The Italian Winery and Enoteca in Napa Valley

When I’m asked who has the best deal for price as well as taste, I have to say CA’ Secco wine, a product of CA’ Momi winery and enoteca found in downtown Napa. Here is a place for strictly authentically Italian wine and foods to capture the Northern Italian style trattoria in a family environment. There, you can select takeout or sit down service, all accompanied by the wonderful Italian styled wines of Ca’ Momi.


Valentina Guolo-Migotto, co-owner

CA’ Momi, a relatively new winery and restaurant located in the Oxbow Market Place in downtown Napa, is strictly Italian, authentically Italian, and let’s not leave out, deliciously Italian. In fact, owners Valentina Guolo-Migotto and winemaker Dario De Conti have gone to a lot of trouble to transport their culture from Italy to the world’s best wine making region, Napa, all on a hunch. A hunch that they could have a better life, make fabulous wine, connect with their constituency, and have a future.

That says a lot about America. We listen to many stories about the decline of the American economy and subsequent way of life, but according to Valentina and Dario, the uprooting of their family and way of life in Italy was worth everything they had to go through. They still feel, even now, after being here first as a winery since 2006, and then a restaurant since 2010, that their chances for success are far superior here in the Napa Valley than in their native land of Italy.

Many wineries when starting out, choose to go the route of land, crops and winery production. Owners Valentina and Dario decided to make their authentic Italian food the focal point, and promote their wines by pairing them with authentically prepared recipes, and wines made by CEO and winemaker Dario De Conti. Every recipe is an authentic Italian recipe handed down by either generations of being in the family. Although there is a minimum of grape growing going on with CA’ Momi the majority of wines are made by carefully selected premium grapes grown in the Napa Valley, and then carefully crafted by experienced Italian wine maker Dario De Conti.

We opened up our tasting with a selection by Dario di Conti, the Ca’Secco.

Ca’ Secco is a fun, light and refreshing Frizzant , a soft sparkling wine with fruit and flower notes and a hint of minerality that makes it incredibly easy to drink, especially when served very cold. The hints of a light lemon zest with accents of stone fruit from the apricot family make this wine something to keep on hand for those unexpected visitors. The zesty mouth feel comes from the unusual mix of grapes: chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Gewürztraminer, and muscat which the winemaker fermented a second time in pressured temperature controlled tanks, where it comes sparkling before bottling. It was a nice way to open up our gathering, as we were about to taste a lot of really wonderful Italian food.

Ca' Secco, sparkling Frizzant

Ca’ Secco, sparkling Frizzant

Ca’ Momi Enoteca is one of the few Italian restaurants in the country that is VPN certified, meaning it specializes in truly authentic Pizza Napoletana. Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) is an organization that certifies the authenticity of Pizza Napoletana.With an emphasis on very few ingredients, this simple pizza is cooked at 900 degrees for 90 seconds. This certification is given to pizzerias who meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of the Neapolitan pizza making. This means when you taste Pizza Napoletana at the Enoteca, you are enjoying pizza,  exactly how it would taste  as if you were in Naples.

Ca' Momi wines - Ca' Rosa and Ca' Secco

Ca’ Momi wines – Ca’ Rosa and Ca’ Secco

“We use premium, locally-sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.  We support and work with local purveyors for the fresh and perishable ingredients,  and we import Italian products when possible and available,” said Valentina.   “Our goal is to grow our business ethically and mindfully while offering the highest quality authentic Italian foods.”

Our visit there was about sampling the highlights of the menu paired with Ca’ Momi wines. Our first presentation was the Misto, a selection of house cured meats paired with a selection of cheeses, and fresh, marinated artichoke hearts.

This was beautifully paired with a 2012 Bianco di Napa. Perfectly chilled, this fruit forward flavor profile had the warmth of a light, creamy vanilla fruit friendly chardonnay accented with orange blossoms and lemon as it served as the perfect accompaniment to the cured meats. The freshly marinated artichokes that accompanied the meats were a triangular point the pairing, offering an additional taste of antipasti to the strictly Italian presentation.


Dario de Conti with house cured meats

Dario de Conti with house cured meats

We were next served the authentic Pizza Napoletana, a 3 ingredient pizza made of cheese, tomato sauce and basil. This was cooked quickly for 90 seconds in a 900 degree oven, to insure that it met all VPN qualifications. The delicious cheese was a Mozzarella du Buffalo imported from Italy, and the tomatoes were from Mount Vesuvio, the volcano located behind Naples.  The resulting flavor of the pizza was tender, not crispy, but a little bit moist due to the moisture in the ingredients, and deliciously flavorful, especially when paired with the 2010 Rosso di Napa, a bright strawberry and raspberry blend of reds with a velvety texture and full mouth feel.

Pizza Margherita, served with Ca' Momi Rosso di Napa

Pizza Margherita, served with Ca’ Momi Rosso di Napa

Next on this incredible taste test through Italy was the Insalata Pantesca con Polipo. Consisting of a warm salad with octopus as the star, surrounded by Yukon gold potatoes with cherry tomatoes, taggliasca olives, capers, red onion and parsley in a white wine vinaigrette we paired again with the 2012 Pinot Grigo. This pinot was strong and silky, all at the same time, rich in aromas of almond, orange rind, tangerines, apple, pear, peach, lavender and violet. Tones of citrus, melon and honey are balanced by an acidity that makes this a crisp and delightful wine. This was served as an accompaniment to the main course still to come, but you could eat that as a meal in itself.

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Insalata Pantesca con Polipo

Next we had the Spezzatino and Polenta paired with 2011 Ca’ Momi Zinfandel. The Bianco di Napa beef stew consisting of a slow roasted, soft, melt- in- your-mouth tender beef, with an organic tomato sauce surrounding a well of creamy, organic polenta was deliciously savory with a full mouth feel. A full mouth feel for the stew, just like a full mouth feel for the beautiful rich berry, black cherry and bramble berry that you tasted in this Ca’ Momi  zinfandel. This is a lovely wine, all berries and spice. It captures a full mid palate with a long rich finish. While it captures the imagination of a faithful Italian ancestry, it also captures the great fruit and aromatic richness of the Napa Valley zinfandel grape. The combination was rich and slightly glorious and had we wandered in to this enoteca with no help at all, sans guidance, we would have been satisfied to have stumbled upon only  this stew beautifully paired with such a beautiful zinfandel.

Spezzatino and Polenta, with Ca' Momi Zinfandel

Spezzatino and Polenta, with Ca’ Momi Zinfandel

Burrata and Verdure Arroste

Burrata is a typical product of the Murgie in Puglia, a region in the south of Italy. It is produced from Italian buffalo’s or cow’s milk, rennet and cream. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar. It is usually served fresh, at room temperature. This burrata, as you can see in the photo, was served along side beautifully roasted fresh veggies, such as onions, mushroom, carrots, peppers, and various sprouts. The mouthfeel of the combination was rich and fulfilling, especially for vegetarians, when in fact, it was a healthy and balanced meal.

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Burrata and Verdure Arroste

The Gnuddi

This tender bite of  spinach gnocci with a bellwether jersey ricotta, seasoned with butter, sage and parmigiano reggiano  paired beautifully with the 2010 Rosso di Napa, a blend of reds with strawberry and raspberry flavors with a velvety texture and full mouth feel.  Its fruit forward flavors blended beautifully with the velvety cheese of the spinach gnocci.

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The Gnuddi

The Spaetzle Allo Speck

Just as we began begging for mercy, they brought out the Spaetzle Allo Speck. This delicious, flavorful pasta consisted of flour dumplings sautéed with chopped speck and cream. I needed to find a good definition of what speck is, because we don’t use it that much in American cuisine. According to the website, speck is an Italian cured, smoked meat native to the Alto Adige, a region that straddles Northern Italy and Southern Austria. To make speck, a boned pork leg is cured in salt, and spices like laurel and juniper, then intermittently slow-smoked, using pine or juniper wood for several months. It tastes like a spicy ham, or pancetta. It is a deep red  color with heavily marbled traces of fat, speck is served thinly sliced as an appetizer, or used in to flavor cooked dishes. Note that speck from Alto Adige or Tyrol, which enjoys a protected designation of origin, should not be confused with the German usage of the word, which refers to lard.

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Spaetzle Allo Speck

This was a delicious regional dish which was a standout. We moved into drinking the Ca’Momi Chardonnay, a luscious wine with intense pineapple, tropical fruit, citrus and pear. Complex touches of butterscotch balanced a bright acidity with a long oaky and buttery finish.

Ca' Momi Chardonnay

Ca’ Momi Chardonnay

The large restaurant is decorated with a barebones but trendy look, featuring polished concrete floors, a beautiful bar, large shopping area for takeout , numerous areas for friends to congregate and find a nice place to sit down and order. We had a wonderful time, drank great Italian wine, with greatly committed owners and at great Italian food. Who could ask for more?

By Mike and Ellen Walsh