Scarpetta /skär-peh-tuh/ : Little Shoe
The literal definition of the Italian word Scarpetta is "Little Shoe." But that's not what the word means. Scarpetta not only has a totally different interpretation, but is really more of an Italian lifestyle than a simple word. What Scarpetta really means is: To sop up the last of the sauce with a piece of bread; that last bit of utter deliciousness that you can't possibly leave behind.
Isn't that the most brilliant thing you've ever heard?!?!
It was this rustic and provincial lifestyle that inspired Bobby Stuckey to create and launch Scarpetta Wines. Bobby Stu-
Wait, what's that? Who's Bobby Stuckey?
Well, well. Ok then, where to start? Hmm - let's begin with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The highest level for a Sommelier is Master. To receive that certification and all the honors and accolades that come with it, you must pass what is considered the most difficult (read: damn near impossible) test in the world. Before you say the Bar Exam is along those lines of difficulty, let us put it to you this way: The Master Sommelier exam has a pass rate of less than 10% and as of this writing there are only 269 Master Sommeliers in the world. 269! There are probably more than 269 lawyers in our small town of Charleston alone, let alone on the entire planet. And besides, no one has ever seen a Master Sommelier advertising their services on a roadside billboard.
Mr. Stuckey is one of those elite 269 Master Sommeliers. Like most young folks in the restaurant and hospitality industry, Bobby began his career as a dishwasher and worked his way up. In 1995 Bobby joined the staff of The Little Nell restaurant in Aspen as a sommelier. During his tenure there, The Little Nell received numerous awards for wine and service, including Gourmet's "Best Wine Service" Award; Mobile Travel Guide's Five Star Hotel and Restaurant Rating; Wine Spectator's Grand Award; and a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Wine Service. After five years, he went from Colorado to California's Napa Valley where he went to work with world-renowned chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. More accolades and recognitions followed, including his being dubbed "Wine Director of the Year" and a prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service for The French Laundry.
When Bobby moved on from The French Laundry, he returned to Colorado, Boulder this time, and opened his own restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine in 2004. In the very same year as opening his own location, he also passed the Master exam. No small feat! And then, after biking around Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region looking for an ideal spot and vineyard sites to begin his own wine project, he launched Scarpetta Wines in 2007.
In addition to all of his own projects, his mentoring future Somms and the knowledge and expertise he gives back to the wine industry, during the Covid Pandemic that has plagued us all the past few years, he started a campaign of advocacy to help the restaurant industry on a national level, which was sorely in crisis. His efforts in this endeavor is showcased in the documentary film Saving the Restaurant.
Now that you know the very tip of the iceberg that is Bobby Stuckey, what do you say, think he's got the chops? Yeah we certainly do too. So back to Scarpetta. Bobby Stuckey launched these wines in 2007 with the focus being to produce traditional Friulano white wines and has since then expanded, now offering over eight varietals; four of which we are going to enjoy this coming Wednesday, the 16th.
There's an old food and wine adage that states, "What grows together, goes together." And when pairing food and wine, especially in Italy where the wines are as diverse as the cuisine, this is such a true statement. From this simple philosophy, the wines of Scarpetta were born with the hope that the wines would bring this story of the Italian table to life. They are meant to be enjoyed with good food, but more importantly shared; from special occasions to everyday adventures.
We'll begin the Tasting with one of the Originals from Scarpetta, the light and lively Prosecco. But after that, we're getting into all new territory! A new Chardonnay from Fruili, a Barbera from Monferrato in Piedmont and a Sangiovese from Tuscany. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for it's Vineyard Landscape, Monferrato in Piedmont is the birthplace of Barbera and this is where Stuckey and Scarpetta are producing theirs. The Sangiovese is Scarpetta's Frico Rosso Toscana. Continuing their food and wine pairing theme, Frico is a traditional Friulian cheese dish in which cheese is shredded and then pan-fried. Originally Frico was prepared in the impoverished region as a way of recycling cheese rinds.
It's entirely possible that you'll leave this Tasting hungry with all the talk of food and the Italian lifestyle of gathering around the table. But if you leave thirsty, it'll only be for more of the deliciousness that we'll be pouring for you!
We'll see you there!
Salud and Buon Appetito,
The Wine Shop Team