Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wine and Food of the Giro 2017 Stage 5: To Messina

Pedara – Messina, 157 km

Where are we?
Pedara: Lying on the southern slopes of Etna, The most representative symbol however remains the Basilica’s impressive bell tower, rising up over the Gulf of Catania, like a beacon for her majesty Etna.
From the Giro site:
FOOD Pasta with masculini (fresh anchovies sautéed with onion, peas and wild fennel), scacciata (bread dough stuffed with cheese and sardines).
WINE: Etna red and rosé (Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese), white (Carricante, Cataratto, Minnella, Bianco, Trebbiano, Grillo).

Messina: Messina was founded by the Greeks who gave it the name “Zancle”, meaning scythe, after the shape of its port. It was conquered by the Romans, the Byzantines and then the Arabs. In the end the Normans arrived. Messina reached its utmost splendour when, under the rule of the Swabians, the Anjou and the Aragons, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily and, most importantly, one of the most thriving Mediterranean towns, especially due to its port and trading skills. Nowadays the town extends all along the coast and is almost all modern, largely because of the violent earthquakes that have hit it and the bombings it suffered during the Second World War.

FOOD Focaccia messinese, pasta ‘ncaciata, pidone (stuffed and fried calzone), braciola alla messinese (traditional meat rolls), fish and seafood dishes, pignolata glassata (fried dough balls with chocolate and lemon icing).

WINE Doc Faro (red, mainly from Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio grape varieties), Mamertino (red and white) and Malvasia delle Lipari.

The stage: Headed to the hometown of Vincenzo Nibali today, with another sprint stage expected.

Things I wonder about during slow points in sprint stages: why exactly does Sean Kelly get such long coffee breaks? Good agent?
Meanwhile, on the road, no action at all. Fifty five kilometers to go and the gap to the break was still over three minutes.

Thirty kilometers and under two minutes. Twenty kilometers to go and just about one minute. Fifteen kilometers to go and the break was swallowed up.
And, no, the first time across the line is not the end of the stage. Oops. Around again they go.

And in the real sprint: Gaviria! Nice work there.

Wine: Cos 2014 Pithos Rosso  
from Dig Wines
blend of 60% Nero d'Avola and 40% Frappato, aged in clay amphora.

From the importer: Azienda Agricola COS was founded by Giambattista (Titta) Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Cirino (Rino) Strano, three friends who wanted to recreate the work of their ancestors. The acronym (Cilia-Occhipinti-Strano) not only represents the company’s name, but also the beginning of a remarkable partnership. In 1980, the trio became the youngest winemakers in Italy when they bought Joseph Cilia’s old family winery. Located in the historic town of Bastonaca, the vineyard measured just over a mere three hectares.  Fascinated by ancient cellar practices, COS decided to work with amphoras, clay jars that were used by the ancient Greeks. The first shipment came from Spain in September 2000, and thus, Pithos was born and a new COS identity was created. 

Tasting notes: Cherry and earth. Vibrant and elegant, this is one to seek out.  

Food: Gangi Dante Organic Dried Oregano
Why? Because the internet told me that it was great. This incredibly pungent oregano comes from Petralia Sottana on the island of Sicily. Left on the branch to dry, the oregano is intense and wonderfully woodsy. If you've tried the world's other oreganos, from Greek to Mexican, you will surely enjoy the flavor of this authentic, organic Sicilian oregano. Not as musty as Mexican and less acrid than Greek oregano, in the words of the producer, Gangi Dante, it's "aromas will perfume you of the Mediterranean."


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