It's Italian Wine Month at Binnys!

  First of all, don't forget to check out the list of wines we've got on sale this month. Some of the wines listed are in short supply and only available at some stores. Also be sure to check the eventspage for information on upcoming tastings and other events throughout the month.    

Adventures In Consumerism, Ravioli, and Rosso di Montalcino

  My girlfriend and I recently entered a new level of commitment in our relationship: together we joined one of those membership-required, bulk-buy, warehouse-style superstores. After several hours of grueling shopping and waiting in line and carrying 32-packs of soda up the stairs to our apartment, we looked over our mountain of newly acquired foodstuffs, and she asked me, Well, what do you want for dinner?   Both of us feeling exhausted, we agreed that cooking a little of the eighteen pounds of frozen ravioli we had just purchased would be easy enough. After about six minutes of boiling, I handed her a plate of pasta. She was amazed, and said it looked like something from a restaurant. We agreed on two things: 1) we needed to raise our standards regarding dining out, and 2) we needed some wine to go with dinner. And what's perfect with pasta? I grabbed a bottle of 2003 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino, pulled the cork, and saw this:  

  That red wine stain going up the side of the cork always makes me cringe it's a sure sign that this wine is oxidized along with the orange tint the wine had taken on. But surprisingly, it was still solid and drinkable understated tart cherry fruit balanced with an earthy minerality. The finish was a little abrupt, probably from the oxidization. All in all, it was really pleasant to see that this sangiovese, produced in a delicate, restrained, old-world style, still had the body and backbone to stand up to this flaw.     Rosso di Montalcino   For those looking for wonderful wine ata reasonable price (and requiring less patience) a great choice is Rosso di Montalcino. From the same grapes and region as Brunello di Montalcino, but legally requiring less barrel aging, this more more youthful expression of sangiovese is usually much less expensive, so much so that you won't feel bad popping one open on a Sunday afternoon to pair with bulk-buy frozen ravioli, but clasically-oriented and solid enough to withstand some aging.   A few weeks earlier, I had tasted the 2005 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino, and knowing that I had the 2003 waiting in the cellar (by 'cellar' I mean a little wine fridge from a hardware store) I was stoked. A friend was very excited about this wine about how the wonderful aromatics gave it the presence of a miniature Brunello. The nose was indeed quite interesting. In the finish was a hint of copper that I didn't care for, probably a matter of taste.   After the Rosso, I compared the 2003 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino, which was bigger, dustier and had a little of that metallic note, but not as much. Binny's doesn't currently have this one in stock, and while bigger, more complex and balanced, I don't think I'd be able to drop twice as much cash on it.   I also tried the 2006 Ciacci Rosso di Montalcino, which I can't recommend enough to those looking for a great deal. This month it's on sale for $16.99 (down from $25) so I suspect it won't last long. A compact wine, with tart cherries and a little more depth than some sangiovese, balanced with tight tannins, this wine is all about finesse. Seriously, try it while we have it.   Have you had a Rosso Di Montalcino you love? Think that they just can't compare to Brunello di Montalcino, or other Tuscan wines? Share your opinion!   Expect more charming commentary soon, and be sure to check out the events page and special pricing offered this month. Oh, about the bulk-buy superstore: after finally overcoming the existential horrors of our mass-consumerism society, I did get a really sweet deal on a fifteen pack of canned, organic, diced tomatoes. So, you know, if anyone needs some tomatoes....