By Dwight Casimere
Photos: Donna Binbeck
Center -Giacomo Pondini, Dir. of the Consorzio Tutela a Vino Morellino di Scansano DOCG
Right-Silvia Copetti-Consorzio Tutela Vini Montecucco
Eataly's La Scuola was the setting for a journey of discovery into the wines of Montecucco and Morellino di Scansano from the unique territory of Maremma, Tuscany's "undiscovered" region. The area, along the southern coast of Tuscany, has long been a prime agricultural area, long recognized for producing quality Sangiovese grapes, the king of Italian wine grapes. The Mediterranean character of the region make for ideal conditions for growing grapes and making wines.
The Sangiovese grape is the unifying factor of Montecucco and Morellino di Scansano. How it is interpreted by winemakers in the two growing regions is a lesson in how the nuances of terroir and the art of the winemaker can express the unique characteristics of the wines produced in these two distinct territories within Maremma. It is a tale of two wine regions, told through the unifying voice of the Sangiovese grape.
Twelve wines were presented with a four course luncheon prepared by La Scuola Chef Adam Weissell. Borrowing heavily on his personal culinary experience in the Tuscan region.
Each course was served with a grouping of wines that were complimentary.
Menu items included; Pumpkin Sformato with Red Wine-Braised Lentils, Gorgonzola and Marjoram, Risotto "Sotto Bosco" with Porcini Mushrooms and Fresh Currants, Roasted Pork Loin with Carrots, Red Cabbage and Pan Sauce, followed by Fall Fruit and Hazelnut Cream Tart with Caramel Sauce
As terrific as the food was, it was the wine that took center stage, as presented by the heads of the Consorzios Tutela Montecucco and Morellino di Scansano.
Daniele Rosellini-Owner of Campi Nuovi-Montecucco with La Sculoa Chef Adam Weissell
Ribusieri Chiaranotte Montecucco Vermentino DOC 2014 was the first wine to be presented with the first course of pumpkin sformato with red wine-braised lentils, gorgonzola and marjoram. This was a true savory dish that captured the flavors of autumn. The wine presented itself with a great deal of elegance and subtlety. It was very complete in every way. At $12 a bottle, it has a great deal to speak for it at that price point, It's certainly a must at the table as the fall and holiday season advances upon us. Fattoria Mantellassi MENTORE Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2014-$15 is in search of an importer. It's a pity its not available now, because this was another stunning wine that worked well with fall flavors.
Terre Di Fiori Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2014-$16 is on the wine lists at a number of top Italian restaurants in New York and Chicago and is available at Eataly and other fine wine shops. With its flavors of ripe red strawberries and tart raspberries with a touch of balsamic and fresh sage, this is a vibrant example of how lively a Sangiovese can be. Complex flavors of black cherries and a hint of licorice hang in the background, giving a hint of the winemaker's artful aging process in large oak casks. This is a wine that loves being at the table with food.
The next course of Risotto "Sotto Bosco" with porcinis and currants is an Eataly favorite, and just the right flavor combination with a fruity Sangiovese wine.
Risotto "Sotto Bosco" with Porcini Mushrooms and Fresh Currants
WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS
Colle Massari Montecucco Rosso Riserva 2012-$35 is a beautifully balanced wine full of black fruit and spice that fills the mouth without being too powerful. Its great with risotto and mushrooms and even more at home with Roast Pork Loin. Aging for 2 years in fine oak barrels brings out all of the spice notes that make this a truly great wine for any fine meal.