Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Chimera classica

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Dropped by the neighbourhood SAQ in search of a Sangiovese to go with spaghetti al pesto rosso (recipe after the jump) and walked out with this. Though I would have preferred a more reserved wine, it did stand up well to the bold flavours of the pasta.

Chianti Classico 2009, Castello di Volpaia ($22.85, 10858262)
100% organically farmed Sangioveto (aka Sangiovese) according to the estate’s website and the Quebec agent; others say it contains 10% Merlot and Syrah. Whatever the variety, the grapes come from the estate’s own vineyards, the highest in altitude in the Chianti region, and are destemmed and lightly crushed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts for two weeks, with twice daily punching down. Macerated on the skins for a further ten days. After malolactic fermentaion, the wine is transferred to large Slavonian oak barrels for 14 months’ aging. 13.5% ABV.
Reticent and slightly reductive on opening. Begins to open after half an hour in the carafe. The nose is dominated by earth, graphite, old wood and green tobacco aromas; the tangy red fruit –  mainly cherry – is very much in the background.
Rich on the attack. The sweet, ripe fruit is immediately apparent but soon countered and eventually subsumed by bright acidity, light but firm tannins, a basso continuo astringency and a crescendoing bitternness that lasts though the long, very dry, cigar boxy finish. Gains weight, smoothness and a New World-like character (driving fruit, noticeable oak, superficial intensity) as it breathes, though the finish remains unmistakeably Italian. A chimera.

Spaghetti al pesto rosso

Adapted from a recipe in Patricia Wells’ Trattoria, which Wells adapted from a restaurant in Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda.

Start by making the pesto rosso. In the bowl of a food processor, place 10 sun-dried tomatoes, 1 plump fresh garlic clove degermed and minced, 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red chiles (or more to taste), 4 tablespoons fruity olive oil, about 20 pitted black olives (I use a mix of infornata, brined Gaeta and a few oil-cured Moroccan), 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme and 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves. Process until lightly emulsified but still coarse. Yield: about 125 ml (1 cup).

Cook 450 g (1 lb) spaghetti until al dente. In a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with the pesto rosso and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Serve immediately with more cheese for grating.

3–4 servings

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Written by carswell

October 11, 2012 at 21:56

Posted in Recipes, Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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  1. […] Sangiovese di Romagna 2011, Scabi, San Valentino ($18.00, 11019831) The 28-hectare estate is located just inland from Ramini, on Italy’s Adriatic coast. 100% Sangiovese from decade-old vines. Manually harvested, destemmed, macerated at low temperature for eight days then fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Half the wine is matured in stainless steel and half in second-fill oak barrels for six months. Sulphur is added only at bottling. 14% ABV. Dired cherry, spice, background leather, turned earth and terracotta and a kirschy high note. Velevty texture. Fruit forward but not a bomb, thanks in part to the coursing acidity. Dark minerals and just a hint of oak add depth. Fine tannins lend an astringent edge to the finish. The best vintage of this wine to date and a definite QPR winner. (Buy again? Yep.) > Handled the crazy delicious pork liver mousse better than any other wine in the flight. Ditto the chile-spiced sausages, probably due to its juicy fruit. Still, this food-friendly wine is arguably even better suited to fare like grilled meats and vegetables and savoury, tomato-based pasta dishes (spaghetti with meat ragu or pesto rosso). […]

  2. […] and that, if opened now, it should be carafed or double-carafed an hour or two. A fine match for spaghetti with pesto rosso and a plate of sliced prosciutto. (Buy again? A bottle or two to continue investigating WTF is up […]


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