Pizza, Meatballs and Gaglioppo

Librandi Duca San Felice Cirò Riserva Calabria 2005
Apr 28, 2010

I can’t believe it took me six years to get to A16, the popular, chic trattoria in San Francisco’s Marina district dedicated to the food of Southern Italy’s Campania region. Since it opened, I’ve been hearing nothing but raves about it, and on a recent Monday night, I finally got to experience it for myself.

It was amazing. I’m a bit of a pizza snob, so I had to try one from their wood-fired oven and went with the Salsicca, piled with fennel sausage, roasted spring olives and a healthy dose of chili flakes. I loved the rustic ingredients balanced with the perfectly done thin crust. A16 also features “Meatball Mondays,” and my friend and I shared an order of meatballs in red sauce. They were unbelievably tender. I never knew meatballs could melt in your mouth!

The wine list is also dedicated to Southern Italy, and I asked our server to pick out a medium-bodied red to complement our meal. She suggested the Librandi Duca San Felice Cirò Riserva Calabria 2005 ($21 for a 375ml carafe), made from a grape I’d never heard of before: Gaglioppo. It was very fresh and fruity, with a wonderful grapey quality, hints of licorice and a mineral component, and went perfectly with the meal. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

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Italy Red Wines 2005

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