IMG_0380An afternoon at Nerai with Palm Bay International and Antonio Capaldo, Owner and Managing Director of Feudi di San Gregorio, was nothing short of spectacular. Nerai is a new, upscale Greek restaurant on the Upper West Side with some of the best octopus and zucchini Kefte I have ever had!

This wine lunch showcased just how magnificent in aromas, taste, and quality Feudi di San Gregorio wines are, but also, how versatile they are when pairing with food.

To kick off the lunch, we were given a sparkling DUBL Greco Brut Metodo Classico which was extremely aromatic and screamed FOOD WINE! This was my first sparkling Greco ever, and one I hope to drink much more often with food. Antonio explained how this wine was made in the traditional Champagne method by one of his wine makers who is from that region of France, who is so full of creativity and which certainly stood out in this wine. Served with the reception was an array of Spreads, Zucchini Kefte, and Toasted Pita; so yummy!

Diver Scallops, Smoked Eggplant, and Grape Arugula Salad was the first course, paired with a 2012 Falanghina del Sannio DOC, a 2011 Fiano di Avellino DOCG, and a 2011 Greco di Tufo DOCG. The scallops danced with merriment when paired with the Falanghina, while the Greco and Smoked Eggplant paired wonderfully. The arugula salad was packed with flavor and was delightful with each of the wines in the flight.

Here is where I had some of the best octopus ever! For the second course we were served a 2010 Rubrato Aglianico Irpinia DOC and a 2007 Taurasi DOCG with Grilled Octopus and Roasted Organic Chicken. Both were absolutely delicious, but my heart fell for the Octopus, which was charred perfectly and had just the right amount of seasoning to pair beautifully with the wines.

What came for the third course however, was incredible! Perfectly cooked Colorado Lamb Chops and Short Ribs Yiouvetsi paired with three amazing wines. The 2007 Piano di Montevergine Taurasi Riserva DOCG is bold with beautiful drinkability now, but so age worthy as well. Following in this flight was a 2008 Serpico Irpinia Aglianico DOC which, when paired with the Lamb, was gorgeous. The 2010 Patrimo Campania Rosso IGT was paired exceptionally well with both dishes, and made the sweet baking spice flavors in the orzo beneath the short ribs pop with flavor.

Feudi di San Gregorio is highly regarded in the wine making industry and an innovator in the new direction of winemaking sweeping the historic Campania region of Italy. Near Mt. Vesuvius, this estate is known for its cultivation of Ancient varietals unique to the area’s volcanic terroir. Their commitment to quality, as well as state-of-the-art technology, and eco-compatible viticulture, places them in a position to transform and sustain their reputation as a leader in this area.

Antonio, a charming man whose passion shines while discussing the wines, is an inspiration and someone I was extremely honored to meet. Thanks to Palm Bay International, I was able to dine with some inspiring wine writers, professionals, and, of course, Antonio himself.