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2017 Azienda Santa Barbara Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi

DRINK: 2017 AZSB Verdicchio Casteli di Jesi

EAT:  Mussels in White Wine Sauce 

PLAY:  “Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)” – Squeeze

I remember going to Italy on one of my first visits and having a simple glass of Verdicchio and being blown away with how good the wine was with my food. This wine is such a pleasurable, crushable, delicious bottle of summer white juice, that you will be hard pressed to find anything even close to the quality and price this bottle delivers.  Hailing from the heal of the boot on the coastal vineyard shores of the Italian region called Marches (“mark-ay”), it is pressed from old vine Verdicchio grapes into this non-oaked, steely, bright, high acid white wine with a hint of spring herbs and pea shoots that make it impossible to just have one glass. Load a couple of bottles in your ice chest and some red plastic cups and don’t forget the corkscrew.  Buy a case please at this price.

Head to the seafood department of your grocery store and ask for a bag of mussels.  They usually come in a 2lb mesh bag and should serve at least 4 people as long as you also grab a crusty baguette.  Heat a big pot and throw in half a stick of butter, drizzle with some olive oil and then throw in some chopped onions and garlic.  Give up your half glass of white wine and bring to a boil. Toss the whole bag of mussels in, cover the pot and wait 15 minutes. Voila you got dinner!  This wine will be soooo good after a big dip of baguette in the hot sauce topped with a mussel.  

I couldn’t resist this musical selection by Squeeze.  “Pulling Mussels from the Shell” came out in 1980 with mild success, but it’s one of my favorites from this band and so full of happiness and energy, and reminds me so much of the energy and brightness in the Verdicchio.  The song reminisces of family holiday memories spent on the beach in England, however I heard that “Pulling Mussels” apparently refers to a British slang term for sexual intercourse. Go figure.

- Chris Blanchard, MS


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