There is nothing puritanical about Puritan and Co., a farm to table “modern American restaurant” founded in 2012 in the funky Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge. I find myself going back whenever I’m in the Boston area for the fresh, local, seasonal food and the wine list. It is heavily oriented toward European “natural” wine and always features some of my favorite Italian winegrowers.
On this trip, I ordered I Clivi Friuliano Delle Venezie IGP 2013 The grapes ferment with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel (no malolactic fermentation) and rest six months on the lees. No wood. No fining.
Marco Zanusso of I Clivi uses Friuliano grapes (a native variety) from 60 year old vines in his San Pietro vineyard in Friuli Venezia Giulia (northern region of Italy bordering on Slovenia and Austria). The unusual flysch soil of the Colli Orientali gives the wine a nice crisp edge.
It paired well with a plate of burrata and roasted broccoli…
A spring salad with radishes…
And homemade fresh carrot pasta with peas, prosciutto and rabbit.
I met with wine director, Peter Nelson, whose career began in the 90s at Locke-Ober, the venerable Boston restaurant founded in the nineteenth century. From there, he opened and/or managed a number of restaurants in the North End and elsewhere in Boston, always pushing the boundaries on the wine lists. He recalled having regular tastings featuring “You’ve Never Heard of It” wines.
Even though Peter chooses wines from many countries, Italy features prominently. One of the habits he keeps from the Locke-Ober days is offering wine from older vintages. “I keep verticals of wines to see how they change and age.” He’s especially interested in how the no sulfite “natural” wines change and age. “Some of them really vary,” he told me, “I have to keep tasting them to see where they are.”
On Peter’s list, I found wines I’ve written about as well as others that are on my list to visit. His enthusiasm, curiosity and experience combine in creating a fabulous range of choices. Here’s a sampling.
Occhipinti Sp 68 Terre Siciliane IGT (2013) ($62) (Zibbibo/Albarello)
La Distesa “Nur” Marche Bianco (2012) Verdicchio ($71)
Cascina degli Ulivi “Filagnotti” 2011 Cortese ($69)
COS Rami 2013 inzolia,grecanico ($65)
Santa Caterina “Poggi Alti” ($61)
COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG 2013 ($79)
Occhipinti SP 68 2014 ($62)
Occhipinti” target=”_blank”>Occhipinti Frappato Terre Siciliane IGP 2014 ($85)
Massa Vecchia Rosso di Toscana La Quercia 2010 ($125)
Eugenio Bocchino Barolo “Lu” 2011 ($135)
Paolo Bea Montefalco “Rosso de Veo” 2008 ($111)