Dinner at Marie’s Italian Restaurant, Stevensville, Montana


My wife and I enjoyed an evening out to celebrate her birthday last week.  I wanted to do something different restaurant wise than our normal establishments we enjoy.  So it occurred to me that we had not been to our favorite Italian restaurant for a few years.  Marie’s is located in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in Stevensville, Montana about 35 minutes south of where my wife and I live.  So this is not an establishment I frequent due to time constraints.  We had an incredible evening, our food was fantastic, the service was great, and it has a charming Italian Villa like atmosphere that makes you feel as if you’ve taken a vacation. Marie’s is a family style restaurant that is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You need to call ahead to get a reservation and when you do you will get an answering machine that you leave your message about the day and time you want your reservation, if no one calls back it is OK to go to dinner.  When you arrive at the restaurant you walk right into an area that faces an open kitchen where you can see all the food being prepared and a list of the menu items from appetizers to entrees that are available that day. 

Chef-Mike-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Chef-Mike-at-Marie's-Restaurant

You are then escorted to one of the two rooms decorated like your Italian Villa where you will be seated.  On the way you will pass by the bread and dessert bar on one wall and a buffet that showcases all the wine selections.  By now you realize everything served at Marie’s has been prepared from scratch that day, and I mean everything.

Marie's-Restaurant-Wine

Marie's-Restaurant-Wine

Marie's-Restaurant-Daily Breads

Marie's-Restaurant-Daily Breads

Marie's-Restaurant-Dessert

Marie's-Restaurant-Dessert

While walking to your table you realize that you’re in for an evening of great food.  It is very tantalizing but you now begin to think about the dinner choices, appetizers, and what wine to order knowing that pairing be damned because my wife drinks only one wine, Pinot Grigio, period, end of story.  That being said it is her night after all so I will defer to the PG.

Marie's-Restaurant-Table in the "Villa"

Marie's-Restaurant-Table in the "Villa"

 My wife and I are now seated and are discussing food options and my theory is this; if it’s that good why make choices just order it all, so to speak.  We decide to have two appetizers, the Lamb Tortellini and the Fried Calamari. These both arrive at the table and our bottle of Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California(notes will follow).  Both of the appetizers are delicious, and the Calamari may be the best I’ve ever had.  OK the wine is good too even though it’s a Pinot Grigio which is not necessarily my favorite.

Appetizers-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Appetizers-at-Marie's-Restaurant

 Once we have finished with the appetizers we are served the dinner salad for two and I have ordered the Chianti Beef Soup, once again not choosing but just deciding I need to try both.  After all I’m a wine and food writer and need to have the complete experience.  The dinner salad was very good, fresh, and colorful.  Fresh greens and thinly sliced yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, and tomatoes.  The dressing was a lite olive oil, vinegar, and Italian seasonings.  Now the Chianti Beef soup was terrific, as suggested it has Chianti wine base that has been reduced and incorporated into the soup with finely shredded beef that perfectly thickens the soup broth and accompanies simple vegetables in the soup.  Simple, great.

Chianti-Beef-Soup-at-Marie's Restaurant

Chianti-Beef-Soup-at-Marie's Restaurant

At this point we have pretty much already had enough food, but why stop now the best is yet to come.  Three entrees, Veal Scallopini, Angel Hair pasta with Meatballs, and Scallops and Clams on Linguine with a lite tomato based broth.  The meals were great.  The Veal Dish was done perfect and prepared perfectly, pounded very thin and lightly breaded and not over powered by anything else it was dressed with or accompanied by.  The Angel Hair had a perfect red sauce and fantastic homemade meatballs simple, ample, and a unbeliveable flavor.  The Scallops and Clams over Linguine were so good I can still remember the taste.  Chef Mike who is the owner, chef, husband, father, and grandfather prepared this dish to absolute perfection.  Perfect scallops, perfect clams, great pasta, a very lite broth that was to die for.

Veal-Scallopini-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Veal-Scallopini-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Meatballs-on-Angel-Hair-Pasta-Marie's Restaurant

Meatballs-on-Angel-Hair-Pasta-Marie's Restaurant

Scallops-and-Linguine-at-Marie's Restaurant

Scallops-and-Linguine-at-Marie's Restaurant

My wife and I enjoyed her favorite wine varietal, Pinot Grigio with our dinner.  It was a California wine from the Monterey area, Loredona Pinot Grigio.  Loredona wines are a reflection of the vineyards on which they are grown.  Monterey’s cool and moderate climate is ideal for crafting our Riesling and Pinot Grigio.  Monterey’s warm days result in ripe, tropical fruit flavors and floral aromas, while the cooling fog and nights preserve a crisp and refreshing acidity in the wines.  With a 50 degrees variance between daytime high and nighttime low temperatures not uncommon, their Riesling and Pinot Grigio display ripeness from the sun and crispness from the fog.   

Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California

Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California

The Loredona Pinot Grigio features a melange of tropical and spicy aromas including pear, pineapple, and ginger.  The flavors are rich and intense, with ripe pear and Fuji apples.  The wine finishes with strong hints of vanilla.  My wife truly enjoyed this wine on her birthday and that was the whole point, not for me to have chosen a more appropriately paired wine that she wouldn’t enjoy.  

Moving on to the desserts that were fantastic and the crescendo of the dinner.  We chose Tiramisu and a Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut filling.  They were both amazing, the Tiramisu perhaps the best I’ve ever had anywhere and the Chocolate Cake was moist, flavorful, not too rich, and the filling was fantastic.  

Tiramisu-and-Chocolate-Cake

Tiramisu-and-Chocolate-Cake

We had a terrific night out to celebrate my wife’s birthday thanks to Marie’s, Chef Mike, and our wait person Gina who is Chef Mike’s Daughter and has grown up in the restaurant .  Please give Marie’s a try when you’re in Western Montana or if you live near by please try it.  It’s a fantastic meal and experience, from my table to yours.  

WineGuyMike

Marie’s Italian Restaurant‎

4040 U.S. 93, Stevensville, MT 59870-6443

(406) 777-3681‎

Marie's Restaurant Map

Marie's Restaurant Map

Advertisements

Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.


Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

Perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers. A gentle sparkle brightens the friut and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits.

This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal.
Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sperkling wine

Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

 

The Saracco Moscato d’Asti wine is made by fermenting the juice in sealed, pressurized and temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This method of fermentation keeps the natural effervescence in the wine. The must is held in pressurized tanks for 60 days, then filtered repeatedly to stop fermentation.The tank method allows the naturally sparkling wine to be kept fresh until it is ordered, only then is it bottled to ensure the best possible wine in the glass.Moscato d’ Asti is highly aromatic with notes of fruit and white flowers, Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape. A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing.

The land of Moscato

Special lands for the white Moscato, extraordinary in quality and personality, the original growing area for Asti D.O.C.G. was officially delimited as from 1932. An extensive region made up of 53 Municipales in the Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo provinces has almost 10.000 hectares of vineyards dedicated to the white Moscato and is worked on by 6,800 wine growers.
In the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato hills, the vine is king and thrives in orderly, well looked after rows, making the southern Piemonte landscape unmistakable and unique.

Moscato D.O.C.G grape growing area

Moscato D.O.C.G grape growing area

Vineyards

Saracco Moscato Grapes

Saracco Moscato Grapes

Grapes were first cultivated in the hills surrounding Castiglione Tinella in the 1600’s. Throughout history many different grape varieties were planted but Moscato d’ Asti proved to be the perfect grape for this appellation.The vineyards belonging to the Saracco family are in a perfect microclimate for the grape Moscato d’ Asti, the soil is comprised of limestone mixed with sandy veins and the elevation provides just the right temperature and humidity balance. Vineyard management and strict control over the winemaking process all contributes to Paolo Saracco being referred to in the press as the “The Maestro of Moscato”.Just one valley away is the Monferrato ridge where Saracco started planting his Pinot Nero. The soil on this hill changes distinctly from the vineyards surrounding Casiglione Tinella, where Paolo grows his Moscato d’ Asti. It turns out that the site in Monferrato produces a lovely expression of Pinot Nero with just a hint of Piemontese.

Paolo Saracco

Paolo Saracco

History
Luigi Saracco, the great grandfather of Paolo began growing Moscato grapes in the early 1900’s. With each generation the legacy and commitment to quality continues.Paolo Saracco grew up in the vineyards and even at an early age he had a desire to make a wine with the family name. Upon completion of his Enological studies, Paolo began experimenting not only with new winemaking techniques, but also a more modern vineyard management style. The result has been consistent acclaim from the press, and more importantly his loyal customers.

The original Saracco logo had a portrait of a wolf because Luigi Saracco was known in the village of Castiglione Tinella as il Lupo or, The Wolf. He got the name when he was a young man. He would come home hungry after a hard day of work in the vineyards. If dinner wasn’t ready as soon has he arrived, he would walk around outside the house. He couldn’t stand being inside the house smelling the aromas and not be able to eat and he was too hungry to socialize. When the other villagers saw him pacing around smelling the air, they said “Look, there’s Saracco, the wolf.”

Every Saracco after Luigi has been known as “Lupetto” or son of the wolf.

Paolo decided to change his labels to reflect the delicate quality of his wines, but in his heart, and in his village, he is still known as “Lupetto”.

WineGuyMike

This is such an enjoyable wine to start a dinner off with friends or as a light dessert after dinner. When I think of Spring I think of something light and refreshing, this wine is it. Give it a try I know you will love it, from my table to yours.

WineGuyMike