Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chianti Classico – Castello di Monastero 2001

We tried a new wine this week. Produced by Lionello Marchesi under his label Castello di Monestero this wine exemplifies how different Chianti Classico can be from the various vineyards. We made pizza, bread and everything, the other night. Our pizza is very different than what you would normally consider pizza, very thick crust, fluffy, with our own red sauce as a base and lots and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese.

The toppings included red peppers, skins removed, and sausage. We usually make our own but this late in the season we purchase Bratwurst. We choose Bratwurst because “Italian Sausage” in the US has fennel, something that is not part of northern Italian sausage. It does not have Parmesan in it but close enough.

Chianti would be perfect. Chianti has just enough tannins, earthy tones, and a well rounded taste. After our usual aperitivo we opened the Chianti. A glass before the pizza comes out of the oven would be perfect. The cork is high quality, soft and pliable, with just a hint of the wine but not saturated. Pouring the wine revealed a limpid ruby red color.

We touch our glasses and a quite sip. We immediately looked at each other, eyes wide with surprise as a smile came over our faces. Rarely are we surprised by a wine, the flavor was incredible. I exclaimed, “Ciocolato”, and Raffaella finished the sentence, “e More”, translated that is “Chocolate and Black Berries!”

It was an explosion of flavor and the finish was very smooth. Only a very slight hint of tannins on the first glass at the very end without the dryness that accompanies structured wines. It was fine with our pizza but we discussed various plates throughout dinner. Our consensus is that this would be perfect with a dessert such as Tiramisu or Chocolate Mousse, a perfect balance for a Porcini Mushroom dish, and great as a sipping wine with a cigar.

The technical information on this wine is:

Grape: 85% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and Cabernet.

Alcohol: 13-13.5%

Serving Temperature: 18 degrees c.

Decanting: The producer suggests 1 hour before drinking. We did not wait that long, in fact the entire bottle did not last that long. It was great.

Notes: This wine is great with Mushrooms, desserts, mature fruits, and just marvelous alone with a piece of bread and a cigar.


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Blogger Tracie B. said...

you know, i have yet to see fennel in any sausage, although i have heard that it exists in specific regions.

is too early for an apperitivo? :)

7:10 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

The areas where I have found fennel are Abruzzo, Sicilia, some parts of Puglia, and some parts of Reggio Calabria.

Interesting how a small portion of Italy has defined what Italian should be.

It is never too early for an apperitivo as the Friulani can attest, a bianchino in the morning goes really well.

When I would take the bus to Milan every morning at 5:30 to work I would "correct" my coffee with either grappa or cognac! It really keeps you warm on those cold and foggy mornings. Then in the afternoon a "China Calda"

3:51 PM


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