Dining “Out” During COVID with Roma and Pertinace

While my wife and I would never be considered serial restaurant-goers, we have enjoyed the occasional evening out (we were much more frequent diners in Philly, where there is a vibrant BYOB scene). Or I should say “had enjoyed.”

There is no need to tell anyone how the pandemic has changed the way we do just about everything, not the least of which is visiting restaurants. With two elderly in-laws around the corner and an underlying condition myself, we are loath to venture out and push the edge of the envelope.

We have tried to take out often, but let’s face it, take-out is just not the same. Sure, we want to support local restaurants, particularly those that we have grown to love over the four-plus years that we have been here in Houston (one of which, sadly, has already closed), but it is just not the same. [Part of the reason might be that when we used to go out, it was often without the kids, but that is a subject for another post.]

Recently, however, thanks to our good friends, Jeremy and Tracie Parzen, we have participated in several virtual dinners from Roma Restaurant here in Houston that have been informative, tasty, and wonderfully entertaining. The restaurant supplies a three-course meal for two and three bottles of wine for $119. Easily one of the best deals in town.

These dinners have been occurring every Thursday for some time now and last week’s event was simply spectacular. Each of the three dishes was wonderfully paired with a beautiful wine from Pertinace in Piedmont.

Tonight, we will happily be joining in again, enjoying a few Lambruscos, and while I believe the event is sold-out, if you are in the Houston area and would like to join in, either shoot me an email or contact Jeremy through his amazing blog (which you should be following, by the way), Do Bianchi.

I was impressed by all three of the Pertinace wines.

2016 Pertinace (Cantina Vignaioli) Dolcetto d’Alba, Italy: Retail $25. 100% Dolcetto. This was the first bottle in a Zoom tasting of three wines from the estate and my immediate thought? “Well, it will be tough to follow this wine.” Dark fruit on the nose, with mocha, mint, black pepper, and dark berry fruit. Yowza. Good fruit, nice tartness, impeccable balance, which is always the key in wine evaluation. Very nice. Excellent. 90 Points.

The Dolcetto with the kale and fruit salad worked quite well.

2016 Pertinace (Cantina Vignaioli) Barbera d’Alba, Italy: Retail $17. 100% Barbera. This was the second wine we tasted during a Zoom dinner, preceded by the Pertinace Dolceto d’Alba and it did not skip a beat. Great fruit both on the nose and palate of tart, bright cherry, with some plum and blackberry. There is a surprising amount of depth on the mid-palate with earthy notes and perhaps some tobacco leaf. The vibrant acidity really comes through on the finish, begging for food and the semolina gnocchi from Roma Restaurant filled the bill impeccably. Perhaps the pairing of the night, but that is certainly debatable. Excellent. 90 Points.

The Barbera and semolina gnocchi was a divine pairing only exceeded by the conversation (including Pertinace winemaker Cesare Barbero, who stayed up well-past 2 a.m. to join us from Piedmont) over the course of the evening.

2016 Pertinace (Cantina Vignaioli) Barbaresco, Italy: Retail $50. 100% Nebbiolo. I received this wine as a part of an online dinner/tasting organized by the indefatigable Jeremy Parzen and sponsored by the cooperative Pertinace, the Piedmontese stalwart. While Barolo might get the majority of the press, Barbaresco gets purchased by those frugal aficionados in the know. Rich red and blue fruit on the nose with a glorious floral aspect that can only be experienced to be appreciated. Whoa. The palate, given the nose, is rather restrained initially, but it opens quickly before the mid-palate with lovely fruit but also zingy acidity, a splash of earth, and hints of tannin. Yowza. This is a gorgeous Barbaresco at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent Barolo, Buy up, Seriously. Outstanding. 93 Points.

While I have said that the Barbera/gnocchi pairing was divine, the Barbaresco/veal cheek match was magical.


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.