Friday, December 27, 2013

Marchesi Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana

Marchesi Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana for Casual Everyday Italian Fare

One of the world's most prolific wine producers, the Antinori family, has been producing wine for over six centuries, since 1385, over twenty six generations. Today they produce over 500 different wines from properties around the world. We tasted two of their flagship premium labels during our gala Italian wine tasting last month - Guado Al Tasso and Tignanello.

Today we tasted their 'every day' wine, what I like to call 'pizza wine', wine for every day casual drinking, say with pizza. Lets face it, most of us have limited or finite funds to spend on wine and must moderate our consumption. (I recall reading the biography of Henry Ford (Ford: The Man and the Machine, by Robert Lacey, 1986 - Little, Brown & Company) that each evening at dinner, he drank Chateau Lafite Rothschild, c'est la vie!).  

I refer to every-day wines, 'once a week', 'once a month', year and 'once in a life-time wines' for collecting and eventual consumption at some special occasion. This would be one of those wines to buy and drink, not hold for a special once per month or per year occasion. Most notably, besides being widely available at an affordable under $20 price point, it is a respectable, reasonable quality drinking wine offering good QPR - quality price ratio for 'every day' consumption. While it is not elegant, refined or polished, it does provide full body and full flavors, ideal for pasta, pizza, burgers or even a steak.

Label from the 2006 vintage
For a casual lunch outing with friends Jackie P visiting from Phoenix with Kathy M, we dined at Nuova Italia in St Charles. Relatively new to the St Charles scene, this long standing Addison restaurant opened in a stylish and quaint old church on 4th street for a delightful quaint picturesque setting. They offer a extensive selection of Italian dishes of high quality, and good portions for a great value dining experience.

Marchesi Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy, 2010 

Nuova Italia offer a basic, modest but fundamentally sound wine list, to accompany the basic Italian fare. From the list, we selected this Villa Antinori Toscana. This is what is known as a 'super Tuscan', a blend comprised on big bold varietals indigenous to the Tuscany region, but also well known and grown in Bordeaux and California - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the Italian varietal Sangiovese. The inclusion of Sangiovese in an otherwise Bordeaux blend is what sets this apart from a Bordeaux style and makes it a super Tuscan. In this case, the blend is 55% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah.

Per the winemaker's notes, "Antinori Villa Toscana IGT is intense ruby red in color. The aromas are also intense and complex with notes of spices, mint, and chocolate, which are particularly felt along with light aromas of rip cherries. On the palate the wine, savory and long, is full-bodied and round with supple and velvety tannins."

We found this to be dark garnet colored, full bodied with full forward black berry fruits with soft layers of chocolate mocha, baking spice and tobacco with supple soft moderate tannins on the finish.

RM 87 points.

Pate selection with Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve 2001

Pate' selection with Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve 2001

After a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, we stopped at the 'big' Binny's in west Lakeview to see if they've opened their new expansion to learn it is being held up by the City. We picked up a selection of Pate's for a wine pairing - Mousse of Foie Gras with Sauternes Wine, Venison Pate with cranberry and pistachio, and Peppercorn Mousse Fabrique Deuces California. To accompany the wines we opened one of our favorites - a twelve year old Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir from our vertical selection of this wine.

We both loved the Vension selection. My favorite was the creamy smooth and rich Mousse of Foie Gras. Neither of us cared for the Peppercorn Mousse which seemed to have an odd musty almost soap taste. The first two were great pairings with the wine.

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2001

Although we are not big Pinot drinkers we love this wine, one of the very few Pinot's in our cellar. Its a high achiever, always getting high marks thereby consistently offering a reasonable QPR. This year the 2010 release was Wine Spectator's #3 wine in its list of Top 100 gaining a 95 point rating. This 2001 was the oldest bottle in our vertical collection of this wine.

The winemaker's notes -
"With a brilliant ruby red color this wine opens to aromas of sweet red fruits, cherry, raspberry as well as more subtle spices of clove, cinnamon and pipe tobacco. On the front palate you taste blackberry and boysenberry that is rich and plumy. The wine has great weight and balance showing fine tannin on a supple frame. The finish is long with great earthy, toast, pepper and black olive. Blend of Pommard (77%), Wadenswil (16%) and Dijon (7%) clones of Pinot Noir from Estate Vineyards in the Red Hills (89%) and Eola Hills (11%)."

Ruby colored, medium bodied, this exhibited big fruit aromatics, full forward cherry, boysenberry and raspberry fruit flavors, clove and cinnamon spices with a layer tea, tobacco and hint of smoke on a smooth moderate tannin finish.

RM 91