I didn’t realize how beloved chef Jacques Pepin is until he was the guest on the WLRN food and wine show with Linda Gassenheimer and me on Thursday. Callers hardly even had questions for him. They just wanted to tell him how much they appreciated his cooking TV shows and recipe books.
He talked about Mediterranean cooking, and I talked about the wines of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Linda had gone on a cruise and visited the island and its famous winery, Sela & Mosca. I complained that I didn’t get to go, but had to talk about the wines.
Still, they’re very Mediterranean grapes, so they’re appropriate for Jacques Pepin’s recipes.
Sardinia is a big island about 120 miles off Rome on the Italian mainland. Its eastern shore, the Emerald Coast, is full of Italian vacation villas, fancy yachts and jet-setters cavorting in the emerald waters. But its interior, especially in the north, is mountainous and rugged. And home to a giant winery called Mosca & Sela that makes some very good wines.
For the most part, the grapes aren’t the usual chardonnay, merlot, cabernet and such. They are more unusual grapes and wines. Just to name a couple:
· Vermentino, a crisp, rich white wine with flavors of grapefruit and oranges.
· Cannoneau, the red grape called Grenache in France, with spicy strawberry and raspberry flavors.
· Terre Bianche, a white wine from the local torbato grape, which tastes like vanilla.
· Terrarare, a red wine from the carignano grape, that’s spicy and fruity.
Jacques said he has visited the winery and particularly likes its vermentino. Give it a try. Supermarkets probably don’t carry it; you’ll have to go to a big wine shop.
Oh, and check out the program on our podcast. Click on the icon at left.