Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A fairytale night
This happened on the other side of the Atlantic. I was in New York, and the night was cold and windy, very dark. It was last Monday, November 10. Forty-second street went stretching along, until a small set of stone stairs rose to some other street on another level of the world. This was where I was going: Tudor City. Needless to say, I had not been there before.
Inside the restaurant Convivio, my destination, the whipping wind was nowhere present, and all was warm and as though slightly blurred at the edges. A round booth coddled the three of us who were seated at the table. There was a hum to the warmth, sounds of pleasant murmur and soft silverware, smells of sausage and pasta.
And what better figure to enter the field of fairytale vision than a tall, smartly dressed and keen-eyed sommelier. Levi Dalton would whisk us (well, not too rapidly) through a series of wines, from bubbly to white to red, that I had never had nor, indeed, even heard of before.
Most memorable. Most shocking, a dish of gnocchetti with crab and sea urchin, and the wine I sipped by its side, so impossible, so impossibly lovely.
2006 "Notte di Luna" Ca' de Noci Moscato Giallo/Malvasia/Spergola (Emilia-Romagna) - This white wine comes across on the nose with a robust nut-shell and dusky flower scent, and on the palate is flooring. How to unravel the things going on here? Such depth and complexity, a bit of oakishness and supple body not unlike a white Burgundy; it seems to do a pirouette, then to wrap and unwrap itself and spool out more, fresh tastes.
As the evening wore on, we came back to this with the cheese, and it had become even more fleshily wonderful.
An extraordinary surprise to the start of a week of the unheralded in New York.