A wine event celebrating Antonino Caravaglio wines that was recently held at The Harbour Club in Valletta saw a wonderful fusion of flavours created by Chef David Buttigieg, complementing a collection of five wines from the Sicilian island of Salina, known for its distinctive terroir.
The chefs presented a gourmet menu using Mediterranean seasonal ingredients that included the famous capers that are a key product of the economy of Salina. A refreshing Infatata Malvasia Salina Bianco I.G.P. started the evening, its intense citrus and herb notes exalting the amuse bouche and the Seasonal Fish Tartare with figs, verbena berry and a lime dressing.
The Infatata is a dangerous summer wine, the kind that goes down so smoothly that you don’t even realise you’re opening the second bottle. Not that any of the guests were complaining.
An Occhio di Terra Malvasia – Malvasia di Lipari – Salina IGP – 2022 followed, perfectly chilled, more intense than the Infatata and perfectly matching the more complex palate of the next dish – Culurgiones With Bottarga Mint, Pecorino and Preserved Lemon.
After this it was time to switch to the Palmento di Salina – 60% Corinto Nero and some other varieties (nerello, calabrese, perricone) – Salina IGP – 2022. This very intriguing wine has the complex notes of a red, but is much lighter, making a perfect accompaniment to the 14 Day Aged Tuna on the Bone. This dish also offered us the opportunity to experience the particular flavour of the Caravaglio capers combined with a salsa verde.
The main event was a Pork Entrecote accompanied by spiced caponata, EVOO Confit Potato and Roasted Onion Demi Glace. The wine of choice here was the magnificent Nero Du Munti Corinto Nero – Salina IGP – 2022. Ripe, well-rounded and memorable.
The event wound down over a spectacular Vanilla & Mascarpone Risotto Peaches with Caramelized Almond Tuile Aged Balsamico. A very unusual dessert, sophisticated, yet comforting at the same time. The Malvasia delle Lipari – 95% Malvasia & 5% Corinto Nero – Passito DOC – 2021, proved to be the perfect finishing note.
Throughout this Antonino Caravaglio wines evening, the winery founder himself Antonino Caravaglio was present to explain the story behind each wine, together with Enba Wine’s Brian Mifsud, who imports the Caravaglio wines to Malta. Speaking about Caravaglio wines, Mr Mifsud explained that it’s the philosophy behind Enba Wines to promote small, independent, terroir-driven producers.
“We hope to represent Italy’s D.O.C. and D.O.C.G., which aren’t yet so well-known in Malta. Of course, we still represent the most popular wines like Gavi, Primitivo, Moscato and so forth, but we want to expand on the other wines. Caravaglio’s philosophy fulfils this desire.”
Asked about his favourite Caravagalio wine, Mr Mifsud stated that he fell in love with Infatata some three years ago, but that the other vintages are also fast gaining ground.
“The so-called ‘rosso non rosso‘ Palmento di Salina hit home big time, especially with the Tuna that was served throughout the wine-pairing event,” he concluded.
The evening also saw Harbour Club restaurant manager Stefan Agius ensuring that everything flowed smoothly through the evening, contributing no end to a perfect occasion that kicked off the restaurant’s summer season in style.