Cincinnati is a city surrounded by hills that historically had inclines in several locations for trolley lines. One such spot is the location of the aptly named Primavista which was the site of our latest dinner event. A bank of ceiling height windows allows a picturesque view of the skyline and river valley from every seat while enjoying classic northern Italian fare. Roasted garlic and aioli as signature condiments on every table predated any trend by years. For our bailliage Chef Chris Prince prepared a special parade of sumptuous tastes as we watched sunset descend upon the alighting landscape.
We were greeted with flutes of Jacques Lassaigne Champagne from the relatively unknown area of Montgeuex outside of Troyes. Refreshing minerality in the sparkler went splendidly with an array of appetizers such as veal tartare, bruschetta, and especially the savory crab and corn fritters. We then sat for a perfectly finished serving of sea scallop with a strong undercurrent of garlic matched by an unoaked 2005 Vie di Romans Chardonnay from Friuli that hinted at a Burgundian style. A classic dish of saffron risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano arrived next in the company of a 2004 Scavino Barbera. Leather and perfume were evident in this smooth youthful wine ending with a hint of spice.
After an interlude of lemon basil sorbet in a brightly decorated demitasse we progressed to a course of sausage filled eggplant roulade and roasted lamb with Chianti glaze surrounding a Vesuvian cone of polenta. This hearty dish was brilliantly met by a 2000 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva starting with a delicate floral perfume that became silky and thick on the palate finishing with notes of chocolate and tannins. This wine continued into the salad course of arugula, pine nuts, and roasted figs accompanied by a fluffy gorgonzola fritter.
Our tour of northern Italy finished with another classic flavor from the Piemonte of chocolate and hazelnut known as Gianduja, here as a cake with hazelnut cream and Amarena cherries. Our last wine was fittingly a fine 2003 Mazzi Amarone, famous for extraction and concentration from the use of dried grapes. This was another fabulous pairing and made for the perfect end to a salute to the cuisine of northern Italy. Accolades were given to Chef Prince and the conscientious staff at Primavista. Bravo!
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse