Fiola Mare – Where Exceptional Wine, Food and Service meet
Fiola Mare – courtesy of the restaurant
I’m an explorer who loves to seek out new venues to taste exceptional wine and food pairings. During a recent trip to visit one of my daughters in Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to enjoy 3 delicious wines each with unique profiles and accompanied by culinary delights. Washington, DC has a well-deserved reputation for having an abundance of unique places to enjoy wine and food pairings. My plan is to visit as many places as I can find!
Fiola Mare, located at the intersection of 31st street and Waterfront, is a beautiful restaurant nestled next to the Georgetown Water Park overlooking the Potomac River. The restaurant specializes in serving the highest quality seafood and pairing these with a selection of wines from around the world. The wine menu itself extends over 80+ pages in an eloquently presented leather-bound book. Fiola Mare’s wine operations are significant with 3 sommeliers in residence – Megumi Awaya, CW Kelley and Pawan Negi.
While keeping it traditional by pairing a white wine with seafood, I decided to venture away from standard offerings to try a Verdicchio varietal. The Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (link https://www.sartarelli.it/en/vini/sartarelli-classico/) is an offering produced by the Sartarelli family since 2011. This is a lovely entry point wine that is sold by the glass at Fiola Mare. The wine has a beautiful nose of pear, minerals and green apples. The palate is crisp and fresh with a nice high level of acidity. My daughter and I enjoyed this wine offering with 3 dishes created by Executive Chef Anton Bolling:
- A palate cleanser not on the menu and offered by the wait staff of layered calamari, red onions and wafer-thin sliced radishes in a light sauce;
- Pennsylvania Brook Trout – flaky with leeks, truffle and a light Pesto Cetarese and;
- Gragnano Spaguetti Alla Chitarra loaded with pasta, Manila clams, Surf clams and San Marzano Tomatoes (by the way, spaguetti is an accepted alternative spelling).
Each pairing showed a different characteristic of the Verdicchio. The calamari dish with its sharpness of onions and radish balanced with the minerality of the wine. The trout entrée rounded the acidity in the wine providing a softer rounded mouth. And, the seafood pasta dish allowed the pear flavors to come through with a hint of almond as an aftertaste. This was a delicious example of how the food flavors influence the flavor profile of a wine. At an average of $18 per bottle this is value priced offering to easily be enjoyed at home.
Our wine offerings for the evening finale paired two sweeter wines with an Orange Blood Spumoni dessert. One wine enjoyed was Vietti Cascinetta Moscato (link www.vietti.com). The burst of sweetness was toned down by the ricotta donuts included in dessert. By contrast the strong alcohol forward fortified sweet wine Broadbent 10-year Boal Medeira (link www.broadbent.com), paired well with the spumoni ice cream. The strength of the fortified wine covered the shell of the orange spumoni with melt in your mouth delight.
I would be remis if I didn’t highlight the exceptional service at Fiola Mare. The staff is a well-orchestrated team never letting a plate or empty glass linger. We had the added benefit of being seated in an area of the dining room where we could view the executive chef and his staff at work creating the masterpieces of dining experience.
Treat yourself and ask your local wine shop for a bottle of each of the wines enjoyed at Fiola Mare to share at home. It goes without saying that when you’re in DC please make a reservation to visit Fiola Mare. If you work the timing just right, you’ll be able to enjoy sunset over the Potomac along with an exceptional bottle of wine and exceptional food.
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
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