Summer is one of my favorite times of year to entertain. The markets are bursting with bright flavors, my garden is lush with leafy herbs and crisp produce, and the general mood of the city tends to take on a certain laid-back nonchalance. A few weeks ago, I hosted a zero-waste summer dinner centered around Alexis deBoschnek’s new cookbook, To The Last Bite. I wrote all about my dinner here! My friends at PortoVino were equally excited about this sustainable dinner, and graciously provided several bottles of their juicy, organic, highly drinkable FUSO wines — wine worthy of a love letter.
FUSO is PortoVino’s project to search for and bottle natural wines from farmers in Italy. PortoVino has team members full-time in Italy, so they’re present throughout the wine’s journey — from fermentation, to sample tasting, and eventually bottling. I love that FUSO wines are unfiltered, made by human farmers and not tank-farms, and are terroir-driven, letting grape variety and soil be the stars. These gorgeous wines are usually served chilled, making them an utterly perfect wine to usher in balmy, slow summer nights.
I worked with the PortoVino team to choose a line-up of wines that would build and pair perfectly with the leisurely pace and vibe of my dinner. We started the evening with SFERA Macerato, a natural orange wine from Puglia with lots of citrusy and floral notes. The level of skin contact in this wine deepens the floral element and introduces some salinity too — making it the perfect apero wine to start our evening and make our cheese plate even more magical. Next, we moved on to FLORA Rosato, a slightly fizzy rosé serving up spicy, fruity, and zesty energy. We rounded out the evening with a wine that’s probably my favorite of the year — the wind beneath my wings, CALX. This wine is just a crowd pleaser. It’s a Primitivo from Puglia that’s ridiculously drinkable, super light, fruity, and a little zany. We definitely took our time getting to know this one, and it was highly raved about by all!
My favorite part of the evening was probably the love notes we all wrote to the food and wines. I knew the wine would end up being a special and memorable part of the dinner, and I wanted to provide a way for my guests to express their newly-realized love for FUSO wines somehow! Heather wrote, “A true connecting element from soil to palate.” Will wrote, “It’s hard to pick just one favorite, luckily I can have all three!” And in a true poetic moment, Marshall wrote a surprisingly profound poem about his experience at the dinner.
“Oceans the size of peas
Eggs turned to magic
Let’s eat, drink
Spend joy, spend time
Waste not, want not“
I loved how creative and expressive everyone got with this simple prompt! Thank you so much to PortoVino for seriously making this dinner SO SPECIAL. If you ever see these wines, buy them! All of them! If you’re in the Atlanta area, I’ve seen them often at Elemental Spirits and also My Friend’s Bottle Shop. Cheers!!