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  • Gerri Sarnataro

Celebrate with Italian Red Wine! Part 3

red wine Montepulciano Tuscany Italy

On of the qualities which I love about the red wines from Tuscany is their versatility when pairing with food. The Sangiovese based Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are two prime examples. These wines generally have the structure to pair with roasted meats while having enough fruity flavors to be good with hard cheeses and charcuterie.

The Chianti Classico designated wines are more firm in their tannins making them the perfect choice for roasted or grilled meats, while the wines from the general Chianti DOC and its seven satellite regions are more fruit forward. Antinori, Castello di Brolio, Badia a Coltibuono, Vignamaggio and Castello di Fonterutoli are top Chianti Classico producers. If you see Villa St. Anna's Chianti Colli Senesi buy it!

The liberal blending policy of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano make them perfect for grilled meats as well as poultry dishes. Poliziano and Villa St. Anna are top producers of Vino Nobile. also look for Avignonesi.

Sagrantino di Montefalco is another amazing Italian red wine that is not as well-known as Brunello di Montalcino or Barolo but it is as complex and age worthy. Renowned as perhaps the most tannic wine in the world, Sagrantino's tannins are smooth rather than astringent. These deep wines feature dark fruit and herbal notes which comprise a unique package of sweet and savory flavors. The Montefalco DOC Rosso is actually based primarily on Sangiovese with Sagrantino playing a supporting role in these wines. Both of these wines will pair amazingly with a wild boar ragu. Look for Arnaldo Caprai, Antonelli, Colpetrone and my favorite Paolo Bea.

I suppose I had better stop here, otherwise this piece will turn into a book that no one has time to read! You can learn more about Italian wine first hand on Cucina della Terra's Wine Country and Cooking Tour. Last year we experienced 40 different wines over the course of the week, in winery tasting rooms, restaurants and paired with meals prepared during the cooking classes at the Cucina. If you have any questions about wines that I have mentioned here or any other wine feel free to post them as a comment and I will respond to it.

Enjoy this wonderful holiday season. Spread joy to your family and friends and absolute strangers.

--Greg Ricks

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