If you follow me, you know that I try to do full reviews, but last night was my year wedding anniversary with M.C. Ice and we enjoyed two lovely bottles that I want to mention. I didn't pay close enough attention or take enough notes to give you all the deets but these are worth a mention...
Wine #1: Cantina di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
Grape: Sangiovese Grosso, a finer clone of the Sangiovese that you find in Chianti
A few years ago when I worked for a very large winery, M.C. Ice and I had the fortune to go on a wine trip to Tuscany in Italy. Our favorite stop on the trip was in Montalcino, a little medieval town nestled in the country-side that is the home of one of the greatest wines in Italy -- Brunello di Montalcino.
The huge winery I worked for bottles and sells some Brunello under a commercial label, but we had the opportunity to buy the Italian versions straight from the winery, which were different and more refined. We picked up a few bottles of Brunello, but we also got this Rosso di Montalcino, which is really just a lighter, more easy-drinking version of the Brunello (and it's about $30 less too).
It was scrumptious and a beautiful match with our Italian food. A great nose of orange peel (typical, oddly enough), rich sour cherry, and mineral, wet-rock scents were all over the wine. It was rich, it was rustic yet elegant, and it was full-bodied. Simply delicious.
Although you can't get this brand in the US, I would really recommend that if you don't normally drink Rosso di Montalcino, that you give it a try-- especially the next time you have pizza or Italian. FAB!
Wine #2: Paul Goerg Extra Dry Champagne
Grapes: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir (it says it on the bottle, I didn't just taste that into existence!)
A few facts about Champagne that are awesome to know and will make you seem smart:
- Champagne is a region and the sparkling wine from that region is called Champagne. Everything else is called something else (cava, sekt, prosecco, etc....if it ain't from Champagne, it's got another name).
- Unless it's a vintage Champagne (expensive), the wine is actually a blend of vintages, vineyards, and grapes. Each "House" or producer has its own style and the winemakers work to get a consistent blend year after year.
- If you think Champagne tastes like Chard, good job.Traditional Champagne is made from 3 grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (they press it and avoid skin contact so the juice is colorless), and a weird one called Pinot Meunier that is lesser in quality.
- Champagne comes in different levels of sweetness because sugar is added during the second fermentation: Extra Brut/Brut Naturale has no sweetness, Brut is pretty dry and is the typical style, Extra Dry is lightly sweet, Sec is kind of medium-sweet, and Demi-Sec is sweet.
The wine we had was Extra Dry and went really well with the cake topper from our wedding (which held up -- pretty good, no?). Sweet with sweet -- easy to remember, delicious to eat/drink. Don't forget that when you go for the sweets at the end of the night, the bubbles are a great pairing if they have some sweetness, and the CO2 is a bit of a digestive aid, so it will actually make your tummy feel settled (at least that's what I tell myself...).
Great anniversary, great wines! Go out and get these for your next special occasion!