Friday, May 12, 2006

2003 Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti

This wine holds special meaning for us as we brought it back from our Italian honeymoon. Badia a Coltibuono is a beautiful abbey up in the mountains of Chianti that also happens to produce some great Chianti wines. It also has a world-famous restaurant that has never been open when I've been there, but it's a truly spectacular Chianti estate.

This wine can be found in the states for less than $10 and it is generally not very well respected as its more up-market cousins. This is not a Chianti Classico, so that accounts for some of the difference. It is generally a wine that you would want to drink sooner than we did, but the right occasion never seemed to come up. On a recent Friday night, Natalie made steaks and an amazing triple-cream goat cheese pasta sauce (made with Coach Dairy Farm triple cream) with pasta from Italy (thanks Gustiamo!). That seemed special enough for me.

The wine itself was much better than I expected. The little bit of aging helped round off some of sharper corners of young Chianti wines and I don't think that it was nostalgia that made me think of Rosso di Montalcino. The wine had some nice currant and blackberry notes but with a smoky-tobacco-tar undertone that paired really well with the cast-iron seared steak. I'd give this an 88.

Side note: The Coach Dairy Triple-Cream Cheese is made in the Hudson River Valley by small artisanal producers who founded and once owned Coach Leathergoods Co. (Yes, the one that makes expensive purses.) The cheese is an extreme experience, and contains 75% butterfat. Also, many Italian imports, including the pasta I prepared, can be found at Gustiamo also sells another sentimental item from our honeymoon, Sant' Eustachio coffee, which is one of the world's finest. It comes from a small roaster and cafe that is located near the Pantheon in Rome. The coffee has a natural caramel flavor to it that is just sublime. For anyone who visits Rome, the cafe is a must. And now, for the first time, the coffee is available for purchase in the U.S. You won't have the charm of the tucked-away Roman cafe, but you can get the robust, luscious flavor of a truly unique coffee in your robe on the couch at home.

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