We are adjacent to the Hudson river, opposite 90th street.
We entertain often. I am from New Orleans and cook relatively well. My wife’s family is from the Isle of Capri and Genoa. Her family is in the restaurant business. She knows her way around the kitchen.
For this evening, I was one.
The electronic age made it simple: Gregory was in New York and Marcelo was in Chile.
Three reds: Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, plus one white, a Sauvignon Blanc. All wines are organic.
I decanted the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Malbec/Cab blend several hours before the guests arrived.
Our guests arrived at seven-thirty, half an hour before the online tasting.
My online job was to comment on the wines, online, with the other participants and question Marcelo, specifically, about the wines we were tasting together.
I explained the format to our guests and opened a bottle of Cava Paul Cheneau (demi sec) to whet our palates and discuss the wine, in regard to appearance, aromatics and flavor on the palate. We discussed what food we would pair the Cava with and so on. It was an easy exercise to start the festivities off.
Eight o’clock was ten minutes away and we were all excited,
Suddenly, the lights go off, the hallway alarm blasts loud notes every five seconds and uncertainty fills the air.
We are in the dark, but, not panicked at all. We knew we had four bottles of De Martino wine to drink by moonlight, worst case scenerio.
The moonlight was romantic, but, the alarm kept blasting away. Eventually the sound became background music, while we were sampling the first wine, the 2012 Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($12) from the Maipo Valley in Chile. Our palates burst with lemon, grapefruit and melon. A crisp, juicy, ripe, fresh, balanced acidity took over and led our band of six wine tasters into euphoria. I found oysters on the half shell in the fridge thanks to my I-phones flashlight. We thought it was the perfect pairing with an outrageous wine that showed its grassy nose and crisp, delicious flavor.
The aromatics were interesting, pepper and cherry followed by an earthy, spicy, vegetable flavor on the palate. Soft tannins balanced this elegant, organic, estate wine. We paired a beef goulash that was barely warm with the three red wines we sampled.
The 2010 Legato Reserva Cabernet/Malbec 50/50 blend was next. Aromas of tobacco, spice and vanilla dominated, while our palate found concentrated spicy fruit followed by vanilla notes. The wine was full-bodied, yet, still somewhat tight after airing for two hours. At $15, we all thought this wine was a real bargain and a wine to put away for a couple of years.
'LIGHTS OUT or ON', the four organic wines that De Martino produces are extreme values in the $12-$16 marketplace.
Marcelo Ratamal knows how to make wine.
PHILIP S. KAMPE
If you want to see the interview--I certainly want to, visit the Snooth website and find videos under the Explore column. Look for the De Martino Green Interview. Opici Wines import and distribute De Martino.