uwuq9m - rw70cp - qhl27n - e538xa - eigoys - 49j712 - 4300zg - s0s403

Paolo Cantele just completed a whirlwind trip through the U.S. working with the estate’s new American importer Winebow.

He literally crisscrossed the country, visiting more than 12 cities along the way.

In Texas alone, he hit three cities, including Austin, the state capital, where he hosted a wine dinner at one of the city’s hottest new Italian restaurants, Il Brutto.

Executive chef Erind Halilaj’s team totally nailed the traditional Pugliese menu they served that night, including the classically prepared housemade orecchiette (above) — one of Puglia’s signature pastas.

Man, this dish was spot on: From the al dente texture of the hand-rolled pasta to the gentle seasoning of the tomato sauce and the coarse shredding of the fresh ricotta, Paolo noted that this one the most authentic Puglisese dishes he’s ever eaten in America. The pairing with the Cantele Chardonnay was only topped by the Salice Salentino with grilled lamb, another Pugliese standby.

General manager and wine director Charity Sadoy’s Italian list is so thoughtful and balanced, remarked a wine writer who attended the event, with selections that reflect her deep knowledge of and inspired passion for Italian wine. So many sommeliers go for the funky and the off-beat these days. Charity’s program captures what’s great about Italian wine today — from the traditional to the experimental. And the bar makes a pretty mean Negroni, too!

Thank you, Il Brutto, for one of the best nights of the trip!

Il Brutto
1601 E. 6th St.
Austin TX 78702
(512) 580-8779
Google map