For the month of July the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers are looking at Super Tuscans with Jill of L'Occasion at the lead. You can read her invitation here.
If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join us for a live Twitter chat on Saturday, June 27th. Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add that to any tweets you post so that we can see it, too.
Because our usual posting date - the first Saturday of the month - would have conflicted with the American Independence Day holiday, we pushed our posting up a week. So, all of these will be live by early morning on Saturday, June 27th.
- Naming Rights + Super Tuscans | We get the scoop from our host at L'Occasion.
- Super Tuscans, Take-Out Pizza, and a Spicy Summer Salad | This post comes to you from the kitchen magician behind Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
- Super Tuscans: What's It All About? | This question will be answered by the founder of #ItalianFWT, VinoTravels.
- A Stop at Brancaia and a Pizza Night | A perfect combo from California's own Somm's Table.
- Super rating, super price - Is this Super Tuscan super? | The question will be answered in full by My Full Wine Glass.
- Have You Tried These Super Tuscans? | Get the opportunity to explore with The Wining Hour.
- There’s no need to Fear, Super Tuscans are here! | Hear the heroic call from Our Good Life.
- Are Super Tuscans still relevant and worth my time and money?| Find out all there is to know with Crushed Grape Chronicles.
- Cooper's Hawk: A Great Concept and a Super Super Tuscan | Get the inside scoop on this treat from A Day In the Life on the Farm.
- I Colazzi and a Big Ol' Steak | Don't miss this outstanding combo from Joy of Wine.
- No Super Tuscans for Me! | The point of view from Food Wine Click! is super clear.
- Super Tuscans: Keep Your Sassicaia, I’ll take the Sangiovese | A message from Wine Predator to all readers.
- Super Tuscan Is All About The Name, Not In The Wine | According to an Italian wine expert, Grapevine Adventures.
- Looking Beyond the Name Super-Tuscans | Insight from Avvinare that goes deeper than the title.
- Let’s Talk Super Tuscans. Plus, a Super Pairing: I Sodi di San Niccolò and Pasta with Scallops and Shrimp in a Tomato Mushroom Sauce | A conversation starter from The Wine Chef.
So, 'Super Tuscan' wasn't a term with which I was totally familiar. I mean, I have heard it, in passing. But I had never really delved into what it meant or specifically sought out a bottle...or two. Jill's invitation got me reading.
The most simple explanation of a Super Tuscan is that it's a red wine blend - from Tuscany - that includes non-indigenous grapes. So, most are some portion Sangiovese, the native grape what makes up Chianti wines, plus non-native grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc.
Even though we are still on shelter-in-place orders here on California's central coast, I was able to easily locate several Super Tuscans online at wine.com. I opened two bottles for an evening with pizza take-out on the patio.
The wine poured a brilliant ruby hue and had aromas of red fruits and notes of herbs. On the palate, this had a hefty amount of tannins with a tinge of minerality. Jake preferred this wine over the next.
Petra Zingari Toscana 2017, suggested retail approximately $18 (wine.com)
This wine is comprised of equal parts Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. I love the history of this wine which traces its origins to an ancient spring that was a watering-hole for all of the travelers in the area, specifically the gypsies - zingari in Italian.
Brancaia Tre 2016, suggested retail approximately $24 (wine.com)
The significance of the wine's name didn't strike me until I started to write this up. 'Tre' as in three. The wine is a blend of three varietals - 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The percentages of the latter grapes were not called out anywhere that I could find.
La Brancaia, which spans two estates Brancaia and Poppi, has been owned by Brigitte and Bruno Widmer since the early 1980s but is now managed by the Widmer's daughter, Barbara Kronenberg-Widmer and her husband Martin Kronenberg.
This wine is beefy with notes and aromas of earth, stone, cherry, and coffee. And I liked this wine better than the Zingari.
This week we are entering our fifteenth week of being sheltered-in-place. And while my family is fairly spoiled as far as me fulfilling food requests, one of the take-out foods they wanted was pizza. "Mom, your pizza is good, but sometimes we just want pizza from somewhere else." Fine. So, we discussed different restaurants that were open for delivery or curbside pick-up. Jake didn't like the sauce at a place R suggested. R didn't like the crust at the spot D wanted. I still wanted to make the pizzas. Oye. The only place on which everyone agreed was Blaze Pizza! It's kinda like a fast food chain, but it's not bad.
D and I headed over with everyone's favorites and came home with five different pizzas: a combo with a barbeque sauce drizzle, a combo without the barbeque sauce drizzle, a white pizza with pesto stripes, an artichoke pizza with olives with roasted red peppers dollops of fresh red sauce fresh ricotta, and R's favorite - ham and pineapple. Easy dinner!
I will say that everyone - employees and guests - at Blaze Pizza was masked and abided by the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Workers were gloved and changed them out between every customer! Tables were blocked off to allow in-room dining at every other table only, but everyone seemed to be grabbing to go anyway. I was pleased with the experience. I'll be honest: I don't go out often these days, but I am keeping track of businesses that are respecting the guidelines and will continue to support them. Others who are not requiring masks, gloves, and social distancing will not get my business...at least not for a good long while.
Spicy Summer Salad
The same night we got the take-out pizza, friends who homestead asked if I had ever tried wasabi arugula. I hadn't. They dropped some off at my office and I made a simple salad with fresh tomatoes the wasabi arugula, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of nice piquant olive oil.
We were immediately smitten with the flavor of the greens and ordered some seeds for our own garden. I can't wait to have our own harvest later this summer.
The third Super Tuscan was more understated and I'll be featuring that pairing soon. Till then, the #ItalianFWT bloggers' exploration of Italian wines will continue in August with an eye on Rosato wines with Lauren of the Swirling Dervish at the head. Stay tuned...