A Wine Tasting at Little Italy’s Enoteca DiPalo

A wine tasting was the last thing on my mind when I signed up for Ahoy New York’s Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour of Little Italy and Chinatown a few weekends ago.

However, several hours after our tour, my friend, Joan and I were back at DiPalo’s to buy some of the cheeses we had sampled.

A woman was standing at the counter next to us as Joan placed her order. Hearing the type of cheeses we were getting, she told us we needed to get a bottle of wine next door at Enoteca DiPalo (DiPalo’s Wine Bar). There’s a tasting going on now, she added.

Joan and I headed next door as soon as we got our order. About a dozen people were in the narrow space, which had bottles of wines positioned at various angles against an exposed brick wall. (an enoteca is a wine library).

Wine tasting
Enoteca DiPalo

A small group of about seven stood in a loose circle towards the back of the enoteca as if they were at a private tasting. Everyone else milled around, glass in hand.

Enoteca DiPalo, DiPalo’s Selects’ latest venture, opened in 2008. While DiPalo’s Selects carries specialty foods from all of Italy’s twenty regions, Enoteca DiPalo carries wines and spirits. It also offers regular tastings to educate the community on Italian wines.

Sam DiPalo, a descendant of Savino DiPalo, the cheese maker who started DiPalo’s runs the enoteca. Sam spent several years studying Italian wines and food products at Italy’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenza.

Wine tasting Enoteca DiPalo
Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso

We tasted Tabarrini’s Montefalco Rosso and Montefalco Sagrandino Colle Grimaldesco 2009. (Sorry, I didn’t make notes but I left with a bottle of the Rosso.)

The woman who’d told us about the tasting had said Giampaolo Tabarrini, the owner of Tabarinni Winery was at the tasting. We soon spotted him. I introduced myself and asked him about his wines. He spoke proudly and passionately about his family’s wines and the olive oil they produce and insisted that we should visit the vineyard. One person at the tasting had been and said it was worth the trip. I have no doubt.

Wine tasting at Enoteca DiPalo
Joan, Giampaolo and me

The Tabarrini family has been making wines for four generations in Montefalco, Umbria. They grow Sagrantino grapes on eleven of their twenty-two acre property and began bottling their wines towards the end of the 1990s. Giampaolo, who was in the US for a series of tastings, said they also make grappa.

Enoteca DiPalo is located at 200 Grand Street, next door to DiPalo’s Specialty Foods. Call 212-680-0545 for information on their next tasting.

I looked for a recipe that could be paired with one of Tabarrini’s wines but they were all in Italian. Here’s one from DiPalo’s. Enjoy!

Spinosi Pasta with Prosciutto and Lemon

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  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. Generous ½ cup prosciutto that has been cut into strips 1 to 1½-inches long
  3. 3 tablespoons white wine
  4. About 5 ounces Spinosini pasta
  5. ½ to 1 cup pasta cooking liquid
  6. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  7. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  8. 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
  9. Additional cheese and Italian parsley leaves for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the prosciutto to the skillet and cook until heated through but not browned and crisp. Add the wine and keep warm.
  2. When the water boils, drop in the pasta. Cook 2 minutes. Lift out the pasta and place in the skillet with the prosciutto.
  3. Measure 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add ½ cup to the skillet, stir gently and cook 1 minute. Add the lemon zest, cheese and parsley. Toss gently and cook 1 minute longer. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the pasta cooking liquid and a dash of olive oil.
  4. Divide between two heated plates. Garnish each serving with additional cheese and parsley leaves.
  1. Makes 2 main dish servings or 4 appetizer servings.
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28 comments on “A Wine Tasting at Little Italy’s Enoteca DiPalo

  1. That sounds like it was so much fun, Marcia! I’m more of a white wine drinker but add cheese into play and I’m game for some red! Speaking of white wine thank you for that recipe. I just added it to my wish list to make. Have a great week! 🙂

  2. What a nice encounter ! I always love those unexpected moments the most while traveling and of course the wine as well 🙂

  3. Now that’s what I call good timing! I can happily forgo dinner and just drink wine and eat cheese instead. Sounds like a great little enoteca.

  4. What a great way to end your tour! I am always up for a good wine tasting. Thanks for the recipe!
    I have tried in vain to link up, but no luck. I keep getting error messages, and when I finally got to the link page nothing happened (: I will try one more time, but busy day here, so I might have to miss this week. Sorry!

  5. Cheese and wine, what’s not to love? Are you traveling in the U.S.? Thanks for the opportunity to link up to Foodie Tuesday. Safe travels ~

  6. Hope you get a chance to make it, Mike. Wish I could suggest a wine to pair it with.
    Always a hit, wine and cheese, doesn’t matter if it’s white or red.

  7. That’s the thing I love about NYC — you can find foods from almost every corner of the world and with such a large population, it’s a great market for just about every product.

  8. I didn’t know that’s what “enoteca” meant. I am so clueless when it comes to wine that it’d be nice to have someone tell me about what I’m drinking. Your recipe looks yummy, but alas, I cannot find prosciutto here.

  9. I love impromptu occasions like this, it seems you stumbled on a real gem. And how lucky that there was an owner from Italy there too! What a great event.

  10. Sounds like really fun experience 🙂 I usually enjoy wine tasting sessions at home with my friends!
    Cheers 🙂

  11. You’re absolutely right Maria. I’m from India and I know there are some good Indian restaurants in NYC. My cousin works for ‘Dawat’, one the the best Indian restaurant in NYC. It’s located at 210 E. 58th St.

  12. I’ll have to check it out, Dipra. You’re right though, NYC has some fantastic Indian restaurants.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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