Back in January, I was fortunate enough to interview Andrea Machetti, the Managing Director at Mastrojanni.  I’ve been equally fortunate enough to taste a range of his wines over the past year and with the arrival of autumn, so too are new wines arriving on shore.  
Over the weekend we took advantage of the spectacular fall weather and grilled up some great NY strips to accompany the subject of today’s article. 
Tuscan weather in 2011 was hot and dry for much of the summer. The heat spiked noticeably in late August and many producers feared that grapes would be overripe and the resulting wines would lack freshness. Cooling temperatures arrived with rain at the end of August and those producers who waited to pick seemed to be rewarded for their patience.
The 2011 Rosso di Montalcino is a vibrant bright ruby.  Like it’s older sibling Brunello, this wine also displays a slight copper hue at the rim of the glass.  I was pleased to notice aromas with an ample amount of “lift”.  They are fresh and easily coaxed. Berries, new suede and flowers mingle together nicely and invite a sip.  On the palate, the wine is fresh and bright. Medium bodied red berry flavors are accented with slight meaty notes.  This is a very pretty, delicate rosso.  Perhaps not as concentrated as the 2009 or 2010 versions of this very wine, but still a solid value.  88 points, about $22.  Disclosure: This bottle was an importer provided sample.

~ 2011 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino – Bright & Fresh ~
With this wine, we had some amazing grilled NY Strip Steaks that I topped with a caramelized onion & fennel infused relish.  This recipe came to me courtesy of one of my readers – Joe Drago.  It sounded delicious and sure enough, it was!  The recipe I used appears below and was inspired by Joe’s rendition.

Caramelized Onion Fennel Infused Steak Relish

2 Sweet Vidalia Onions, diced
2 pats butter
1 shot Sambuca
1 sprig chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Crumbled Gorgonzola to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a saute pan, combine the oil and butter and warm.  Add the onions over medium low heat and cook down slowly until they brown – about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Before using on the steaks, add the splash of Sambuca and simmer a few minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add parsley, stir and top immediately onto a sizzling steak.  Before serving, add crumbled Gorgonzola atop the steak. The savor butter, the slightly sweet Sambuca and the saltiness of the gorgonzola is an absolutely decadent pairing. 

~ NY Strip with Caramalized Onion & Fennel Infused Relish ~


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