Madeline Puckette of “Wine Folly,” captures the essences of Chianti with this quote;
Chianti smells and tastes like Italy.
The best examples of Chianti are a visceral tasting experience. Imagine the smells as you walk through an Italian grocery store: at the entrance there’s a bowl of preserved sour Amarena cherries. You walk under bunches of dried oregano, past a wall of dark, aromatic balsamic vinegar, then pass a counter where dry salami is being sliced. At the bar, dark espresso is dripping into a ceramic tazzo. A whisper of sweet tobacco wafts in the door from the pipe of the old man outside.
And then, of course, there is Italian cuisine. Who does not like a bowl of pasta, pizza, a hearty soup, or salami? Not to mention Italy’s extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Italy delivers pure ingredients at their best. Not necessarily fancy, actually often humble, peasant-like, but the flavors and quality bring delight and comfort to the soul.
This month the Italian Food, Wine, & Travel group is exploring Tuscan Wines of Chianti, and Its’ Neighbors. Some of the group, including myself, received samples of Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione and a bottle of estate extra virgin oil olive. Join our Twitter chat November 2, 2019, at 11:00 AM ET using the hashtag #ItalianFWT to follow and join the conversation.
Chianti Flavor Profile
Puckette, in her quote, describes the flavor profile of Chianti; Cherries, dried herbs, sweet balsamic, cured meats, espresso, and tobacco. A few other flavors you may detect in your glass of Chianti; raspberry, plum, cherry tomato, prune, truffles, mushroom, smoke, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, cedar, tar, and leather.
My Tasting Notes
2015 Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione
14% abv | $70.00 SRP (sample) | 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
The Ricasoli wine estate located in Gaiole, Chianti, with 1200 total hectares of land, 240 hectares of vineyards, and 26 hectares of olive groves. The estate has been in the Ricasoli family for over 500 years and is currently owned by Francesco Ricasoli. The family has ties to wine dating back to 1142.
Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is produced only in the best years. It is made from the best selection of estate vineyards of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The stony vineyards are south/southwest facing and are 250-450 meters above sea level.
Bright ruby in color. Medium-bodied with medium(+) acidity and medium fine tannins. Notes of black cherries, black currants, plums, spice, and vanilla. Well balanced with a lingering finish.
My Food Pairing
I paired the Ricasoli Chianti Classico with a traditional Italian soup, Pasta e Fagioli. The elements in the soup; tomatoes, earthy kale, velvety-textured cannellini beans, smoked bacon, Parmesan cheese, and a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil pairs perfectly with the black fruit notes, spices, good acidity, and fine tannins of the wine.
Pasta e Fagioli
- 8 oz. dried cannellini beans
- kosher salt
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large lee, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, coarsely chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/3+ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz. applewood smoked bacon, diced
- 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, roughly chopped
- 1-2 rinds Parmesan
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 8 oz. small pasta, such as ditalini
- finely grated Parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, and crusty bread for serving
- Soak the beans overnight in a large pot of water, cover with water by by 2 inches.
- Pulse the carrots, leek, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.
- In a large pot with a heavy bottom, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and season with salt and pepper, cook stirring often for about 4 minutes. The vegetables should be soft but not taking on any color. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, reduce the heat if the vegetables start to brown.
- Add the bacon and continue to cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every 5 minutes. The vegetables will start to brown in places and reduce in volume.
- Wrap the bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary in a piece of cheesecloth and secure it with kitchen string to make a sachet.
- Add the beans and their soaking liquid, tomatoes, kale; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the herb sachet and Parmesan rinds, reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until beans are tender, for 1-3 hours, depending on the size and age of the beans. Simmer the soup with the lid slightly askew, add more water or stock if you need to, keeping the beans submerged by 1 inch.
- Remove the Parmesan rinds and herb sachet.
- Cook pasta in a large pot, drain the pasta 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add the cooked pasta to the soup.
- To serve; divide among the soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Crusty bread for dunking.
Make sure to check out more adventures from the Italian Wine, Food, and Travel group on Tuscan Wines of Chianti, and Its’ Neighbors~
- A Taste of Tuscany’s Gran Selezione from Vino Travels
- A taste of Tuscany without leaving home by My Full Wine Glass
- Arugula and Shrimp Pizza with an Olive Oil Drizzle and a Ricasoli Chianti Classico by A Day in the Life on the
- Can’t Serve Chianti Without Olive Oil by L’Occasion
- Castello di Brolio Olio e Vino: Schiacciata all’Uva + 2015 Barone Ricasoli Chianti
Classico Gran Selezione from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Chianti Classico Reaches New Heights: Reflections on the 2019 Anteprima from Avvinare
- Exploring Castello di Brolio & On location pairings from the home of Chianti Classico
from Somm’s Table
- Garlic Broccoli Pasta with Italian Olive Oil from Cooking Chat
- Gran Selezione: Pinnacle of the Chianti Classico Ladder? from Food Wine Click
- Guazzetto Paired with Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio
from Enofylz Wine Blog
- New Discoveries On The Rich Tuscan Wine Map from Grapevine
- Ricasoli Chianti Paired with Tomatoes 3 Ways from Asian Test Kitchen
- Shrimp Marinara Wine Pairing . . . from Maremma Toscano #Italian FWT by Steven’s Wine and Food
- Tasting Tuscany: Tuna, Beans, EVOO, Chianti, Vermentino by Wine Predator
- Traditional Italian Soup Paired with Chianti Classico from Always Ravenous
- Tuscan Temptations: Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 2016 with Grilled Chicken
Sausage Ragu over Polenta Muffin from Grape Experiences