so dearly love.

Black Mussels Gratin with a bottle of Neprica.  The mild bitterness accompanied with the curly endive was deliciously mitigated by a buttery, slightly sweet, dressing.  Exquisite.

My favorite dish of the night was actually the spaghetti with stuffed cuttle fish.  The cuttle fish was stuffed with seafood colored with squid ink.  The spaghetti also had some small octopus mixed in.  The noodles were a perfect al dente and the marinara was skillfully created and seemed to hit every sense of taste on your pallet.  I don’t think this is part of the regular menu, but I am definitely craving more.

Not only did I learn that Tormaresca wines from Puglia are exceptional, but I was very pleased with the delicate care that Valentino Vinbar put into the complimenting dishes.  We ended with a well decorated panna cotta that summed up a perfect evening.  What a success.  I look forward to next years Puglia Wine Week.

Stay hungry Houston, and go buy a bottle of wine by Tormaresca.  You will enjoy it.