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What to Drink Now: Out of the Ordinary Italian with a Taste of Sassicaia

Italians are known for great art, high fashion, comforting food and incredible wine. The later part of this week Kobrand, an import and marketing company of fine wine and spirits, will welcome many great Italian wine makers to town for a trade tasting, along with a handful of wine dinners and consumer tastings, including a stunning dinner at Nosh with the legendary, award-winning winery, Sassicaia.  (I will update with addtional tasing opportunities when I hear of them.)

To get into the Italian mood I have been sampling a few options from throughout the country.  Here are a few stand outs, of which some have been sent for editorial consideration.

There is a new artisan Prosecco out called Voveti from created by the Ferrer family of Spain, best known for their Spanish Cavas, and the Collavini family of Italy.  Both family run wineries teamed together to create a sparkler that is sophisticated and with great finess, focusing on the freshness and vibrancy great Prosecco is known for.   Crafted with entertaining in mind, this is an ideal apperitif filled with golden apple, ripe peach and honeydew with a creamy texture and frothy mousse, and of course, lots of tiny bubbles.  

2010 Tomaresca Roycello Fiano, from the Antinori family, is a white wine produced in the Salento region of Puglia, or the boot of Italy.  Made from 100% Fiano, an aromatic, floral white grape that was once called Vitis Apiana because the grapes were so sweet they attracted bees (“api” in Italian.)  This is not a sweet wine though.  The straw colored wine is filled with wild flowers, honeysuckle and fresh fruit aromas with flavors of white peaches, white nectarines and green apple on the palate with balanced acidity.

Also from the Antinori family is the 2008 Il Bruciato Bolgheri DOC, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah with a touch of Italian varieties to keep its roots in check, this is not your typical blend.  From the Bolgheri Estate which stretches from the Tyrrhenian Sea inland for 2500 acres, it has a low alcohol percentage (13.5%) and is crafted from grapes not typically featured in Italian wine production, especially outside of Tuscany.  Soft and elegant with red fruit, licorice, and baking spices with subtle, silky tannins and a long finish.

From the Umbria region comes an incredible blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo, 2005 Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio from Lungarotti.  Produced only in the best vintages, this DOCG wine is barrique aged for 12 months, then bottled aged for 40 months, released about 4-5 years after its initial harvest, well beyond the 3 year requirement for DOCG appellations.   Though it will continue to get better with a little age, as it has known to have a life-span of up to 30 years when properly held, today it is a bold wine with great intensity and complexity, filled with black cherry, black plum and mocha with slight minerality.  Decanting will help open up the flavors and roundness, creating a great food wine, especially paired with roasted meats.

Sassicaia, “a place of many stones” in Italian, is known throughout the world as uncompromising, high quality Italian wine.  Created by Tentua San Guido on the outskirts of Tuscany, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc is barrique aged for 18-24 months, depending on the year, after the grapes have been hand picked, destemmed, crushed and fermented using only natural yeasts.  The flavors are not the norm you find in many Cabernet blends, with a somewhat heartier profile, filled with blackberry, black cherry, smoke and leather with just a hint of the tobacco and floral characteristics that are often associated with Cabernet Franc.  This is a special wine. Nosh is holding a wine dinner on Thursday, September 15th, featuring Sassicaia for $199 per person.  Reservations are required and seating is limited, for reservations call: 214-528-9400.  The menu includes:

Olive Oil Braised Halibut
roblochon potatoes, pistachios & meyer lemon
Pinot Grigio, Friuli Grave DOC

Goat Cheese & Arugula Gnocchi
braised pork belly
Bodega Chacra “ Barda “ Pinot Noir

Butter Poached Maine Lobster
rabbit confit, black trumpets & lobster jus
Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana, IGT

Braised Kobe Sirloin
parmesan polenta, ratatoulle & natural jus

Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia DOC

Chocolate Ganache Tart
candied pistachios, EVOO & flake salt
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana, IGT

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