A Voce Columbus, a lively Italian restaurant in the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan, earned a Grand Award for its wine program this year. So I invited some friends to dine with me and check it out.
It was a lovely summer evening, and the view from the dining room over Central Park as the sun set was spectacular. The open room with its high ceilings has a casual feel, but the softening light made it feel like a cathedral.
Chef Missy Robbins offers classic dishes but adds distinctive flavorings that give them punch and personality. A side dish of sliced radishes, for example, was amplified by an anchovy dressing. Red pepper gave a spicy jolt to spaghetti with clams.
To refresh our palates, and to counter the summer heat, we chose light, fresh wines. Even though we were on a budget, there was plenty to choose from, as nearly half the wines on the 2,500-selection list are priced under $100.
A 2010 Vermentino ($55) from Cantina Lunae from Liguria was smooth in texture, but firm and clean with bright acidity and an undertone of minerality. Head sommelier Zachary Kameron led us to our red, a Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Planeta winery in Sicily. This blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, both indigenous grapes, was light-bodied and fresh, with bitter cherry, floral and light herbal notes. Served slightly cool, it was a delicious and refreshing accompaniment to the assertive flavors in the food; I rated it 89 points, non-blind. At $55, it was an excellent value, proving that you can benefit from a Grand Award without breaking the bank.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red wines from Sicily.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash