Wine of the Month
Featured Wine: Pian delle Vigne Antinori Rosso di Montalcino
Grape Variety: 100% Sangiovese
Production Zone: Tuscany, Italy
Vinification: Grapes are de-stemmed, receive a delicate pressing and then are transferred to stainless steel fermentation tanks for 8-10 days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aging: After malolactic fermentation is finished, the wine is transferred to oak casks for seven months.
Color: Beautiful deep purple/maroon
Price: Around $25
I have another lovely wine for you to enjoy – Pian delle Vigne. It comes with a bit of a story; well, an experience. As much as I love cooking, I do get tired of it, especially the cleaning up part. It is frustrating here in the mountains when I cannot always get the desired ingredients, things like fish of any kind, and the restaurants here are forever disappointing. As I knew I was headed to Los Angeles, I decided to invite Pian delle Vigne Rosso along for the ride. There was no way I couldn’t find some perfect foods for pairing in this vast city.
By luck, a new Italian restaurant, Bacetti, had opened up across the street from where I was staying in Echo Park. I checked out the menu, tasted Pian delle Vigne, and was thrilled with both. I felt convinced there were multiple items that would pair wonderfully. As I love to research, my friend and I ate there one night, and we tried all of the items I thought would pair well, but wanted to make sure they were good. Guess what? They were.
My first experience at this restaurant was so wonderful, I wish I would’ve brought the wine that visit, but I didn’t want to annoy my friend with my forever taking notes, talking to myself, etc.
I returned on a Sunday, and only outdoor seating was available. Alas, the mosquitoes have been insane, so I asked to get the food to go and spare myself.
The host let me know he would need to speak with the chef, as the one dish I wanted to take with me (Kanpaccio) “didn’t travel well.” I assured him, I needed only to cross the street and would begin eating, but he checked with the chef. “The Chef says no, and he wants to save these plates so there is enough for dinner service.” “What? I am dinner service,” is what I thought, but decided to sit down outside. My food began to arrive rather quickly because there were very few customers. I fell in love all over again with the Kanpaccio – an amberjack carpaccio (fish) in a light salsa Verde. It is so good and exactly what I wanted to pair with the wine, along with a Caesar salad that had delicious crispy pieces of anchovy, and a rib eye steak. Was I overzealous about the Kanpaccio? Yes. I ordered another. The chef refused.
Honestly, I was so stunned, I almost felt like crying. I cancelled the rest of my order, paid and left. As I crossed the street, I felt like I was in another world, a world of crazy egos and food that was good but not worthy of disrespecting a customer. (Is anything?) It made me wish I still wrote restaurant reviews in Los Angeles.
Okay, now let us get to this beautiful representation of a 100% Sangiovese wine from Tuscany. A simple chill is nice – half an hour in the refrigerator is perfect, and it doesn’t hurt to decant this wine or let it breathe for a bit, but it’s not necessary. If I had been able to enjoy everything I wanted to order, it would’ve paired brilliantly with all. Don’t let this dark and lovely purplish/maroon color dissuade you from fish. It is a match for so much. The nose is full of those familiar rich Italian aromas of earth and ripe plum but also spice, red currant, dark chocolate and a touch of leather.
Take a sip and the acid spreads out, not too much but a fair amount, slowly dispersing leaving this jammy fresh berry, tart cherry, chocolate and plum, with long and medium tannins for the finish. The ripe plum, tart cherry and chocolate really linger. Although you are fine to sip this without food, it is much better with food. The creamy Caesar dressing with the anchovy was a wonderful partner for this medium bodied wine, as the acidity of the wine balanced the rich dressing.
The Kanpaccio too went so well – the salsa Verde and the dense fish all really complimented the Pian delle Vigne and vice versa. When I think of this wine, I think of one of the best meals I’ve had in my life in Tuscany; a Filet Mignon cooked rare with Pistachio sauce and fried smelts. This wine, plus that meal – the greasiness of the deep-fried fish, the rareness of the meat, and the creaminess of the sauce were all wonderful companions to this 100% Sangiovese wine. Oh, and yes, this wine pairs so well with dessert, especially a chocolate cake. The fruit of the wine, the acid, with the sweet…heaven!
Hmmmm, let’s just say you should pair this wine as far away from Echo Park as you can. Just kidding! Sort of. But it’s definitely better to be less roasting in a heatwave with mosquitoes and more at a comfortable temperature. Back here in Flagstaff, fall is coming and the days are breezy and cloudy. For your soundtrack, why not the yelling of an egotistical chef??? Okay, I am over it. Instead, why not the sounds of friends taking turns cooking and just the lovely murmurs of loved ones in the kitchen and friends cheering as each new dish of salad, seafood and rare beef is planted on the table.
This is a lovely representation of a Tuscan wine, although there are many that come from this region, few are so satisfying.