I am in this mood. Foods that I haven’t cooked for years, I am now craving like pot roast. Rituals that got squeezed out of my routine are back, like Sunday Suppers at the table with family. It seems over the last three months, many of us have more time to think, daydream, and indulge in hobbies. I have enjoyed cooking with more leisure (time) and less stress. My way to travel under these restricted conditions is tasting wines from different regions of the world. Where have I been lately? Central Italy in Tuscany tasting Sangiovese. Can you guess what I paired with my Tuscan Sangiovese? You guessed it, pot roast!
This month the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group are traveling (virtually) to Italy, exploring the different regions that produce wines made from the Sangiovese grape. Join us on Twitter for our chat, Saturday, June 6th, at 11:00 AM ET using hashtag #ItalianFWT to follow the conversation. Curious about what the other Italian Food, Wine, and Travel writers discovered? Check out their articles at the end of this post.
Sangiovese is Italy’s most planted red grape variety. It is indigenous to Central Italy, and Tuscany is known to produce some of the most excellent wines made from the Sangiovese variety. I tasted three different styles of Tuscan Sangiovese; Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino.
Chianti is located in the Tuscan foothills of the Apennines Mountains between Pisa, Florence, and Siena. Sangiovese is the dominant grape variety producing wines with high acidity and tannins. It is a late-ripening grape that thrives in the warm climate of Chianti. Chianti Classico DOCG wines are produced from vineyards at higher altitudes prolonging the ripening and resulting in wines with higher acidity and more herbal aromas. The Chianti Classico DOCG wines must be 80% Sangiovese but can include 20% of other approved varieties ( Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) grown within the Classico borders.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is located in southern Tuscany, about 75 miles southeast of Florence. Here the Sangiovese clone is Prugnolo Gentile. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG wines must contain between 70-100% Sangiovese. The remaining 30% can be a blend of traditional varieties (Canaiolo, Mammolo, Trebbiano, and Gamay) or international varieties (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah). The vineyards are at lower altitudes than in Chianti with a warmer climate, however cool maritime breezes can moderate the temperatures. The wines are more intense and fuller-bodied and as compared to wines from Chianti. The style of Vino Nobile stands between Chianti Classico for elegance and finesse and Brunello di Montalcino for structure and power.
Brunello di Montalcino is located 70 miles south of Florence and to the west of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sangiovese is king, and the clone is Brunello. The wines here must be 100% Sangiovese. The climate is warmer and drier than in Chianti, but the region benefits from cool maritime breezes from the southwest. Because of the more temperate drier weather, the Sangiovese grapes ripen to their fullest extent resulting, in fuller and more structured wines. The best of Brunello wines balance the red fruit, bold structure, and finesse.
2015 Viticcio Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva
13.5% abv | $30.00 Wine.com| 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Syrah
Vineyards: Soils are clay with alberese and colombino stone. Vines are 5-30 years old. The density of plantings is 4000-7000 per hectare.
Harvest: The grapes are manually harvested. The Merlot and Syrah grapes are picked in the last week of September and the Sangiovese the first week of October.
Vinification: Fermentation at 26-30º C in stainless steel and maceration for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in both wood and stainless steel.
Aging: In barriques of 225 and 300 liters for 12 months and large Slavonian oak barrels for about eight months
Medium ruby in color. Aromas of cherry, toast, plum, dried herbs, leather, and pepper. On the palate, dry, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, medium body, and medium alcohol. Flavors of cherries, dried herbs, toast, plum, and earth.
2015 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG
13.5% abv | $35.00 Wine.com | 85% Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile, with the remainder Colorino, Canaiolo, and Mammolo
Vineyards: Alluvial and sandy calcareous soils with silt, clay, and stony structure between the layers depending on altitude. The average planting density is 6,500 per hectare.
Harvest: The grapes are manually harvested.
Vinification: Fermentation is in oak vats, reaching no more than two-thirds of their capacity. Indigenous yeast is used for fermentation with controlled temperatures from 28-30º C, lasting for about a week.
Aging: In Allier or Slavonian oak casks ranging in size from 5 to 35 hectoliters . Malolactic fermentation takes place while in the oak casks. Maturation lasts for 18 to 24 months. The wine is aged for several months in the bottle before it’s release to the market.
Medium ruby in color. Aromas of cherry, plum, raspberry, toast, and earth. On the palate, dry, medium(+) acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and medium tannins. Flavor notes of cherry, raspberry, vanilla, cedar, and dried herbs. Silky tannins with a lingering finish.
2014 Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
13.5% abv | $65.00 Wine.com | 100% Sangiovese
Vineyards: Mostly silt-sand soils with some clay on sandstone and calcareous marl.
Harvest: The Sangiovese is harvested in the fourth week in October.
Vinification: A twenty-day maceration in stainless steel at controlled temperatures of 28-30º C. While in stainless steel, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Aging: The wine is aged for 36 months in 500-liter french oak barrels and 60-hectoliter Slavonian oak casks – an additional 12 months of aging in the bottle before the wine is released to the market.
Medium ruby in color. Aromas of cherry, baked plum, blackberry preserves, vegetal, cherry tomato, earth, and leather. On the palate, dry, medium(-) acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and medium tannins. Flavors of macerated cherry, cooked plum, cherry tomato, tobacco leaf, and leather. Juicy with a long lingering finish.
My food craving and pairing with Sangiovese might have been a boar roast if I were in Italy. Instead, it was a pot roast made with beef, but with an Italian twist. The fall-apart tender roasted beef (“stracotto” in Italy) is an ideal pairing with the higher tannins of Sangiovese. The wine’s high acidity, medium body, fruity, and savory characteristics match the pot roast’s elements of acidic tomatoes, savory herbs, and earthy vegetables. Honestly, what could be more comforting than pot roast and a glass of Tuscan Sangiovese.
Italian Style Beef Pot Roast
- 3 lbs. tri-tip beef
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, slices
- 1 cup leeks, white and light green part only, sliced
- 1-1/2 cup celery, sliced
- 1-1/2 cup carrots, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 3 cups full bodied red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons each of thyme, sage, and oregano, minced
- serve with mashed potatoes and sautéed shiitake mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Trim the meat of any fat. Season with salt and pepper.In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sear the meat on all sides. Remove the meat to a platter and add the onions, leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook the vegetables over medium heat until onions are translucent and the vegetables have taken on a golden color.
- Return the beef to the pot and add red chile flakes, red wine, beef broth, tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2-1/2 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart.
- Remove the meat from the pot and strain the liquid from the vegetables. Set the vegetables aside and return the strained liquid to the pot. Skim off any fat on top of the liquid.
- Over high heat reduce the liquid by about one-third. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed. Return the meat and vegetables to the pot and warm throughly.
- Slice the meat and serve in shallow bowls with vegetables and the reduced sauce. Sautéed shiitake mushrooms and mashed potatoes as sides.
More Sangiovese adventures with the Italian Food, Wine and Travel Group~
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing Piadina Margherita + Bucci Piceno Pongelli 2014.
- Terri of Our Good Life served up Spatchcocked Chicken And Sangiovese.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass is talking about “A taste of Tuscany to chase away the pandemic blues”
- Susannah of Avvinare is “Exploring Sangiovese di Romagna.”
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is sharing “Sangiovese by another name…like Morellino or Prugnolo Gentile.”
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is visiting “5 Sangiovese, 4 terroir, 3 producers, 2 regions, 1 country”
- Cindy of Grape Experiences is sharing “Tuscan Wine and Food Classics: Ruffino Chianti Superiore 2017 and Paglia e Fieno (Straw & Hay)”
- Jane of Always Ravenous is tempting us with “Tasting Tuscan Sangiovese Paired with Comforting Pot Roast”
- Katrina of The Corkscrew Concierge is Exploring Sangiovese – Rosso di Montalcino Paired with a Summer Classic
- Katarina of Grapevine Adventures is talking about Tuccanese – A Sangiovese From a Pugliese Perspective
- Nicole of Somm’s Table is sharing three B’s with us today “Brunello, a Book, and a Boston Butt: Frescobaldi CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino with Italian Braised Pork
- Jennifer of Vino Travels says “Montecucco: Tuscany’s Hidden Gem featuring Colli Massari”
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm thinks A Sangiovese by any other name is still a Dang Good Wine.