The boyfriend recently experienced a pretty bad accident. He broke his collar bone going down a steep hill on his old vintage vespa. His brakes weren’t working too well, causing him to run into a wall and land on his left arm. It was really scary at the time (I watched the whole thing unfold before my eyes), but we laugh about it now and I remind him on a daily basis that he ran into a wall all by himself. He then makes fun of me for fainting in the hospital and stealing his rollaway bed (yes it really happened).
So after several weeks of being bedridden, me playing nurse, and us watching a billion episodes of Ray Donavan and Arrested Development on Netflix (finally arrived in Italy, yay!), my slightly disabled boyfriend and I decided it was about time to have date night. And date night = wine night. At least in my mind it does.
I’m a wine girl. I have been ever since my mom let me try my first sip of California Chardonnay at 16. My initial preferences were definitely sweet white wines, Pinot Grigios, Rieslings, bubbly Champagne. However after experiencing many drunken nights in Italy (hey, I was learning a thing or two about enology wasn’t I?), I have developed a more sophisticated palate for dry whites and deep ruby reds.
Naturally my self-taught Italian wine 101 course has led me to seek out the best wine bars of Italy. Before you start thinking I’m some sommelier snob, let me tell you that while I love good wine, I’m not the kind of person who seeks out the most expensive wine on the list or has crazy wine gadgets at home (I’ve used a shoe to open a wine bottle before). Good wine doesn’t have a price tag. It’s all about what you prefer, and I’m perfectly happy with the local wine list, which is often cheaper and equally as tasty. That’s what I love about a good Italian enoteca – they often have local wines and a glass can be as cheap as 3 euro!
I had heard about this llittle wine bar called Cantine Matteotti from a book I recently read about Genoa and had been holding out to try it ever since. So when our romantic Sartuday night out came around, I thought the occassion warranted giving it try.
Tucked away on an old alleyway in the historical heart of Genoa, there are 7 words to describe Cantine Matteotti:
When we arrived the place was packed and we doubted we would be able to get a table right away, but then fate was on our side and the barwoman directed us to a table upstairs. We climbed a narrow iron spiral staircase and found the perfect table for two, although we would have preferred the cozy nook in the corner which had already been taken by another couple. There’s always next time (and believe me, there will be many more next times).
We took a quick look at the giant chalkboard menu on the wall. I opted for a Barbera red, while the boyfriend ordered a Pigato white form Liguria. Although Ligurian wine is tasty, it’s not really all that well known and mainly consists of white wine, since red grapes don’t grow too well in Ligurias rocky hillsides. The most typical wines form Liguria are Pigato and Vermentino, both of which are whites from the Riviera Ligure Ponente DOC region. If you prefer red, Barbera wines from Piedmont are easy and cheap to come by since Piedmont is a neighboring region.
But back to my new favorite wine bar in Genoa. To go with out wine, we ordered a big plate of taglieri, freshly sliced Italian cold cuts and cheese. We were pleasantly surprised to taste a white truffle infused cured ham, fighting over the last piece and savoring every last bite. There were lots of other yummy ‘tapas’ on the menu too like pesto lasagna, savory vegetbale pie and an extensive crostini menu. Definitely the kind of place that you could munch cheese and sip on wine all night without even realizing the time.
We left feeling totally relaxed and satisfied – it was almost as if we had just came out of a long day at the spa. With two glasses of wine, one big plate of premium Italian coldcuts, cheese and bread, and a bottle of local Pigato to-go, the bill came to a total of 28 euro (cheaper than the spa).
Date night accomplished.