Posted by: tomciocco | July 25, 2012

A CALCIO IN COSTUME CHIANTI CLASSICO

…If the costumes were made by Armani…That’s the best way that I can describe this wine, and I’m going to spend the better part of this post explaining that comment.

In Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, on June 24th, a sort of semi-martial, rugby-like game is played called Calcio in Costume or Calcio Storico fiorentino, that has its roots  in this spot, on and off (mostly on) since 1530. As the name somewhat implies, the players sport colorful satin medieval uniforms, with wide blooming breeches and quilted jackets, but despite all this old-timey flamboyance, the play happens on just a few feet of dirt and sand spread out over the square’s cobblestones, and the hits keep on coming, with minimal rules or refereeing,  for one hour straight. This is one of the city’s most traditional events like Chianti is its most traditional wine, but in the case of this wine, in place of, or perhaps more aptly, over the top of a rustic Tuscan farmer’s work clothes, is the latest moda from the shops on via Tornabuoni.

This is a BIG (14% alcohol), chunky, 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot Chianti from one of Classico’s grand cru locations – the “conca d’oro” (“golden crescent”) in the frazione of Panzano, and it’s aged for one year in 50% cement vats, and 50% used French barriques. These viticultural “measurements” nicely encapsulate old rusticity sheathed in contemporary slick –  like one of our callous-handed, sand-covered corraggiosi dressed in runway fashion.

The menu I set out with this “old meets new” Chianti tries to mirror that character: a first course of penne rigate with a thick sauce of fresh tomato, zucchini, yellow pepper, ricotta, and basil, and then a balsamic vinegar and a pinch of spice-glazed grilled sirloin steak that I served with wilted Tuscan Kale (Lacinto) that I then sauteed with garlic olive oil, pepper flakes and breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Misse di Candialle Chianti Classico 2009

Very deeply saturated,completely purple/garnet color. Big and punchy nose of plum butter, blackberry, crushed juniper berries, black licorice, distinct dried flower aromas, and seamlessly integrated fine oak notes. In the mouth the wine is texturally musclebound, juicy, and concentrated, with chewy, deep-dish tannins, a subtly wonderful “green” acidity, and flavors of strawberry and cherry compote, myrtle berries, molasses, and charcoal. Long and intense fresh cigar tobacco finish.

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