New Year’s Eve, Eve

Toasting Loyalty: To the Respinto Family and Schramsberg friends!

By Jan Walsh

What to do when your hubby has to watch football on NYE? You reserve New Year’s Eve, Eve. I am obviously not the only one who had to change NYE reservations to the night before. GianMarco’s is booked at 5:00 p.m. Yet our table is waiting.

Kev and I start with a bottle of Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé and a toast to the Respinto and Davies families. “May the New Year be a loyal one!” I have had the privilege of being in the restaurant and kitchen with Giani and Marco many times and learning much from them and their dad, Giovanni, about food, cooking, and life. Schramsberg vintner, Hugh Davies is a longtime friend who we just received a New Year’s card from today, as we do every year. He hosts us when we travel to Napa and is our house guest when he travels to Birmingham. The bubbly is chilled to perfection, very cold, which brings forth its effervescence. His multi vintage, Mirabelle Brut Rosé is a juicy blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, boasting notes of raspberry, red apple, and shortbread… perfect for the last meal of the year.

We pair it with an appetizer of Respinto’s fabulous Fiocchi, which we are also loyal to. These pasta purses have long been one of our favorite dishes, here at GianMarco’s: savoring them as a starter for dinner, as an entrée for lunch, and at Pizzeria GM as an entrée for both lunch and dinner. These charming bites are served in a drawn sage butter sauce, filled with pears and gorgonzola, wound with prosciutto, dotted with walnuts, and crowned with shaved parmesan.

Hearing tonight’s specials, the Prosciutto wrapped Red Snapper has my name all over it. And Kev orders the Niman Ranch Double Cut Pork Chop Valdostana. The snapper is substantial in size, encased in crispy prosciutto, and presented atop butternut risotto. The prosciutto adds dimension, color, salt, fat, and additional sweetness to the tender, delicate fish, enhancing its sweet and nutty flavors. Kev’s double chop is also wrapped in prosciutto but also encircles melted and melded fontina. The bone releases moisture, keeping this meaty chop juicy as it is cooked to order. It is white on the inside, tender, and flavorful. The chop is accompanied by asparagus and a parmesan risotto, in a white wine sage butter sauce. Both entrees are highly recommended.

To our server’s surprise, we forgo dessert and end the evening as we do every New Year’s Eve with a “Happy New Year!” toast of Schramsberg.

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