by Julia Crowley, Eugene Daily News
Every now and then, I take the road less traveled-for me, that is. I almost always purchase Oregon wine when at a restaurant or wine shop, I’m very dedicated to the wine created from Oregon fruit, and I truly believe the wines from the Willamette Valley are some of the best in the world; however, on rare occasion, I select wine from different regions around the world.
I met a friend for lunch at Noli Italian Cafe, located in the 5th Street Public Market, in Eugene. Noli is known for serving authentic classic Italian food from regions all over Italy. Their menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta and an impressive selection of wines by the glass.
I struggled between deciding on the Cesare, a basic Caesar Salad with romaine, croutons, shaved parmesan cheese and anchovy vinaigrette with an optional add-on of grilled rosemary chicken, and the Spinaci, a fresh spinach salad with walnuts, crispy pancetta, Chianti poached pear, gorgonzola cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. Both were tempting, but I decided to go with the Cesare and added the grilled rosemary chicken. If I were cooking grilled rosemary chicken at home, I would most likely serve it with an Oregon pinot blanc or a stainless-steel fermented chardonnay, but neither of these wines were on the list. Of the five Italian white wines that were offered, I narrowed my choices down to two: Pinot Grigio and Gavi di Gavi. I have tasted and loved many different Pinot Grigio’s, but I had only tried Gavi di Gavi one time before my visit to Noli, so I went with the Gavi di Gavi. The salad and wine pairing was so incredibly delicious, it was slightly euphoric.
The Wine: Tenuta Olim Bauda Gavi di Gavi – Gavi comes from the Piedmont area of Italy, and for Italians, it is the standard “Bianco” (white) wine. The Bauda Gavi di Gavi is a brassy straw colored wine with a pretty golden halo. Intense floral aromas led me to believe that it may be a slightly sweet wine, but it wasn’t at all. On the palate, this wine was fruity and bright with delightful minerality and fresh citric acidity. It was dry and well balanced with a zesty finish.
The Food: Cesare with Grilled Rosemary Chicken. Freshly shaved paremsan cheese was piled high on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce along with the perfect amount of anchovy vinaigrette. Bite sized chicken pieces were grilled to perfection with an intense rosemary flavor that was divine with the sharp, rich parmesan cheese.
The Pairing: The pronounced rosemary flavors of the grilled chicken was heavenly with the fruit and zest of the Gavi di Gavi, and the salty, fishy flavors of the anchovy vinaigrette were mellowed with the wines minerality and citric acidity. Truly an ambrosial pairing. If Oregon’s rainy winter days have got you feeling blue, this pairing will have you reminiscing about sunny, warm days at the Coast.