If I told you Italy is permanently one of the top three countries in the world in wine production, exports/imports and consumption would you be surprised? Yeah, neither was I. Those feisty Italians seem to know a thing or two about life and it definitely shows in their food and wine. Regardless of being up to my eyeballs in note cards it sure has been fun to learn about this region of the world. My hubby and I are planning a trip to Italy next year (suggestions welcome!) which makes it feel a little bit more like researching for a vacation than memorizing flashcards. One region on the MUST VISIT list is Tuscany. Tuscany is Italy’s most famous wine region with Chianti leading the way as the most recognized wine of the area. The majority of the red based wines coming from this region are made with the Sangiovese grape and they can differ quite dramatically due to the influence of the growing environment and which clone of the Sangiovese grape is being used. Generally speaking you are going to get tart cherry, tomato, plum, leather, tobacco, dried herbs and a bit of oak. They are high in acidity and tannins making them great candidates for aging to develop a full flavor profile. Sangiovese is ideal to pair with anything involving tomatoes…which means you should be drinking it right now since you should be eating your weight in tomatoes RIGHT NOW before the season is over. You will need to spend a little bit more money to get a bottle worth opening but will be happy you did when sitting down to eat that tomato bruschetta fresh from the garden. Salute!
Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, 2010, $15.99 at TJ’s
Sommavite Brunello di Montalcino, DOCG, 2009, $19.99 at TJ’s