Today’s Culture with Travel post is by our founder, Nicolette Orlemans. A big thank you to Tuscan winery, Fattoria Betti, for inviting me to a special wine tasting and dinner event in Brooklyn.
Many years ago, while still living in The Netherlands, I traveled to Tuscany with my parents and Polish grandparents. What I remember from that childhood trip were beautiful views, kind Italian locals, delicious dinners and gelato, nights of dipping into the pool to cool off, and great family moments.
The memories of Tuscany came to mind when Tuscan winery, Fattoria Betti, invited me to a special wine tasting event.
Our tasting brought us to Le Fond, a cozy Brooklyn-based bistro with a quaint ambiance. The winery’s contact, Claudia, and the winery’s owner, Guido Betti, greeted our small group with a glass of wine at the bar.
Before dinner, Claudia had shared Fattoria Betti’s story, its history, and the “buzz” the winery has received to date. GQ Italia recently praised Fattoria Betti among “excellent producers operating in the Pistoia area.” Founded in Quarrata (in the territory of Montalbano), the winery occupies a small corner of Tuscany.
The vineyards are grown on clay soil at 150-200 meters above sea level, with a focus on Sangiovese, Cabernet, Trebbiano, Canaiolo Nero, and Merlot. According to the winery’s website, “They are cultivated using the spurred cordon systems, and processed through the partial grassing and organic fertilizers.Once optimum ripeness is achieved, all grapes are harvested and meticulously sorted. The wines we produce come from a deep passion that, combined with pride for the beautiful territory, leads us to use innovative technologies without betraying the ancient art of winemaking and to use the wood in a non-invasive way, in order to preserve the best the fruit of wine. ”
Wine and Dinner with Fattoria Betti
As I mingled with lifestyle bloggers and journalists, we soon discovered our mutual appreciation of wine through different, shared stories. Some bloggers mentioned that they wrote about wine-food pairing suggestions or restaurants, while the journalists among us talked about festivals and wine events they’ve covered.
We were seated at a communal table – the perfect way to keep conversations flowing as we sipped Fattoria Betti’s wines and enjoyed the chef’s specially-crafted menu.
Our first course was an delicate spring vegetable carpaccio with mustard vinaigrette and egg. It was an interesting twist on the more traditional meat carpaccio, and a refreshing dish to kick off the evening. On this hot summer’s day, the lightness of the course felt especially welcome.
Together with the carpaccio, we tried the Creto de Betti (70% Chardonnay, 30% Trebbiano) – a crisp, fruity glass of white. Claudia mentioned that “Creto” takes its origin from “creta” meaning “clay,” which referred back to the soil where the grapes are grown.
Our second course was by far my favorite – cavatelli with prosciutto, scallions, lentils, and a spinach emulsion. It was flavorful, and the ingredients paired nicely with each other. Again, on this particularly warm day, the dish was a great combination of being light, yet filling enough, as we sampled the wines.
We tried the Chianti Montalbano (90% Sangiovese,Canaiolo and Colorino 10%), which undergoes fermentation and aging in vitrified cement and steel, and is refined in bottles for two to four months. I picked up on the wine’s sweeter accents – hints of black cherry and raspberry.
Next on the tasting menu was Fattoria Betti’s Prunideo (90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet), which undergoes traditional fermentation, and matures in oak barrels and in steel tanks, as well.
What awaited us for dessert was sweet and delicious: a combination of chocolate, poached strawberries, vanilla custard, and rosé di Toscana. As Claudia mentioned, this rosé was supposed to be a one-off production for a foreign client who “had a beard like a billy goat (“Caprone” in Italian means “billy goat”), and the wine was named in his honor.” The wine has since stuck around, and so has its playful name.
I’m eager to visit the Fattoria Betti winery in the future. For now, I’ll hang on to the Tuscan memories a bit longer. Our surprise parting dinner gift was a bottle of Fattoria Betti’s Semel, but with it comes the lasting memory of a cozy dinner with new friends.
To read more about Fattoria Betti and its wines (an English translation is also available), visit the Fattoria Betti website.