Rick Hutchinson is a spirited fellow. He’s been in the wine business about 40 years. And as owner and winemaker at Amphora Winery, located in Healdsburg, Calif., he makes some fabulous wines.
He’s made a lot of friends in northern Indiana too. He and Paul Cataldo at Antonio’s Italian Ristorante talk about being kindred spirits. Jay Fields of Indiana Wine and Wholesale Liquor loves Rick and having him come to the area.
In 11 days in Indiana, Hutchinson visited restaurants in South Bend, Mishawaka, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Elkhart. Corndance Tavern and Cafe Navarre both did wine dinners. Antonio’s had its dinner on Wednesday, June 25, the last night he was in town.
Paul Cataldo, assisted by five family members and his staff, served six courses that were paired with Hutchinson’s wines. His pinot noir and zinfandel are among my favorites of those wines. They’re just solid quality and are usually only available at restaurants such as the ones he visited this week since he isn’t a large producer.
As usual, Antonio’s overwhelmed us with food. The squash fritter and fried blossom were great. The salad was stellar, and I liked the smoked duck. The beef was probably the weakest dish of the lot, as the sauce wasn’t remarkable. The flavors in the pasta and fish were nice too. It was all good.
And as usually happens at one of Antonio’s group events, Cataldo wanted about 40 people and got a lot more than that. But he said yes, took their money and fed them well.
Another fun event. But ones with Cataldo and Hutchinson usually are.