Earnest Hemmingway said "“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world ...brought to the greatest perfection." It "offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
What makes wine even better is a beautiful place to enjoy it and good food to accompany it. And you have both, here.
Now it is up to you to explore, I challenge you to do so, to try a few new wines, Spuntino offers you 42 by the glass to choose from. Learn the perfection and pleasure that good wine brings. The pours are full and enough to share, so do bring a friend.
It was our first sitting in the spacious, well appointed dining room. Up until now we just enjoyed the pleasant bar. We had quite a feast tasting two Italian draft beers, seven wines, four small plates, olives, three bruschettas and a pizza. A wonderful paring of delicious food and wines.
Our cordial smiling waitress got us started with two draft beers, a Moretti La Rossa, which I've had in bottle many times, so much better when on draft. And the Seasonal Italian Craft which today was an IPA from Birra Del Borga the same brewer that collaborated with DogFish Head to create a favorite My Antonia. She explained the menu and made us feel very welcome.
With the beers we enjoyed fried artichokes with a lemon aioli and lamb meatballs "naked" no sauce just fragrant rosemary, olive oil and crisp onions. Nicely prepared and served. One tip, give the food a little time to cool. Tasted much better not piping hot.
We added some of the very delicious warm olives that are coated with oil, herbs and garlic. We noted early on and continued to be impressed by the quality of the ingredients that Executive Chef Josh Bernstein uses.
From there we went on to some wine, our waitress admitted that she was very new to wine, upon my asking she explained that she had attended several training sessions but it was obvious she still had a lot to learn. It is not easy. You know they say you can know the wines of Italy or the wines of the rest of the world. Passionate Italians make so many different wines.
While she went for the sommillier who was pretty knowledgeable we selected a red wine from a producer that I knew. It is a wine you have probably never tested but I encourage you to do so. The grape is called Gaglioppo which is grown in Calabria that is the toe of the boot of Italy. Ever see Fellini's Nights of Calabria? One of favorite films that stars the enchanting Giulietta Masina who I adore. The vineyard is Librandi which is known for their great wines. We also had a white wine from this vineyard, a Grecco Bianco, another unusual grape. Both were very delicious. Be brave try them.
With these wines we had three Bruschettas as you see below. We felt the bread was a little too thick but other than that delicious. Cannelini white beans served with baby arugula; sweet peppers, roasted garlic spread topped with sweet peppers and drizzled with balsamic glaze; and goat cheese with carmelized onions
Ok we were on a roll and not about to stop. By then Joel the Sommelier had come over and we got into a nice chat. We talked about the wine and we had a lot of favorites in common. I asked him if many people were tasting the many wines they offered and he said it varied. Many diners, and there are many, are reluctant to try something new.
Come on people, if you read this please promise me you will try something new. Ask for the Sommelier, Joel, and tell him what you like in a wine. I am sure your will get a good recomendation of something new and exciting.
In the course of our meal we tried two wines from Campania also in Southern Italy, the region that Naples is in. Sannio Falanghina by Mastroberardino and a Aglianico by Feudi di San Gregoria Rubrato. Joel recommended these two very approachable and food friendly wines.
We asked Dan, the manager on this night, to recommend some dishes and he suggested this delicious Branzino Pan-seared in a Mediterranean style with Salmoriglio Sauce and a dish of Brussel Sprouts sauteed and served with very good Parmigiano Reggiano.
Dan suggested this dish too. Pizza they call Salumi with crumbled sausage, capocollo, prosciutto di Parma and cacciatorini. We were very pleased.
We also had a red wine Perdera by Argiolas in Sardegna like a Cabernet, a personal favorite and a Rosso di Montalcino by Altesino of Tuscany, another wonderful wine, like Pinot Noir. Both wines have great critical acclaim.
What a feast, we loved it all.
My last wine was with dessert, two cannolis filled with a light ricotta chocolate chip filling and a locally made Vanilla Gelato, a sweet Moscato D'asti from Fontanafredda.
So there you are,the ball is in your court, come back and tell us what you tried and what you liked or did not.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas
70 Kingsland Road
Clifton Commons on Route 3 East
Monday - Thursday, 11 am - 12 am
Friday - Saturday, 11 am - 1 am
Sunday, 11 am - 11 pm
Monday - Friday, 3 pm - 6 pm, in the bar area only
$1 off any wine by the glass, beer, or cocktail.
$2 off any hand-stretched, thin crust pizza.