OK, well this should’ve been written a week ago . . . I can’t believe how quickly time flies . . . however, our trip to Cove Trattoria in Scottsdale for a winemaker’s dinner on the 20th was definitely memorable and worth a write-up in the blog.
Cove Trattoria is located next to Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse on the corner of Indian Bend and Scottsdale Rd (in the same shopping center as Terroir Wine Bar). When we arrived I was impressed with the clean presentation, stainless steel, open kitchen and beautiful bar. When I peeked at the wine list I was also impressed by the prices – all glasses were $10 or less!
We were excited to participate in this winemaker dinner with Maurizio Marchetti, an Italian winemaker who owns a small vineyard in the Marche region of Italy, a location that I will definitely want to visit on my next visit to Italia! The evening started off with a short education on Italian wines and on the Marche region (including a map that was very helpful). Our host, Maurizio, was gracious and humble. Dinner was served family style to three long tables which was great to open up conversation with our neighbors and make some new friends!
Our first course was a “Piadine e Insalata” poured with a 2007 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico. Chef Matthew Davin created this course in honor of the Marche region. It is similar to a pizza but instead of sauce and pepperoni, it’s topped with a salad. The official description is “a wood fire oven baked flatbread (oh, did we mention that they have a wood-fired oven!!!) with oil cured olives, brandied onions, fresh thyme and fontina cheese. Topped with field greens and organic chioga beets tossed in a lemon vinaigrette”. The flatbread was light and the salad was fresh and tasty! It was a very nice first course and there was plenty of it . . . once we finished one plate, more kept coming! The wine was very nice, very light and a perfect pair with the salad.
The second course we enjoyed was also in honor of Maurizio’s hometown region – “Muscioli e Finocchio” – mussels are a staple in this coastal region. The Prince Edward Island mussels were served with organic fennel in white wine, lemon, saffron, parsley cream sauce and they came with giant croutons. The first thing we noticed about this course was those enormous croutons. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to eat one without making a big mess, but these deep fried massive morsels were soft in the middle – they didn’t break apart (and end up all over my dress), instead they melted in my mouth. I think this was my husband’s favorite part of the dinner. They were SOOOOOOO good. The mussels were large and cooked perfectly (not chewy at all!) and the fennel broth was really yummy, especially when we dipped our croutons into it. Again, portions were big and kept coming.
The wine served with this course was similar to the first wine . . . although, this was the “late harvest” crop. A 2007 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Catelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Tenuta del Cavaliere DOC “Late Harvest”, Maurizio utilizes his best grapes and let’s them hang a little longer on the vine. Traditionally this would make a wine sweeter, but that’s not what happened here. The color was a deeper yellow and the flavors were enhanced, but there was no sweetness to this wine . . . it reminded me of a nicely layered dry chardonnay or viognier . . . the depth of flavor was very nice.
Our third course consisted of Braciola con Pomodoro, Polenta e Tartufo Nero . . . a grilled pork rib chop served with organic oven roasted “baby roma” tomato, onion and garlic sauce accompanied by creamy black truffle polenta. WOW!!! Again, this was no baby pork chop. This was a thick huge steak of a chop, cooked perfectly and nicely spiced (simple salt & pepper, I think) allowing the flavor of this beautiful piece of meat come through. The polenta was just sinful! Chef Davin is not a skimper . . . a lot of truffle flavor came through and the creaminess of the polenta was out of this world! A perfect match with the pork.
The wine, the last of Maurizio’s to be served this night, was a 2004 Marchetti Rosso Conero DOC. The varietal was a Montepulciano, which has quickly jumped to the top of my list as a favorite. This wine showed great depth and strength. No whimpy grape juice . . . this wine was bold, nicely tannic and had great layers of flavor. It could’ve overwhelmed the pork chop but didn’t. Instead it paired very well, allowing both the pork and the wine to stand up tall and each showcasing its depth of flavor.
The fourth course was a perfect ending to an amazing meal. Platters of fruit and cheese arrived, along with a nice, light panna cotta. Heavy cream and vanilla bean custard with caramel sauce and candied walnuts; fresh strawberries with balsamic and cracked black peppercorn; Assorted Italian cheese and chocolate with fresh pears, grapes, berries, mandarins and pineapple. This course was paired with a 2007 Tre Donne Moscato D’Asti DOCG – a unique sparkling wine that again showcased the Marche region.
Chef Matthew Davin really showed off his skills at this amazing dinner. I haven’t been able to stop talking about this place to anyone I come across. The quality and freshness of the food was showcased and the blend of flavors was mesmerizing. Previously at the Asylum in Jerome and at Roka Akor in Scottsdale, Chef Davin has previous experience with fresh food and local flavor. He and his family provide the perfect balance of ambiance and personality to make any dinner here a memorable event. I hope you choose to visit them when in Scottsdale, you won’t be disappointed! The offer monthly winemaker dinners and I look forward to “visiting” new locations in Italy into the future! http://www.thecovescottsdale.com/