Ciao a tutti!
The next Vintages release in LCBO stores (Oct 25) features a nice section of Tuscany wines. From Montalcino to Chianti Classico, all towns and areas should be very familiar to you, if you traveled with me in Tuscany. My favourites:

– Livio Sassetti Brunello 2007 on page 4. A work of art. 2007 is also one of the best vintages of this decade. Ready to drink if you (like me) appreciate a bit more tannins over lusciousness. (remember to use more olive oil in your food to balance tannins!).  Roasted meats, wild boar and polenta. Slow cooked pork ribs.

– Fiat Cinquecento ‘500’ on page 6…oops…that is a car…but I love it! Did you know that was my father’s first car? He purchased a brand new white one in 1965 to celebrate my coming into the world. 500,000 lire, he said, 10 months of his salary (railroad engineer).  500,000 lire is 250 euros today, or about CAD$350!

– Of the two Chianti Classico featured I prefer the Badia a Passignano Antinori. A new world style Chianti with lots of cherry and plum jammy flavours. If you go back to Tuscany, visit this Badia (Abbey), similar to the Badia a Coltibuono we visited during our Tuscany itinerary. Cheese platter with dried figs, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.

– For a lower price point, Morellino di Scansano is always a good buy. The Roggiano comes from a cooperative, however very well made.  Minestrone (denser version, like ribollita), rabbit with rosemary slow-cooked. Or even a fish steak (like halibut or swordfish) in a fresh cherry tomato and pinenuts sauce. I like to use oregano in this recipe. (The town of Scansano is in Maremma, near the sea!)

– For a flavour of a Piemontese winemaking in Toscana, try the Gaja Ca’ Marcanda. This and wines like Luce and Ornellaia, if you have a more ample budget to ‘sacrifice’, for my taste, are wines ready to drink. At least acidity and tannins are still there to balance the immense softness and ‘juices’ of these beauties. I usually enjoy this style of wine without food, however they work well with venison, turkey breast, rabbit (drier meats, since the juices of the wines are what you need). Of course for the sauces and condiments you need lots of aromas, herbs, pungent and aromatic spices (not too hot), perhaps a touch of balsamic vinegar. I would avoid tomato-based sauces. I’d rather go with a reduction with aromatic liquor. And don’t be afraid about olive oil. EVER.