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The Cellar: Food + Wine Pairings

Friday, March 02, 2012

 

This week we are exploring two wines; one somewhat unusual and one as traditional as they come, both of which shine by themselves and when served with food. For this we travel – not surprisingly - to Portugal and Italy where food and wine is an integrate part of daily life and have long traditions of being paired in delicious ways.

2009 Esporao Reserva Alentejo, Portugal

Portuguese white wines are becoming increasingly popular with American wine consumers. The producer of this week’s first wine, the famed Herdade Do Esporão Estate, has had a significant role in this development, as it has a long track record of bringing inexpensive and delicious wines to our shores – often introducing us to new and interesting varietals in the process.

The 2009 Esporao Reserva is an white blend from the Herdade Do Esporão Estate made from the indigenous varietals Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro. The deep, full-bodied and flavorful wine has undergone new oak aging, which has imparted significant toasty flavors complimenting the green fruit and noteworthy acidity. In terms of pairing it with food it is a very flexible white. Similar to a Californian Chardonnay, this wine goes great with various types fish and even lighter prepared meats. I had it with homemade Talapia Tacos with red onions, avocados, cilantro, jalapeños and fresh lime – delish!

2009 Toscana Rosso di Altesino, Montalcino, Italy

This week’s next pairing is more traditional – an Italian duo if you will, but with an international flair. The wine is the 2009 Rosso Di Altesino made by the Altesino winery, an iconic producer of Sangiovese based

wines located in the heart of southern Tuscany. The main building of the 200 acre Estate sits on an 800 year old piece of history – still surrounded by its original walls. Acquired and modernized by entrepreneurs in the early 1970’s, the winery has since been purchased by the Gnudi Angelini family who has been making its wines, among them their flagship Brunello di Montalchino, since 2002.

The grapes in the 2009 Rosso Di Altesino is 80% Sangiovese, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, all of which are sourced from Altesino’s own 100 acre vineyard located in the town of Montalcino. This is a great food wine filled with bright, ripe fruit, delicious savory aromas and flavors, soft tannins and nice acidity on the finish. I had this with a bowl of Pasta Bolognese with garlic bread – once again, delish!

Enjoy!!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

 

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