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Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 9, 2010: Wining and no Whining

My wonderful husband took me out to dinner tonight. We went to Naples Restaurant on Kingston Pike, a venerated Knoxville favorite.

With the exception of a couple of months per year, Naples holds a monthly wine dinner. There are several opportunities in Knoxville to attend wine dinners on a relatively regular basis and all of them are good.
1) Wine Society of East Tennessee
For only $20 per year (which you effectively get refunded if you go to one dinner), members of the society host a wine selection at a Knoxville or Maryville establishment with complementary foods. The restaurant venues vary, but I have always had a great meal and wine.
2) Chez Liberty
Another fine dining Knoxville stalwart, Chez Liberty has a sporadic, but almost monthly schedule of over the top wine dinners.
3) Naples Restaurant.
The thing I like best about Naples is that the dinners are very informal, the food is truly outstanding, and they have managed to keep the price affordable for most people. Admittedly, it is not a cheap dinner, but most couples could find a way to attend if they enjoy this sort of experience.
So KUDOS to Naples for making it possible for the average Knoxvillian to attend a world class meal with wines.

Okay, prepare to be completely jealous! Here is last night's wine dinner menu:
February 9, 2012
Empson Imports Italian Wine Dinner

Greeter- Lagaria Pinot Grigio

Okay, after all that bragging about Naples and their wine dinner, I have to admit that this wine was sort of a DUD on flavor. Not a bad wine, just not suitable to my palate. Of course, many people enjoy Pinot Grigio because they are pretty much guaranteed to be free of harsh flavors. SO suit yourself. Interestingly, the wine distributor visited the winery and did not know what the painting on the bottle was. The owner said, "It's a landscape."

1st Course

Pieropan Soave
Interestingly, this Italian wine was great! Apparently, in Italy, most wine is NOT named for the grape, but where it is from. I did not know this. See. I would make a rotten wine snob.

Artesinal Formagi Assorte

(Assorted cheese. What could be not tasty about assorted cheese?)

2nd Course

Jermann Pinot Grigio

Now this wine was totally amazing as pinot with really great fruity effervescents. YUM!

Lobster Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp
Orange Scented Creamoso


It tastes as good as it looks!

3rd Course

Monte Antico Toscano Rosso (Sang/Cab/Merlot)

All I can say is this was a really nice wine and paired well with the pizzetta. For those into tasting notes, here is the low-down:
This delicious wine is loaded with an alluring array of aromas opening with ripe black cherry and licorice, followed up by notes of leather and dried herbs. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, round and supple with velvety tannins and rich spicy fruit flavors. It’s elegant and well-balanced with a long silky finish.


Thyme Caramelized Apples

Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Golden Raisins

This is one sexy pizza! Of course, by this point, I was SO full. I ended up boxing most of the rest of this meal... but not the wines :)

4th Course

Grotta Rosa Carignagne

Crispy Pork Osso Buco


Pomodoro Polenta

This course was one of the tastiest things I have had in a long time. The meat was fall off the bone tender.

5th Course

TerrabiaSangiovese)nca Compaccio Toscano(Sangiovese)

For me, this was the most complex wine of the evening... as the distributor said, Sangiovese is the grape of the basket bottle CHIANTI (I didn't know that!) and this ain't your daddy's chianti."

Veal Saltimbuco

Sage Rissotto

Prosciutto di Parma

Needless to say, I was so full at this point, there was no way I could do more than taste this little delectable delight. But it is waiting for me in a box in the freezer.



After such an elaborate meal, a little biscotti was more than enough!

Needless to say, Paul and I enjoyed this tremendously. My only negative comment would be TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.


  1. No kidding. What a night. I'm becoming more picky about wines as time goes on. Not that I know anything about them, but that I'm learning more about things I don't like. Like white wines all seem to make me get headaches, so I prefer not to drink them.

  2. Your preference will be noted!