Fattoria Betti is a small winery in Tuscany that embodies everything you’d expect a small winery in Tuscany to embody: the grapes are picked by hand; the landscape is dotted with olive groves and cypresses; and according to their website, you can even feel the “discreet hover of the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci.” Perhaps most charming though is that instead of trying to sell as much wine as possible, Fattoria Betti focuses on producing a small number of bottles at the best possible quality. The other week I was lucky enough to sample some of these bottles at a tasting dinner at Etceteraetcera here in New York, and while I admit I didn’t quite feel the hover of Da Vinci as I sipped (sigh—that would have been so cool), I did get to experience firsthand the range of delicious varietals the winery has to offer. I also got to experience them in style, as Fattoria Betti throws quite the sophisticated event. Today I’m delighted to share the highlights of the evening, including a rundown of the wines we tasted.
Like most food and drink events, this one started off with some mingling and pre-dinner aperitifs. White wine of course—but not just any white wine. We got a preview of the 2018 Bianco di Toscana IGT “Creto di Betti,” which hasn’t even been bottled yet. I will say, as someone who’s not really into white wine, I couldn’t stop sipping. It tasted like summer, pure and simple. By that I mean that this wine was meant to be consumed on a big wraparound porch before dinner—preferably on a swinging bench, as the sun shimmers through the trees. Probably not surprisingly, it carried us right through the first course of arugula and avocado salad as well.
Next up was ricotta and spinach ravioli paired with Chianti. It was delicious, as you might expect. I mean, you can’t really go wrong when you pair Chianti with pasta. Given the prominence of Sangiovese grapes among Fattoria Betti’s production, however, this one felt a little special. A beautiful ruby color, it tasted like black cherry and plum, with tannins that were present but not too overwhelming. I tend toward red wines that are fruity but balanced, and this one fell right in line with those preferences.
While the Chianti was my favorite wine of the evening, my favorite moment actually involved Merlot, because it was served with SESAME CRUSTED SALMON as the main course. Never in a million years would I have paired these two things together, because hello, Merlot is heavy and salmon is light and if you’re like me and absolutely must pair salmon with red because you don’t like white, you ALWAYS go with something light, like Pinot Noir. As it turns out, all of that is crap—the pairing totally worked. In fact, I’m now a little obsessed with it, the way you get obsessed with a secret that’s so cool you feel cool just for knowing it. Of course, now that I’ve told you it’s no longer a secret, but it’s still super cool, trust me. The combination will surprise and delight you.
I should also note that the sesame crusted salmon was incredible even outside of the pairing. I eat salmon often enough that I generally don’t get excited about it. This dish, however, excited me. Between the sesame crust and the unexpected base of warm lentils, it felt like an entirely new experience in and of itself.
Finally, we ended the night on a romantic note, with rose and chocolate soufflé, and it was as beautiful as it was delicious. Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, the Rose di Toscana IGT was a perfect shade of salmon, and tart enough to provide a nice contrast to the richness of the soufflé. I love a good palette so I of course took 20 pictures of it for the color alone. When placed next to the Chianti and Merlot, it made the most perfect rainbow of hues.
Overall, between the delicious wine and food and the chic ambiance of the event, this was one of the best evenings out I’ve had in a while. Etceteraetcetera is officially on my list of restaurants to book for a pre-theater meal, and Montalbano—the province where Fattoria Betti can be found—on my list of wine vacation destinations (I keep a lot of lists). For those who are looking to create the Tuscan experience here in New York, in turn, Fattoria Betti wines will be coming to the city soon. Keep an eye out for them at restaurants near you in the coming months.
Thank you Fattoria Betti and Perle & Perlage for a wonderful evening!
By: Reagan Daly