CA' DI RAJO NOTTI DI LUNA PIENA-$27-THE PERFECT MATCHUP FOR MARCH MADNESS
Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
By Dwight Casimere
Ca' Di Rajo winery is located in the Piave River Valley just north of Venice in an area steeped in legend and history. Famed for its Prosecco sparkling wine, which is derived from both estate grown grapes and those from vineyards along the surrounding "Prosecco Road" which stretches from Valdobbiadene to the idyllic city of Treviso, which is lovingly called the "little Venice." Ca' Di Rajo is a modern wine facility nestled within an historic estate which dates back to the 14th century. The church and the convent buildings founded by Ramobldo XII (Count Collate) were once home to the cloistered Carmelite fathers. Today's winery was envisioned by Marino Cecchetti and is carried forth by his grandson Simone Cecchetti and his mother Sandra Degiusti.
Below: Downtown Treviso the "Little Venice"
The banks of the River Piave near Ca' Di Rajo in late winter
The carefully cultivated vineyards and winery employ modern technology while embracing ancient techniques. Tradition is evident everywhere, with the preservation of the Church of the Carmine and its historic artifacts, and the adjoining remains of the Rai Tower, which stands by the banks where the Piave River flows. the wine is hand harvested in late October to ensure ultimate ripeness and allowed to ferment in oak barrels for 20-25 days in order to extract all of the full fruit flavor. Nearly a third of the grapes are then dried for 40 days before blending back into the wine which is then aged in oak barrels for 3 years before being allowed to rest in the bottle for 6 months before release. The wine is mature and full of rich flavor. With 14.5% alcohol, it packs a wallop for a wine priced at under $30.
With March Madness set to kick off and BarBQue season just around the corner, consider the food-friendly multi-layered flavor of Ca' Di Rajo Notti di Luna Piena (Night of the Full Moon)-$27. This is a robust red wine with abundant flavor. Think layers of dark red cherries and plums with aromas of crushed violets and lingering flavors in the background of cinnamon, licorice and black pepper with a hint of tobacco and shaved cedar wood. The flavor lasts in the back of the mouth for a long time, making it perfect for an afternoon or evening of game-watching with salami and cheese, popcorn shrimp or jalapeno poppers, buffalo wings and spicy rib tips. My latest find has been a shredded barbque chicken or pork slider slider topped with kosher pickle slicers and 'secret sauce' drizzled with Frank's hot sauce. Perfect!