SPQR restaurant on Fillmore Street in San Francisco was the perfect setting for a luncheon of Sicilian food and wines led by the charming and down to earth Alessio Planeta, manager and owner with his sister Francesca and his brother Santi of the family company Planeta.
Chef Matthew Accarrino and Sommelier and Italian wine expert Shelley Lindgren are the dream team behind this popular Roman-inspired trattoria, and the family style menu, which hit it out of the park with every dish. My all time favorite was the seductive, earthy squid ink mezze maniche with sepia, gulf shrimp, san marzano tomato and wild arugula, which paired beautifully with the 2014 Planeta Etna Bianco, a wine made with 100% of the local Carricante grape.
Palm Bay International organized the tasting, which coincided with the release of the family's new cookbook, "Sicilia - The Cooking of Casa Planeta," and both the ever-gracious Bethany Burke as well as Palm Bay's new Master Sommelier, Brian Cronin were on hand to take us through the wines and dishes.
Alessio told us, "Sicily was the center of the world. Now it is the center of the problems." Sicily has had its share of difficulties in producing fine quality wine in the past, and an easy market for bulk and inexpensive wine - which was the "energy" of the workers. Etna and other parts of Sicily were a big producer. With the support and vision of a handful of multi-generational families including Planeta and Donnafugata's Rallo family, things are rapidly changing.
Check out our Planeta wine reviews here: