Posts Tagged ‘Sangiovese’

Curiously Naughty Brunello: Caparzo Sangiovese Rosso

In Drinking, Sangiovese on November 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm


The laws of Brunello are a curious thing.

Yes Brunello – one of the most intense, pharmacy long-lasting, sale and historically important wines in Italy.

Yet Brunello is, technically speaking, several different things.  First, Brunello is a grape — “the little dark one”.  Brunello is also a region, surrounding the hillsides of the town of Montalcino, as its full name Brunello di Montalcino, suggests.  And finally, Brunello is a set of laws, in Italy known as DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).  And this is where things get interesting.

Like all DOCGs, Brunello’s mandates grape type, vineyard area, oak treatment and aging.  But Brunello’s goes further – stipulating the maximum vineyard yield (4.7 tons / acre) as well as the maximum production of Brunello from a winery as a percentage of total output (68%).

So get this: even if everything else matches – grapes, location, aging, vineyard – as a Brunello producer you can only label 68% of what you make as “Brunello”.

Imagine you have 100 barrels of wine.  The government will only let you label 68 of them as Brunello, even though the other 32 are exactly the same wine.  So what do you do with the 32 barrels?

You “declassify”.

Meaning you change the legal name, that’s all.

I recently spoke to Elisabetta Gnudi, owner of Carpazo, and she told every year she ends up declassifying.  In essence, she takes her remaining 32 barrels of Brunello and labels them as Sangiovese Rosso.

There’s a catch.

As a wine, Brunello is well endowed with forceful tannins and strong acidity that initially overrides its fruit.  Aging a Brunello for decades brings these components into a glorious harmony.  Some of us may have cellars that are provisioned with gloriously harmonious ’81 Brunello but most of us need something to drink tonight.  So when Elisabetta is selecting her Rosso, she thinks of us, and chooses Brunello with more fruit, less acid and less tannin – and that is how she chooses the 32 barrels to “declassify” and label Sangiovese Rosso.

The upside to this catch is that you can drink it now.

Caparzo’s Sangiovese Rosso is a pure, bright and elegantly delicious drinking experience.  Vivid red and black cherry fruits emerge from the glass mixing with violets, cedar and hints of cypress.  On the palate its bright acidity gives true meaning to the phrase “pizza wine”, being utterly drinkable and fresh.  The finish reveals its Brunello ancestry with a lingering finish of mocha and chocolate.  Beautiful to drink now, it will age gracefully for five more years.



Please contact us regarding pricing and availability.

414-289-9463 or

Now this is just pure heaven… but you have to look at the fine print.

In Chanterelle, Chianti Classico, Drinking, Eating, Mushrooms, Sangiovese on July 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm



A hearty vegan meal – fresh chanterelles roasted in Selvapiana’s fresh olive oil with parsley; and then  red wine vinegar reduction of shallots and garlic poured on top.  But the real stunner was the Selvapiana 1978 Chianti Rufina.  Check the fine print!

Pizza Wine: Elisabetta Geppetti’s Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano

In Drinking, Sangiovese, Special Offers on March 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Pizza wine.

Simple, sick delicious, cialis yet sometimes forgotten.  At its best nobody notices it but everyone appreciates it.  It’s something Italians know very well – every meal is better with wine, and even pizza makes a great time when shared with friends, family and wine.

Within the wine industry wines like these are dismissed, discussed as “food wines”, meaning wines that aren’t tasty enough on their own.  Or, worse yet, the “civilians” can’t “get” them, won’t understand them, the wines are not “impressive” enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy impressive wines.  And the Le Pupille Estate has a 96 point Parker Super Tuscan (called Saffredi) to offer.  But like most Italian estates the Big Point Wine is for tasting.  The Morellino wine is for drinking, and drinking in full to enjoy life, rather than living just to taste life.

Elisabetta Geppetti’s Le Pupille Morellino is a touch more than just a “table wine”.  It is Morellino, the local name for the grape Sangiovese, from the hills surrounding the medieval village of Scansano.  Because of Morellino’s di Scansano’s hotter climate the wines are riper and more savory than its Chianti brethren.  Elisabetta Geppetti has been farming the Le Pupille estate for almost 30 years, raising wines of stature and complexity, with the hallmark tastes of the Tuscan countryside.  

Aromas of dried cherries, finocchio, and black currant syrup pronounce this wine as Sangiovese from Morellino.  On the palate Alicante, another native grape, adds notes of Parmigiano-Reggiano, olives, rosemary and fresh porcinis.  Malvasia Nera is the final compliment in the blend, softening Sangiovese’s arenaceous tannins and darkening the fruit, leaving a lingering sweet note of lugano and ponentine olives.  Remember, this is Italian wine, and Italian wine need not taste like California fruit.  Let’s get that pizza ordered! 

So tonight, before you do anything else, open up a bottle of Elisabetta’s wine and drink off a glass.  Change out of your work-clothes and put on your smoking jacket and ascot.  By the time the delivery driver arrives, this wine will be ready and expressive – creating a relaxing, mellowing finish to a long day.  Could anything be better?

Or, if you need a more high-brow excuse to drink a bottle of Italian wine a night, drink like Michelangelo: “I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are.”

2007 Elisabetta Geppetti’s Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano   

Suggested List Price:  $19.99

Special price via this email:  $9.99

We will taste this wine Friday and Saturday.

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last.

Thanksgiving in Tuscany: Sesti Monteleccio Brunello di Montalcino Rosso

In Drinking, Eating, Potato, Sangiovese, Special Offers on November 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

From the hamlet of Argiano, drugs near Siena in Tuscany, story there is a panoramic view of the raisin-gold sunlight drenching the hillsides.  It is the kind of place that gives rise to all the romantic visions of Tuscany and Tuscans – their overwhelming generosity, order their love of their land, and their perpetual state of appreciation for food, wine and the fellowship of visitors. 

Giuseppe Sesti is one such Tuscan, and if you knock on his door at Argiano you’ll be welcomed into the old piazza’s garden.  His daughter, Elisa, will invite you to taste their wine – Brunello.  And if you stay a while they will begin cooking – plates of pancetta and sage crusted turkey, chestnuts pureed with black truffles, savory spiced sweet potatoes and cannellini beans in fresh olive oil with orange and rosemary – and you too will fall in love with Tuscany. 

In 1975, when Sesti came to Argiano, Brunello was distinguished as one of the two elder janissaries of Italy.  But it was also dying out.  Only 25 producers remained in the area and many assumed Brunello would become a historical footnote tied to Giuseppe’s friend Biondi-Santi.  Sesti set out to spend the second half of his life (he is actually one of Italy’s most famous astronomers) restoring the ancient vineyards at Argiano. 

His years in Montalcino serve as an indication to the style of wines he and his daughter make.  These are not brash wines attempting to make a splash on the cover of American wine magazines.  They are Tuscan vino di tavola and should be loved with great food and fellowship at a common table.    

Monteleccio is Giuseppe’s bambino Brunello.  It is distinctively Sangiovese Grosso, the one and only grape of Brunello, with its classic aromas of dried cherries, cedar, truffles and tobacco.  The palate is concentrated but has the assertive sternness of all good Brunello, with its arenaceous, palate cleansing tannins.  The finish is lengthy; with notes of chocolate, mocha and reglisse emerging as the wine reveals itself.  It is the perfect wine for Thanksgiving – if you are willing to share in the Tuscan spirit with Giuseppe and Elisa. 

Giuseppe’s bella figlia is the Sesti Brunello (which is made by his daughter).  It is unyieldingly dense, needing the love of time in your cellar.  Here they follow in the path of their great friend Biondi-Santi.  You buy this wine now only to enjoy it with the next generation.        

These wines are why Giuseppe Sesti loves Argiano, and this Thanksgiving – with a little help from his wine, our recipes, and your friends – you too will fall in love with Argiano.  Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Tuscan style – by drinking Sesti’s Monteleccio Brunello di Montalcino Rosso.

2008 Sesti “Monteleccio”

Brunello di Montalcino Rosso

Suggested List Price:  $25.99

Special price via this email:  $19.99

2004 Sesti Brunello 

Suggested List Price:  $89.99

Special price via this email:  $74.99

The recipes for your Tuscan Thanksgiving:

Pancetta and sage crusted turkey

Tuscan mashed potatoes

Pureed chestnuts with black truffles

Roasted savory spiced sweet potatoes

Cannellini beans in fresh olive oil with orange and rosemary

Seared Brussels sprouts with garlic and parmesan

We will taste this wine on Friday afternoon and Saturday all day (unless we sell out of it!)  Stop in and give it a try!

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last. 

Sitting in at the editing desk is the greatly appreciated Tim Hansen – where would we be without him?

Pancetta and sage crusted turkey

In Eating, Turkey on November 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

Not for the faint of heart this recipe is decidedly high calorie.  But at Thanksgiving – the only time most of us eat turkey – is there any real chance of avoiding the calories?

I specifically created this dish for Sesti Monteleccio, cheap the gamey, sweet, sudoric notes of the pancetta; the earthy, loamy and slightly minty twinge of the sage combining with the high toned arenaceous cherry of the Montalcino.  The turkey (as long as it’s not over cooked) giving a sweet juiciness to the palate cleansing tannins of the Sesti. 

Wine pairing 

I think Brunello makes this dish come alive.  I could see Sangiovese making do, but Barolo or Barbaresco would probably be my second choice.  Traditionally styled Barbera’s would fit, and “claret” Zinfandels, like Ridge Geyserville or Nalle would brighten the fruit tones.   


1 – 20 lb.                                 Turkey, defrosted if from frozen

2 lbs.                                        Pancetta (yes two pounds), sliced

2 packages (2/3 oz)               sage, chopped

4 heads                                    garlic

3                                              lemons, quartered

4                                              onions, quartered

To taste                                    salt

To taste                                    black pepper


1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Remove the turkey from the fridge.

2.  Using your hands work them under the turkey’s skin, beginning at the back of the breast.  Work slowly so as not to tear the skin.  If you do tear the skin don’t worry – this turkey is still going to taste good.  Work your hands as far up the turkey breast as possible, lifting the skin slightly as you go. Rotating the turkey and do the same procedure working from the neck down, gently lifting up the skin as you go. 

3.  Place the sage in a bowl.  Pick up one piece of pancetta and “dip” it into the sage.  Quite a bit of sage should stick the piece.  If it is heavily coated brush some off – you want enough sage on each piece to evenly season the bird.  Lifting up the turkey’s skin move the pancetta onto the middle of the bird’s breast, again, underneath the skin.  Continue with a second piece placing it slightly overlapping position on the breast.  Continue until both breasts are covered with pancetta.  Salt and pepper the breasts.

4.  Gently open up the turkey’s cavity (remove the innards if there are any) and salt and pepper the inside of the bird.  Stuff the bird with all the remaining pancetta, sage, lemons, garlic and onions.  Gently rotate the bird to a roasting pan, breasts facing down. 

5.  Roast the turkey until the legs are golden brown.  Estimate what golden brown is (probably two hours).  Go with your instincts – the turkey is a very forgiving bird. 

6.  Using a pair of oven mitts (we here at Waterford actually only ever use pink colored dish washing gloves to complete this step, but to each their own), pull the turkey out of the oven.  Rotate the turkey breast side up.  Place it back in the oven.

7.  Roast the turkey until the breasts are golden brown.  Probably another hour and a half.  Remove the turkey from the oven and check its temperature with a thermometer by inserting into the meat between the leg and thigh.  If it reads 145 you are done.  If lower stick the turkey back in.  If higher you are definitely done – plan on making a sauce (see note just below). 

8.  Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes at least.  Carve and serve!

The note:

You don’t want to serve a turkey straight out of the oven.  You need to let it rest, for a couple of reasons. 

Turkeys of this magnitude will climb at least 10 degrees after being removed from the oven.  Therefore, if you “oven” cook this turkey all the way to 165 degrees it will be 180 by the time it hits the table – overcooked and dry.  By removing the turkey from the oven “early” you essentially finish the cooking internally, allowing the turkey’s juices to flow back into the meat – yielding a more succulent turkey.         

The ultimate goal in turkey cookery is roughly 165 degrees and it really doesn’t matter how you achieve that – you don’t need to hit a bull’s eye.  If you pull the turkey out, let it sit 20 minutes and it hasn’t hit 165, just put it back in the oven.  If you pull the turkey out, it hits 165, and then starts to cool, put it back in the oven to warm when the guest are about to sit down at the table.  The latter is my preferred method of cooking and always makes the meal that much easier.  Enjoy!

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