Sunday was devoted to the all American cook out of ribs, burgers, Cabernet and Zinfandel.  Yesterday was an homage to our Italian heritage. 

To start, I had some Branzi cheese.  This is a cow’s milk cheese from Piemonte. Very hard, with a slight hint of Alpine grassiness. It’s a delicious cheese and I mention it because I’d not had it before and it was recommended by a local purveyor.  I snipped some Rosemary from the garden and steeped it in extra virgin olive oil with salt & pepper to use as a dip for crusty bread.  

Dinner was simply grilled thin broccoli rabe stuffed sausage that I presented over sauteed broccoli rabe. Chianti seemed like the obvious choice here. 

Grilled Sausages over Broccoli Rabe

The 2010 Il Borghetto Montigiano is somewhat of an enigma.  The grapes are grown within the Chianti Classico zone.  However, wanting to set themselves apart, the owners decided to bottle the wine in a non-traditional Burgundy shaped bottle.  When it came time to label, the Chianti Classico Consorzio objected to the bottle shape and would not allow the wine to be labeled as Chianti Classico.  So in true Italian fashion, we’re left with a generic looking IGT wine with a proprietary name. 
Montigiano is 100% Sangiovese and crafted in the classic style: fermented in open topped cement tanks, the wine retains all the freshness and essence of the fruit.  Initially, I was concerned when I poured my first glass.  The color is at best a translucent ruby and looks almost like a Pinot Noir from a weak and watery vintage.  You can see right through it. 

However, on the nose, the aromatics are there.  There’s ample crushed berry fruit with flowers, spice and new suede.  On the palate, the wine displays concentrated flavors that belie the color.  It’s medium bodied, with a solid core of ripe, perfumey wild berry fruit, supported by fresh sage, notes of pipe tobacco and a hint of spice on the finish.  This paired very well with the aforementioned food and represents a very nice value at around $13.  While still a bit lighter bodied than I would prefer, I enjoyed this and the quirky nature of the story behind the wine.  89 points. 
The 100% Sangiovese from Il Borghetto


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