Within weeks of meeting Eleonora Costa of Crealto at Vini Dei Vignaioli, the natural Italian wine fair near Parma…
I found her wine at the hip, new Bar Mezzana in Boston’s South End.
It was listed among other natural Italian wines I’ve written about like Elisabetta Foradori Manzoni Bianco and Granato, Eugenio Bocchino Barolo, Arianna Occhipinti SP68 and I Clivi Ribolla Gialla.
The Crealto vineyards are in the northern region of Piemonte…
But Crealto doesn’t follow the rules that most people there associate with Grignolino: a second rate cousin to Nebbiolo and Barbera that is good for making light weight table wine.
Instead, Crealto is both a sassy and sophisticated red. When I asked Eleonora to explain why her Grignolino is different, she said simply, “Most people don’t take the variety seriously but we treat it as an important grape.”
The result is a beautiful blend of fresh acidity from the Grignolino grapes plus intensity and complexity from longer than usual macerations, fermenting with native yeasts, organic growing methods and sixty year old vines.
The wine had such vibrancy and vitality that it seemed right at home in this sleek and sexy restaurant, a versatile dance partner for every dish that came out of Chef Colin Lynch’s open kitchen.
Colin Lynch and his wife, Heather Kennaway Lynch both had careers at Barbara Lynch’s Gruppo before opening Bar Mezzana this year.
The restaurant’s theme is “Coastal Italian”. The first course was a fish carpaccio in olive oil.
Next came a bruschetta with fig, gorgonzola cheese and salami. The clean acidity of the wine was a foil to this rich combo.
Then, came a beef carpaccio that was one of the best I’ve had in a long while.
Next, Celeriac, a root vegetable with celery flavors, bringing in New England tradition and seasonality with an Italian flair.
And finally, an opulent scallop finale.
The wine list at Bar Mezzana is the work of Ryan Lotz (far left), who also spent part of his long restaurant career at Gruppo.
I often find that it’s challenging to explain Italian wines to Americans, but Ryan does it skillfully by organizing the wine list according to familiar guideposts:
In the Key of Sauvignon Blanc,
Might Be Close to Chardonnay,
Not Quite Merlot,
Reminiscent of Cabernet and then,
Not like Anything Whites and Reds.
It is a clever and effective way to transition palates from the familiar to new adventures. Most of Ryan’s wine list is Organic or Biodynamic Wine made with Natural methods in the cellar. Bravo!!
360 Harrison Ave.
Sunday through Wednesday: 5pm to 10pm
Thursday through Saturday: 5pm to 11pm
Sunday: 10:30am to 1am
Monday though Saturday: 4:30pm to 1am
10:30am to 2pm