What is better than a great wine and a great friend with whom you can be wholly yourself?

That was how my work week morphed into a sunny, tranquil Friday evening. 

Leaving behind the screeching phones and the clack of keyboards, I headed to Langford for an evening of good company with my lovely friend, Gwen, and an excellent Italian Amarone that I inherited from a douche-bag  guy with horrendous behaviour, but at least good taste in wine.  

AmaroneThe Italian gem gracing our palates this evening is 2003 Terre Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.  On arrival at Gwen’s home, we popped out a stubborn cork, and set it aside to breathe while we set out on a semi-leisurely 10 km walk around Thetis Lake. 

The lake was glassy calm, and the trees towering above us only allowed dappled sunlight to reach the trail.  The air was warm and still.  It was a perfect night for a walk to tease out our appetite for both food and wine.  We arrived back at the house slightly breathless, aglow with our exertions, oh so thirsty, and ravenously hungry. 

Amarone and glassesAfter gulping down some cold water to slake our post-walk thirst, we had our first sip of our Amarone.  However, I never judge a wine by the first sip.  The intensity of flavour in a good wine almost shocks the palate on first contact.  The second sip allows the flavours to truly blossom on your tongue.  And this wine wrapped itself sensuously around my tongue, caressed the roof of my mouth, and slid languidly down my throat.  Oh yes, it was that good. 

Gwen poured out puddles of lemon infused olive oil and rich, sweet balsamic vinegar (that she had purchased on a trip to Napa valley), through which we swept chunks of multigrain baguette and greedily wolfed them down, chasing them with briny olives. 

Amarone and snacksWe then leisurely sipped our sexy Amarone.  I was quite startled to realize I could immediately pick out notes of tobacco, figs, and stewed fruits (typically, placing those flavours that waft up from the glass often eludes me).  It was complex, with incredible depth of flavour.  Slight strawberry tartness tickled our tongues, and if we got a hint of the lemon olive oil mixing with the finish of the wine – well, it was heavenly.   

Let’s put it this way, if this wine were a sexy entertainer, it would be Justin Timberlake.  If this wine were a hot body, it would be Channing Tatum, ala Magic Mike.  If this wine were a funny, well-dressed guy, it would be John Mulaney – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtMVWFLB1SA

You get my drift?

Italian wines, pizza, Italian men…. Italy, mi amore, you do everything so well.