Ride for Life (in aid of Force)
Festa di San Martino Friday November 17 at
Michael Caines at ABode Exeter
Thank you to all who have booked
and sent payment for this evening of wine, food and friendship.
Mario Fontana will arrive on the day from his home in the Barolo
wine hills to present his wines, and he is also bringing with him
some rare early season tartufi bianchi di Alba - white Alba truffles!
Michael Caines and new executive chef Ross Melling and their teams
will be serving us a brilliant menu to accompany the wines.
For those attending the Festa,
the evening will commence at 7.30 in the Cathedral Room of ABode
Exeter (formerly the Royal Clarence) for Prosecco Bisol 'Jeio' (courtesy
of Gianluca Bisol) and canapes. We'll aim to sit down in the Clarence
Room by 8pm. It's going to be a full evening with some great food
and an amazing selection of wines, so it's unlikely to finish much
Exeter is offering anyone attending the Festa a special room
rate of £85 b & b. To take advantage of this rate, please
contact Helen by EventsCo-ordinatorExeter@michaelcaines.com or telephone
Here's the Festa
di San Martino menu and wines
All proceeds will go to the Ride for Life fund in aid of FORCE,
our dynamic local cancer organisation. It's hard to believe that
Ride for Life has now been going for ten years. Michael has been
a big supporter over the years (one of our earliest events was a
very special dinner cooked by Michael and Nello in Nello's Ristorante).
Over this period, and with the help of so many who have supported
events such as this, Ride for Life has now raised nearly £100,000
for FORCE. So thank you all very much for your support.
If anyone would still like to join
us at this late stage, please contact me as
soon as possible as there may be some late cancellations. My telephone
number is 01392 873778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Spotlight on Mario Fontana
and and the wines of Cascina Fontana
In honour of Mario's visit for
the Festa, over the next weeks, we'll have the opportunity to taste
the full range of his exquisite Cascina Fontana wines: the classy
and elegant white Gavi; young punchy red Dolcetto d'Alba; iconic
Barbera d'Alba (my favourite wine in the world); Nebbiolo delle
Langhe from the single Castello di Sinio vineyard; different vintages
of the magnificent Barolo; and the lightly sweet, low-in-alcohol
Moscato del Piemonte, the perfect wine to end a meal.
Many Club Vino members already
know Mario from his frequent visits here (a number of us also visited
Cascina Fontana last year for the Club Vino trip). For those who
are unable to join us for the Festa, Mario will be with me and Geoff
in The Wine Cellar on the morning of Saturday November 18, so this
is a great opportunity to meet with Mario to talk to him about his
wines as well as to taste them. We will have some great Barolo open
for tasting on the 18th!
Then on the evening of Saturday
the 18th, we will be having an informal 'meet the winemaker' evening
with some simple typical foods in our home Quay Cottage, Ferry Road
(opposite the Wine Cellar). Numbers will be limited, so if you'd
like to join us, please let me know as soon as possible - all we
ask is that you bring along a bottle of your favourite Cascina Fontana
wine to share with everyone else.
I have known Mario Fontana for
more than fifteen years, and I have enjoyed sampling his wines regularly,
dating back to vintages of Barolo from the early 1980s. Over this
period, Mario, who is still a young man, has developed and grown
in stature as a winemaker, a fact recognised when his outstanding
Barolo 2001 was one of only a very select few wines from Barolo
to receive a Bronze Medal in this year's International Wine and
Spirits Competition in London (a one of the most highly respected
international wine competitions). Mario's wines simply get better
and better every year.
Mario undertakes every phase of
the production of wine himself: from the tending of the vines, the
growing and harvesting of the grapes, to the winemaking and the
lengthy maturation of his wines (a process that takes years for
Barolo). He sells his production direct to faithful customers who
return year after year to taste and purchase at the source, as well
as to a select number of international customers in Belgium, the
United States, Japan and elsewhere. We are proud to be sole outlet
for Cascina Fontana wines in the UK.
Many will recall that Mario's iconic
Barbera was the house red at Nello's Ristorante. When Nello and
I cycled to Venice in 1997, we came down, down, down from the dizzying
heights of the Alps above Turin and were met in Alba by Mario and
the Mayor of the town. (I remember well that after our efforts of
climbing the mountains, the meal that evening, brasato al Barolo
prepared by Mario's mother Elda, was one of the best I've ever had
in my life!). On many other visits to Le Langhe, Mario and his wife
Luisa have been the most generous and hospitable of hosts, teaching
us about the foods and culture of the region, as well as about their
Please put a date in your diary
to come along and meet Mario, learn about Le Langhe and taste his
wines next Saturday in The Wine Cellar or at our home in the evening.
Coming next: the taste
of Le Langhe
Recipe for agnolotti or ravioli al plin
Agnolotti al plin are tiny, handmade
ravioli that are the speciality of Mario
and Luisa's region, Le Langhe. They are stuffed with a mixture of
pork, veal and chicken, and with greens such as spinach and cabbage,
then hand pinched together with the fingers ('al plin') to form
tiny little pockets of stuffed pasta no bigger than a 20 pence piece.
Most usually they are served bathed in copious amounts of melted
butter and fresh salvia - sage - topped with shavings of parmiggiano
reggiano cheese. Absolutely sensational with a glass of Mario's
Luisa and Mario's mother Elda have
now given me the definitive recipe for preparing agnolotti al plin,
together with a foolproof step-by-step series of photographs that
demonstrates the process - it is not difficult but it is laborious,
time consuming and rather fiddly.
I will post the recipe soon and
and also instructional pictures. To make something like this, many
hands definitely make the task easier (a fact proven by Geoff's
communal grape harvest!). Anybody interested in a Vino agnolotti
al plin party? If so, drop me an email.
Best to all,
Marc and Kim