food blogger

Etna Rosso & Veal Bolognese

Etna Rosso with Veal Bolognese

Etna Rosso with Veal Bolognese

 

Are you familiar with Etna Rosso? This wine is from Sicily and offers fantastic value.

Etna Rosso is a volcanic wine rich in minerals produced with at least 80% Nerello Mascalese and up to 20% Nerello Cappuccio.

Nerello Mascalese is a noble red grape that thrives on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily with nuances of red berries, cranberry, aromatic spices, woodsy herbs, thyme, dried flowers, and mineral characteristics.

Nerello Cappuccio is usually used in a blend and rarely as a varietal because of its lack of tannins. This grape variety adds elegance with flavors of red cherries and softens the grippy tannins in Nerello Mascalese. It makes for a perfect blending partner!

2017 Gambinowinery Gambino Vini Tifeo Etna Rosso appears itself in a translucent ruby red reminiscent of an elegant Oregon Pinot Noir with delicate aromas and flavors of cherry and raspberry, tobacco leaves, forest floor, leather, and cocoa. The tannins are silky and showcase a high level of acidity leading to a long finish with a sultry mineral freshness.

Food pairing:

Mouth-watering Veal Bolognese over Pappardelle. This dish is made using wholesome ingredients and is a shorter version than the original long-simmered sauce. The recipe is on page 82 of my cookbook. It makes a dazzling pairing because the level of acidity in the tomato sauce and that of the wine interweave harmoniously, Bam!

Happy Cooking & Sipping!
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures: https://foodiewinelover.com/product/cookbook/
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier & Italian Wine Scholar Student (Prep course completed)
Winner of 2019 Italian Wines “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award, held in Puglia, Italy
Brand Strategist

Vintners Resort, a Tranquil Escape in Sonoma

Recently, my husband and I took a vacation to wine country and stayed at the Vintners Resort, nestled in the heart of Sonoma wine country. It provides a full-service resort that includes fine dining and wellness experiences. The room was spacious and offered the finest accommodations, with a stunning view of the vineyards.

Vintners Resort

Vintners Resort

 

For breakfast, we ate at the rustic River Vine restaurant inside the resort, which is currently serving breakfast to hotel guests only. Every dish was fresh, delicious, and beautifully presented.

Breakfast at the River Vine restaurant

Breakfast at the River Vine restaurant

 

River Vine restaurant

River Vine restaurant

 

John Ash & Co. is an upscale restaurant located on the premises and offers 5-star service and emphasizes seasonal cooking. It is the first restaurant in Sonoma County to follow the farm-to-table philosophy of cooking with seasonal, local ingredients.

My husband and I enjoyed some fresh oysters paired with a local sparkling wine as an aperitif. The ambiance was serene and romantic, and Christopher, the manager, was gracious and hospitable. The waitstaff was very attentive and courteous. For dinner, we relished on some gourmet-style short ribs over polenta, and pan seared scallops and prawns. This delectable meal would not be complete without a scrumptiously decadent trio of ice cream.

Fresh oysters paired with a 2015 Russian River Valley Brut Rose Fresh Hog Island oysters and 2015 Russian River Valley Brut Rose Vintners Resort

 

Pan Seared Diver Scallops & Gulf Prawns, paired with a local Brut 2015 Sparkling Rose

Pan Seared Diver Scallops & Gulf Prawns, paired with a local Brut 2015 Sparkling Rose

 

 

Braised boneless prime rib short ribs braciole over Front Porch Farms red floriani polenta Braised boneless prime rib short ribs braciole over Front Porch Farms red floriani polenta

 

Ice Cream trio: Mexican hot cocoa, lemon bar, and peach with orange hazelnut biscotti Ice Cream trio: Mexican hot cocoa, lemon bar, and peach with orange hazelnut biscotti

 

The bar area is quaint with a cozy feel.

Relaxing at the quaint bar

Relaxing at the quaint bar

 

Mr. is enjoying the outdoor pool Mr. is enjoying the outdoor pool

 

Beautiful landscape Beautiful landscape

 

Posing with the grapes Posing with the grapes

 

Enjoying one of the stunning fountains Enjoying one of the stunning fountains

 

Pool area near the spa

Pool area near the spa

 

Vintners Resort's lobby

Vintners Resort’s lobby

 

A glorious day at Vintners Resort

A glorious day at Vintners Resort

 

Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers

 

The landscape is lush and meticulously maintained, and the property is surrounded by verdant vineyards offering a spectacular backdrop for wedding photography. We had fun walking through the vineyards and captured some outstanding photos. The resort has an outdoor pool and a new spa. “Vi La Vita spa” is a state-of-the-art facility designed for relaxation and pure joie de vivre! It was a fantastic way to decompress and enjoy La Dolce Far Niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

The check-in process was contactless, and travelers should feel safe staying at this resort. The management took the highest level of precautions to ensure our safety.

The weather was glorious, and we enjoyed strolling through the property while admiring the beauty of nature. We would stay there again!

Vintners Resort

Vintners Resort

 

Visit Sonoma and stay at the charming Vintners Resort! You will thank me for this recommendation.

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier
Winner of 2019 Italian Wines “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award, held in Puglia, Italy
Brand Strategist

Tiffany’s Three Moons Wines

Filet Mignon & Tree Moons Winery

Filet Mignon & Three Moons Winery Estate Reserve 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Filet Mignon

 

While a top notch wine can easily stand on its own “legs”, it can also make a magical  pairing with a luxurious meal.

Today, I present you with the Three Moons Winery Estate Reserve 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from the acclaimed Howell Mountain located in Napa Valley. Tiffany Moon is the name behind the label. She is a medical doctor and a cast member on the famous show “Real House Housewives of Dallas”.
In 2009, during her residency, Tiffany and her now-husband, Daniel, would travel to Napa to visit wineries. They were invited by a local winemaker to partake in harvesting grapes, learning about the aging and the bottling process of the wines. This experience led them to make their own barrel of a big bold red Cabernet Sauvignon in 2009. They would share the wine with family and friends. Daniel named the wine Three Moons to honor his father who founded Sam Moon stores, and his brother. Tiffany jokes that her three moons represent her and her twin girls. The Moons recently launched their private label that includes this Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend and a Sauvignon Blanc. They turned their passion to a brand!
This Cabernet Sauvignon is not your typical weeknight wine. It’s one that you splurge on special occasions or purchase to add to your wine collection. I enjoyed this wine with my Waterford Crystal glass to elevate the experience. Every sip of this wine was seductive and boasted aromas and flavors of juicy black cherries, blackberries, crème de cassis, with a nuance of spices and freshly ground black pepper, offering a dust of dark cocoa on the mid palate. It had just the right amount of tannin with a polished astringency and not at all aggressive, well-structured, bold with remarkable fruitiness. The finish was majestically grand.
I paired it with Filet Mignon cooked medium-rare with a homemade Béarnaise sauce. (not easy😅) The richness of the wine and that of the meat created a gourmet-esque combination of flavors on my palate. This wine can be found on Three Moons Wine website.

Filet Mignon & Tree Moons Winery Estate Reserve 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

Filet Mignon & Tree Moons Winery Estate Reserve 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Hope you enjoyed this food & wine pairing edition.

Happy Cooking and Sipping from Gina’s Kitchen!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier
Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award
Brand Strategist

Scrumptious Caesar Salad

It is believed that Caesar salad was invented in Mexico by Caesar Cardini, a famed restaurateur. This brings vivid memories of my trip to Mexico City many years ago where I relished on a scrumptious tableside Caesar Salad. I don’t generally like to purchase the packaged dressings as they are processed and full of sodium. Today, I am sharing with you my homemade Caesar dressing, but don’t fret, it has raw eggs in it. I recommend you to use the Grade A eggs as they are pasteurized (You will not even know about). This recipe is ideal even for the finicky eaters like my son who doesn’t like anchovies and my mom who cannot stand the thought of consuming raw eggs. Everyone enjoyed it, and not until after they were done, I revealed to them that there were anchovies and raw eggs in the salad. They were in shocked! I know, I was a little sneaky!

   Ingredients: 

  • 3 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 can of anchovies, flat, in olive oil – save some for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 egg yolks – room temperature Grade A
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for bread
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1 load of bread, cut in cubes to make croutons
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, and shaved for garnish
  • Oregano

    Preparation:

    1. In a food processor, combine, 1.1/2 cans of anchovies, lemon, eggs, oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt. Pulse the ingredients until they are blended together. Set aside in the fridge.
    2. Place bread on a flat tray, drizzle liberally with olive oil. Add grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (Parmesan cheese) and oregano. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
    3. In a large bowl, arrange the lettuce, sprinkle with salt, and add the dressing. Mixed well. Garnish with croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese, and whole anchovies to taste. Serve with a protein of your choice.

    Wine pairing suggestion: a sparkling wine made with 100% Riesling from Ca’ d’Or winery.

    Caesar Salad

    Caesar Salad

    Happy Cooking and sipping from my kitchen to yours,
    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
    Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
    Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
    Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
    Level-2 Certified Sommelier
    Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award
    Exclusive photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
    All rights reserved.

Curry Shrimp with Rice, Don’t Forget the Riesling!

A couple of times a week, I cook for a small crowd, and I generally use a one-pot meal because it makes life so much easier. Today, I am making Curry Shrimp with Rice. Grab your apron and follow me in Gina’s Kitchen. This recipe is a Covid-19 edition, using some frozen ingredients and what’s available at the time. I think, all in all, it’s healthy and somewhat affordable. 

Curry Shrimp with Rice

Curry Shrimp with Rice


S
erves: 6-8   –  Level of difficulty: Easy to intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 pinches of garlic powder
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mixed frozen veggies: carrots, green beans,
    corn, peas and lima beans, thawed
  • 3. 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds small frozen shrimp, already peeled and deveined,
    remove the tails, thawed.

    Preparation
    :

    1. In a large heavy-bottom pan (with a tight lid) over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Sauté onions for 1-2 minutes, add curry powder, garlic powder, stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the rice. Stir a couple of times.
    2. Add the veggies, water, salt, pepper. Stir well. Arrange the shrimp on top. Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to the lowest setting. Cover tightly and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

    There may be some rice stuck on the bottom of the pan. It’s perfectly fine and adds crunchiness to the dish. Serve it in the pot. The idea is to make cleaning easier.

    Curry Shrimp with Rice paired with Riesling

    Curry Shrimp with Rice Paired with Riesling


    Wine pairing suggestion
    :  An off-dry Riesling or any dry white wine of your choice.

    This curried shrimp dish is begging for a refreshing wine to pair with it. I choose an aromatic and delicious German Riesling from the Mosel region. Rieslings are food-friendly and pair very well with curry, seafood, spicy, and Thai dishes.

    The mineral character in this wine exhibits a great depth of flavor and is a perfect complement to this meal. This Riesling is off-dry and showing a touch of sweetness with crisp acidity; it intertwines perfectly with the intoxicating flavors of the curry.

    I hope you will try this delectable and easy dish and share your experience with me.

    Happy cooking and happy sipping!

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
    Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
    Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
    Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
    Level-2 Certified Sommelier
    Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award
    Exclusive photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
    All rights reserved.

Tignanello Amore Mio!

2017 Tignanello

2017 Tignanello

 

2017 Tignanello

2017 Tignanello

2017 Tignanello with Filet Mignon

2017 Tignanello with Filet Mignon

Zucchini with Feta cheese

Zucchini with Feta cheese

Alaskan King Crabs

Alaskan King Crabs

 

2017 Tignanello by Marchesi Antinori. Iconic, sexy, exuberant, and alluring are some of the descriptions that I find very felicitous for this Super Tuscan. It is an exquisite wine made with 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. After decanting it for 3 hours using the vSpin vase, (without the motorized apparatus- I was too lazy and busy cooking) all the aromas finally opened up. This wine is incredibly young, full-bodied, but sang to me in Italian in the most romantic way. Exotic, dark plums, sweet spices, cedar, tobacco, leather stimulate my taste buds, showing fine tannins with an extraordinary finish. This wine is meticulously well-crafted and has excellent aging potential in the cellar.

The afternoon started with some Alaskan King crabs as appetizers, and for dinner, I served a roasted filet mignon, with an (optional) gravy made with a roux (butter and flour), salt, freshly ground black pepper, beef stock, dashes of Worcestershire sauce, tarragon, and drippings from the meat. I also prepared stir-fried zucchini and added Feta cheese to elevate the dish. It’s a terrific way to enjoy your veggies! On the menu, there were also roasted potatoes and onions for the big eaters. It was a fun gathering with my family celebrating a special occasion: our wedding anniversary! All the spices in the food and that of the wine intertwined beautifully to create a symphony of memorable flavors. It was an outstanding food & wine pairing experience.

“Tenuta Tignanello estate is in the heart of Chianti Classico, in the gently rolling hillsides between the Greve and Pesa river valleys. Two of the estate’s prized vineyards are on the same hillside, Tignanello, and Solaia, on soils that originated from marine marlstone from the Pliocene period rich in limestone and schist. The vines enjoy hot temperatures during the day and cooler evenings throughout the growing season. The estate’s two signature wines, Solaia and Tignanello, are produced from these vineyards and have been defined by the international press as “among the most influential wines in the history of Italian viticulture”. According to Marchesi Antinori, Solaia and Tignanello are an ongoing challenge and a never-ending passion. The Tignanello estate has vineyards of indigenous Sangiovese grapes as well as some other untraditional varieties such as Cabernet Franc.” ~ Marchesi Antinori website.

I’ve been fortunate to have tasted the 2016 vintage as well at a lavish birthday party on a cruise ship. Celebratory wine like this one should be relished during special moments to add more meaning to the occasion.  

Some day, I hope you will get to experience a “Tig” moment. 

Happy Sipping From Gina’s Kitchen

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino Bloggers Award”
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier

To obtain a signed copy of my cookbook:

Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures


It’s also available on Amazon Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Japan, Australia, and other countries.

Zucchini with Mint is like Summer in a Bowl

Summertime is synonymous with eating light meals and grilling in the outdoors. In June of 2017, I visited Positano on the Amalfi Coast and dined at the famous Chez Black restaurant. As a side dish, I ordered zucchini marinated in vinegar and mint. It was light, delicious, and healthy. Today, I am sharing with you a similar version called Zucchine alle Scapece that is popular in Naples, Italy. Typically, the zucchini is sliced thin, and fried in peanut or corn oil, but in this recipe, I am grilling them for a healthier option. Not having to turn the stove on is also a great way to keep your house cool. If you are vegan or vegetarian, this dish has your name written all over it. Grab your apron, and let’s get cooking!

Difficulty level: Easy – Serves 3-4 as a side dish

      Ingredients: 

  • 3 zucchini cut lengthwise
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional
  • Extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 handful of freshly chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

    Preparation:

    1.Season zucchini with salt and pepper, liberally
    2. Drizzle with olive oil, mix well
    3. Pre-heat grill on medium high, and place the zucchini on a single layer
    4. Cover the grill, and cook for 15-20 minutes until fork-tender, turning occasionally.
    5. Let the zucchini cool off and cut them up in 2-3 pieces. Place them in a medium-sized bowl.
    6. Add vinegar, mint, garlic, and mix well.
    7. Drizzle with olive oil to finishZucchini in Naples, Italy Zucchini in Naples, Italy

    Zucchine alle Scapece

    Zucchine alle Scapece

    Zucchini with Mint in Gina's Kitchen

    Zucchini with Mint in Gina’s Kitchen

     

    I hope you will try this light and summery dish and share your thoughts with me. Until then, enjoy the summer!

    Happy Cooking from my Kitchen to Yours,
    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
    Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
    Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
    Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino Bloggers Award”
    Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
    Level-2 Certified Sommelier

    To obtain a signed copy of my cookbook:

    Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures


    It’s also available on Amazon Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Japan, Australia, and more.

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma

Barbera D'Alba

Barbera D’Alba

Pasta alla Norma originated in Sicily and is perfect for a small gathering. It is believed to be named after the famous opera called Norma. It’s easy and made with a few ingredients including my favorite veggie: eggplant! In this recipe, I am using whole canned tomatoes but you can use fresh tomatoes if they are in season. This is a great meal for vegetarians depending on their diet lifestyles (with or without the cheese). I served a salad with the pasta and my family ate to their heart’s content. Put on your apron and follow me in the kitchen.

Level of difficulty: Easy to intermediate

Serves 6-8 as a main meal

Ingredients:
• 1 medium eggplant, chopped in medium size
• ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 – (28) ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 5-6 basil leaves cut in chiffonade, plus more for garnish
• ¼ cup pasta water, as needed
• Ricotta Salata cheese, for garnish
• 1-pound penne, rigatoni or spaghetti

Preparation:

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, on medium-high heat, heat up oil, sauté the garlic, 1-2 minutes, add the eggplant, cook while stirring for 5-7 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary. Add the tomatoes, salt, basil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes covered with lid tilted. Stir occasionally.  If the sauce is too thick, add water toward the end. (before draining the pasta). Turn the burner off.

2. While the sauce is cooking, bring pasta water to a boil. Add salt and cook al dente. You will be doing a little juggling.

3. Add drained pasta to the sauce and mix well. Serve in a large pasta bowl. Garnish with the cheese and basil.

I paired this meal with a lovely aged Barbera D’Alba from Ca’ Viola winery and it worked magically.

Other wine pairing suggestions: Nero d’Avola, a red grape variety from Sicily or any medium-bodied red wine of your choice.

Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen to Yours,

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier

Mongolian-Style Beef to Entice the Palate

Mise-en-place for Mongolian Beef

Mise-en-place for Mongolian Beef

Mongolian-Style Beef

Mongolian-Style Beef

After vacationing in Italy for 2 weeks, it didn’t take me long to get back in “Gina’s Kitchen”. Mongolian beef is a Chinese American dish that is quick and delicious on any weeknights. Typically, I would serve it with Jasmine rice, but today, I am using sweet potatoes as a side for a healthier option. Flank steak is a lean meat and is an excellent choice for this dish.

Serves: 3-4 – Level of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

• 1.1/2 lbs. flank steaks, cut in strips
• 2 tablespoons corn starch
• Salt to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 4-6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
• 1 green pepper, cut in julienne
• 1 long hot pepper, seeded and chopped, optional
• 3-4 scallions, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• Fresh ginger cut into matchsticks (1/4 cup)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium Soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

1. Make sure the meat is at room temperature to ensure even cooking. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium-sized bowl, add the corn starch and drench the steaks. Shake them one by one to remove any excess.
2. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil, place half the steaks in a single layer. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (in total) on medium-high heat, the meat should sizzle. Turn it halfway through using a set of silicone thongs. Remove the cooked meat and set aside on a dish. Add 2 tablespoons oil and cook the remaining steaks. Remove and combine it with the first batch.
3. In the same skillet, on medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil, stir fry together green pepper, hot pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger for about 1-2 minutes. Add water, Hoisin, Soy, Worcestershire sauces, and the cooked meat. Give it a couple good stirs with a wooden spoon. The sauce will thicken and stick nicely to the steaks. Voila! It’s ready to be served. Your family will ask for seconds and request that you make this meal again.

Wine pairing suggestions: Sauvignon Blanc, off-dry Riesling, or a Grenache.

Gina’s notes: If you plan to make rice as an accompaniment, start preparing it first, this way it will cook while you are preparing the meat. To ensure the meat is more tender, always cut it against the grain.

Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen to Yours,

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier
Winner of 2019 “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award

A Lesser-Known Wine, a Good Find from Umbria

Cantina dell’ Alunno 2012 Montefalco Sagrantino 14.5% by volume. This wine is made with 100% Sagrantino grapes.
Sagrantino is considered a rising star among Italy’s top-notched ageworthy red wines.  Sagrantino di Montefalco has attracted wine enthusiasts from around the world. In 1992, this grape variety was elevated to DOCG status, the highest-ranking category of Italian wine denominations.
Montefalco is a magnificent hilltown in central Umbria. Unlike all the other major tourist towns around Italy,  Montefalco is quiet and known for the production of its indigenous grape, Sagrantino, as well as its medieval churches. 
Sagrantino is an extremely tannic wine and is high in alcohol. The tannins are naturally found in grape skins, their seeds and stems. This natural occurrence adds bitterness and complexity to the wine. Sagrantino is bone dry and the legs are super slow which indicates a high-alcohol content. Due to the high level of tannins, this wine is packed with anti-oxidants and pairs well with meat-based dishes and gamey food.
When I first tasted it, it was so bitter, I was grimacing. I decided to decant it and used the vSpin, (you can use any decanter) but this one works pretty fast. After decanting it for about 7-8 minutes, the wine started to open up nicely. The wine is dense and the color is a dark garnet. On the nose, it boasts robust aromas of dark cocoa, cigar box, tobacco, dark fruits, and spices. On the palate, there is an explosion of bitter cocoa, cedar, moderate amount of oak, with firm tannins and a persistent finish. This is a serious wine and should be consumed with food and/or aged cheeses. I paired it with lamb loin chops and it stood up to the gaminess of the meat. It intertwined nicely with the mint jelly and the accompaniments.
Sagrantino generally reaches full maturity after 10-15 years from the harvest and is able to bottle age for more than 30 years. 
IMG_8168IMG_8166IMG_8165IMG_8169

 
This wine is definitely different from what I am used to but it was a good find! As always, I love exploring various Italian wine terroirs. If this sounds like your style of wine, I suggest you give it a try! If you’ve had this wine, I’d love to hear your experience. 

Happy sipping and happy cooking from my kitchen to yours,
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier  
2019 Winner of “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers Award” 

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