My latest adventure

DD loves a good red, so he was miffed to miss out on “Discover Altero”.

Altero is a new wine range from South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. Its winemaker, Mike Farmilo, previously created red wines at Penfolds.

“Discover Altero” was a Cellarmasters’ event featuring an artisan Italian dinner at Pasta Emilia in Surry Hills, with the chance to meet Mike and sample his creations.

I initially turned down the invitation because I’d arranged a long-overdue catch-up with my friend Rebecca. When I told the organisers why I couldn’t make it, they said I was welcome to bring Rebecca along. Cue fun girls’ night out and sad face from DD.

He even texted me in the morning to double-check Rebecca hadn’t had to pull out at the last minute.

Soz, no.

I’ve promised to put him on the wait-list for my next wine event.

Although … things didn’t get off to the most auspicious start when I arrived at the restaurant and the PR person gawped at me in shocked and said: “Alana! I didn’t think you were coming!”

Fortunately, she managed to squidge Rebecca and I onto the long table.

Pasta Emilia was such a pretty little restaurant and Alterno’s winemaker Mike Farmilio was total a sweetheart. I talked his ear off for ages, while occasionally letting him get a word in.

Mike has more than 40 years’ industry experience and has twice been awarded the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy. He was a wonderful host, proudly presenting the four Italian and Spanish varietals that have been grown in South Australia.

They include a Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Tempranillo and Nero d’Avola.

I was particularly excited about the Montepulciano, as DD and I went to the little town when we had our beautiful trip to Tuscany a few years ago.

We had dinner in the hilltop village one evening, sipping its signature wine as we ate spaghetti in the picturesque square.

Ohhhhhhh, that trip was such a lovely adventure!

Anyways, back to South Australia …. Mike is making his Mediterranean style wines in the Fleurieu Peninsula, which he assures me is beautiful and has urged me to visit soon. Fingers crossed, I’d love to!

“The Fleurieu Peninsula is surrounded by water, with the Southern Ocean on one side and the Gulf St Vincent on the other, so it’s the Australian region with the closest climate to the Mediterranean,” he explained.

“These wines show the character and style of their home countries,’ he said. “They have bright fruit characters with minimal oak, and are made to be enjoyed fresh.”

Set in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Pasta Emilia is a traditional and organic Italian restaurant featuring a menu of pastas, roast meat and fish.

We supped on ravioli and slow roasted lamb.

According to Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director for wine retailer Cellarmasters, the Altero wines are the perfect pairings for food.

“These are elegant wines with a lovely balance and layered structured,” she said. “Although they have fruit flavours, these wines have more savoury notes, like traditional Italian and European wines.”

Rebecca and I had a lovely time catching up as we sipped the array of red wines arranged in tasting glasses in front of us.

We’re both juggling full-time jobs with raising teenagers, so we had plenty to download about.

Thanks for being my date, Rebecca!

Song of the day: Split Enz “I see red”

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