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Second Label Wine's Product Reviews
Smooth & Supple
In honor of the Montalcino producer’s vote last week to maintain the integrity of the region’s Rosso wines (Baby Brunellos), we will review a wonderful bottle of Rosso from Banfi. The proposal put forward was to allow grapes other than Sangiovese into wines classified as Rosso di Montalcino which many, including myself, believe would defeat the entire purpose of having a Rosso wine at all. This Banfi Rosso is a firecracker with bright fresh cherries jumping out of the glass followed closely by plums and liquorish. It’s a bright, young wine that serves its purpose – to quench one’s thirst while its big brother is aging in the cellar. It’s a medium bodied wine with a medium finish, mild tannins and medium to high acid to compliment those tomatoes Kori talks about below. I would not hesitate to plop down $25 for this little guy any day of the week. It’s not particularly complex, but it’s well balanced and would be a great crowd pleaser at any gathering. Food Pairing Suggestions: I love Rosso di Montalcinos because many of them are affordable, high quality options to pour with one of my favorite ingredients – tomatoes. Sangiovese is really one of the only grapes that seem to have been created with tomatoes in mind. This Banfi is no exception and it cries out for a Classic Margherita Pizza. It’s not a fancy wine, so keep it simple. In fact, a slice from Sal and Carmine’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan would fit the bill just fine. I love that place. In lieu of a visit to New York, any dish where tomatoes or tomato sauce is the key ingredient would work fine like lasagna or spaghetti marinara. Just be sure not to be too heavy handed with the spice. Keep it mild to medium and it will enhance the wine and the food.
Smooth & Supple
Tasting Notes: From the fantastic 2000 vintage, the Les Douves de La Tour Carnet is a real treat to crack open. Unlike many second labels, it receives remarkably similar care and attention as the Chateau’s grand vin. After 18 months in French oak, the Cabernet-dominated wine is quite complex with aromas of dried cranberry, black plum, green bell pepper, tobacco, vanilla and liquorish. A lot of the tannins have fallen out of this decade old wine, so there is considerable sediment in the bottle. I would suggest decanting it 20 to 30 minutes before serving. If you’re looking to try older Bordeaux without the sticker shock, this is a great option from a great harvest. Food Pairing Suggestions: Because the tannins are very mild on this older Bordeaux, I’d advise against fatty meats that you would typical pair with Cabernet-based wines. Instead I’d opt for leaner, sweeter meats. The first thought that comes to mind would be a stuffed pork loin with figs and nuts or a bread stuffing. A simple thick-cut pork chop might also do the trick. Just try to keep the fat level to a minimum or you will overshadow an otherwise lovely wine.
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