Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tuscan Merlot & Pork Puttanesca

Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano, a name of ancient Etruscan origin, overlooks the Arbia river in the southern most portion of the Chianti Classico wine zone.  The estate began life as a medieval monastery of Cistercian nuns and was called "San Giusto alle Monache", literally, San Guisto of the Nuns.  In 1992, with the passing of the family Patriarch, the estate was inherited by his nine children, who continue to run the farm today. 

Perhaps most famous for it's 100% Sangiovese Percarlo, the estate also produces a pure Merlot that easily stands among Tuscany's best.  The 2005 San Guisto a Rentennano La Ricolma is a single vineyard Merlot that is made in such small quantity that it was formerly not imported to the United States.  This changed in 2005 and we're much the better for it.

In the glass, the wine exhibits a medium purple color with pretty violet reflections.  The aroma of the wine is very captivating and features dried herbs, cedar, dark fruits, and a slight hint of coffee. In the mouth, the wine displays the reserved slightly austere nature of the 2005 vintage.  It's medium bodied with somewhat muted berry fruit, lots of warm clay like dusty tannins, dried leather and herbs and fairly substantial structure. This Merlot doesn't display the sexy roundness of some other Tuscan examples (Lamaione, Galatrona, Redigaffi) but it commands its presence on the table in regal, aristocratic sort of way.  Drink now.
90 points, about $40. 


The 2005 San Guisto Merlot:  La Ricolma

The above wine paired very well with food; especially, the following recipe which is delicious and very easy to make. 

Maile Puttanesca (Pork alla Puttanesca)

1 pound boneless pork chops
1 14oz can Italian Cherry Tomatoes
1 onion sliced
12 Gaeta olives, pitted
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 capers, rinsed
3 anchovie fillets
Basil leaves

Dust the pork lightly in flour and lightly brown the meat in a heavy bottomed pot. Set aside. Take care not to cook the meat through, otherwise they will be overcooked when you reincorporate them to the dish. 

Add the garlic, onion, basil and anchovy to the pot and saute until the garlic begins to brown.  At this point, deglaze the pot with a splash of white wine and then add the tomatoes, capers and olives and simmer slowly until the tomatoes break down; about 15 minutes.  It'll look like this:


Puttanesca Condimento Simmering

Return the meat to the pot and finish cooking through, about 5 minutes is all it should take.  Season with crushed red pepper to taste and serve to a platter. Delicious!


Pork Chops alla Puttanesca

Cin Cin!

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