Farris: Fregola Sarda porpora dâAmarone â" Sardinian couscous simmered with amarone, shallots and garlic, finished with fiore sardo (cheese) and served with crisped pancetta
Hanks: Anise-scented tuna with foie gras mousse â" with onion, carrrots and currants set of by arugula
Uygur: Otto File polenta with braised duck â" coarse-grained Otto File (itâs a type of corn) polenta from Anson Mills made with cold-smoked milk and topped with duck and broccoli buds in browned butter
Wilcox: Grilled pork tenderloin with polenta made with chorizo and cheeses, lobster mushrooms and peas
Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre, the highly rated, under-$20 wine called a baby amarone because itâs made with the ripasso method that effectively produces double-fermentation. 70 percent of the grapes were picked and vinified; 30 percent were held back and dried and their juice only partially fermented. The two were blended, which initiated a second fermentation. What you get is a richly fruit-filled wine â" but not like a California fruit bomb. Itâs a bit raisin-y and earthy, like mushrooms, with beautifully balanced acid and good tannins integrated into a luscious whole. The grapes are natives: corvina Veronese, rondinella and sangiovese.
Hanksâ anise-scented tuna with foie gras mousse. The flavors and richness of the mousse embraced the wine, and it was like a comfort beverage to the seared-outside-rare-inside tuna. He topped it all with a tiny dice of currants, onion and carrot that really popped against what he called the âlivelinessâ of the wine. The mousse included a reduction of the wine.
âThis fish demonstrates the opposite of the white-wine-with-fish, red-wine-with-meat,â said Marilisa Allegrini, sixth generation with the family-owned Valpolicella property. âThe red wine was perfect with the tuna. More to the point, it [the rule] should be white wine with white fish and red wine with red fish.â
The Allegrini Cook-Off With a Cause is taking place in cities across the country; The winning chef gets a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice (Hanks won based on voting by attending participants, and he chose the Turtle Creek Association.) Donations were made to all the chefsâ chosen charities, depending on how their dishes ranked, so there were no losers. Each dish not only had to be tasty and creative on its own, it had to match the wine. I think all the chefs had fun. I know we tasters did.
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