Today’s topic blends two concepts, a recent CellarNote with a simple, but decadent recipe that is about as wine friendly as it gets.

 
We started with one the purest expressions of Sangiovese I know; Poggio Antico’s Brunello.   The estate of Poggio Antico has been owned for decades by the Gloder family but since 1987 by Paola Gloder Montefiori and her husband Alberto.  Carlo Ferrini is the winemaker.  The estate Brunello is combination of classic tradition with modern innovation.  Vinification takes place in large stainless steel vats and the wine is aged for 48 months prior to release, 36 of which are in traditional large Slavonian casks. Every attention to detail is made, from the manual processess in the vineyard until bottling.  The results illustrate this dedication to quality.
 
The Road Leading to the Estate:  Photo Courtesy of P. Gloder
 
The 1997 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino  is a deep lustrous blackish red – nary missing a beat given it’s 16 years of age. There is but a trace of copper toward the rim of the glass.  With little urging the nose is exotic and generous. There’s crushed cherry, asian spices, cocoa dust, tobacco and dried flowers that assert themselves individually, yet simultaneously. Each time you lift the glass, there’s a different sensation. 
 
On the palate, the wine is glorious. Ripe, generous layers of crushed berry and cherry fruit are center stage, with lots of juicy acidity keeping the wine fresh. Tertiary components are dark chocolate, tobacco, anise and spices and the tannins are fully resolved in this silky, refined red, though there is ample life in this bottle if you choose to hold it longer.  A heavy sediment was decanted off. One of the best Brunello I’ve tasted from this vintage. 97 points, about $43 upon release. 

Cellar Gem: The 1997 Poggio Antico Brunello
 
So what to eat with such a fine wine? 
 
Veal and mushrooms may be two of the best things for an aged Brunello. Steak and game are always great for a younger Brunello, but I find Veal to be a great fit when a Brunello has been mellowed by aged.  When I found some great, fresh wild mushrooms, the die was cast.
 
Vitello Arrosto con Funghi
 
2 Veal Rib Chops, patted dry
8 oz. wild mushrooms
1 handful frozen peas
2 teaspoons Veal demi-glace
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced
Salt & Pepper

Fresh Wild Mushrooms:  Morels, Shittake, Chanterelle, & Bluefoot

As with anything that will require a cook’s absolute attention once it begins, in this case the veal, have your garnishes ready to go for plating by making them ahead of time and then quickly re-heating them while the meat rests. Veal does demand some attention.  There are few things worse than dry veal. 
 
In a frying pan, saute garlic, onions and oil until softened and then add the mushrooms.  If you like, you can add a pat or two of butter. This ragout needs a little color and since I didn’t have any parsley, I tossed in some frozen peas once the mushrooms were cooked and then removed the pan from the heat. Do whatever you prefer, but add some color.

The finished mushroom ragout

Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least an hour before searing so that it comes close to room temperature. Pat the meat completely dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.  
 
I’ve included this picture to hopefully illustrate how dry the meat looks once patted down. If you attempt to sear meat that is wet, the meat will steam, not sear – and you won’t get that brown color or crust. You’ll get a soft, white mess.
 
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In an oven safe pan, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pat of butter on medium high heat.  Sear the chops for about 2 minutes per side. You want a nice brown crust to form, but you do not want the meat to be cooked through. Resist the urge to play with meat while it’s searing. 

Here the Veal Chops are Seared on one side. The second side is down and this is about ready for the oven

Once the searing is done, take the pan to the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the Chop. Mine were about 1 1/2″ thick and they roasted for the full 10 minutes, but I checked them at 8 minutes. When they are done, remove them to a cutting board and make a quick pan sauce.   Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and then add a pat of butter and a few tablespoons of the Veal demi-glace.  (I used store bought from d’Artagnan)  The sauce is ready in about a minute while the meat rests. 

Drizzle the meat with the pan juices,  top with the mushrooms and serve!

Elegant, Delicious, and Perfect for almost any Red Wine!

Ciao!

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