Friday, May 2, 2014

Viticcio's Value - Bere



~ The Viticcio Estate in Autumn ~

The Viticcio Castle stands amidst a rustic estate, charmingly situated on the gentle and sunny ridge of a hillside, overlooking sloping vineyards above the picturesque, ancient town of Greve in Chianti. It lies midway between the cities of Florence and Siena, in the heart of the Chianti Classico region.
The estate churns out a vast array of wines; a fact that is all the more impressive when you consider the quality in the bottle. Founded in 1960 by Lucio Landini, the estate is now run by his son Alessandro who has raised the quality of the wines and the footprint of the estate as he's acquired land in both Montalcino and Bolgheri. With the 2009 vintage, Landini hired reknowned winemaker Franco Bernabei (Fontodi, Felsina) to oversee production - a fact that can only raise the quality of the wines further. 
 
~ Barrel Cellars with Antique Grape Press ~
 
Recently we tried the recent release of the estate's entry level Rosso - "Bere".   Bere means "drink" in Italian and although this at first seems like a pleasant quaffer to consume without much thought, there's more here than meets the eye.

A blend of 50% Sangiovese, with equal parts Cabernet and Merlot making up the balance of the blend, the wine exhibits some racy cherry, soft wood, and rustic earthy notes on the nose.  The palate is fresh and vibrant with good acidicty and pleasing flavors of mushroom, berries, tobacco and herbs. The Sangiovese seems to be dominating the blend here - or perhaps it's the deft hand of Bernabei weaving these varietals together seamlessly. Either way, this isn't all about fruit.  There's a nice Chianti-esque core of complexity here that makes this interesting.  Better with food.  85 points, about $14.
 
~ 2011 Bere is 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet, & 25% Merlot ~
 
Along side the wine, we made a simple recipe of Baked Salmon in Papillote.   This is very simple and delicious. Salmon filets are baked in aluminum foil pouches and emerge juicy and flaky with a flavorful sauce.  I have my friend Rolando to thank for this tasty recipe. 
 
4 Salmon Filets
1 Can white beans
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
Chiffonade Basil
 
Drain the beans and rinse well.  Season with salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.  Toss with basil in a bowl. 
 
~ Step 1 ~
 
Season the filets with salt and pepper and arrange on the foil.  Under each filet, place a slice of tomato and onion, and a spoonful of the beans.  Do the same on top of the fish.  Wrap up the pouch and place on a sheet pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  (15 if using a convection mode)
 
~ Step 2:  Everything is Raw. This is just before wrapping  ~
 
The finished product...
 
~ The Finished Dish ~
 
The wine was actually very nice with this meal.  It's a little lighter and salmon is the one fish that really plays well with red wine. The oils in the fish plump the fruit in the wine a little bit and the basil and beans play well against the earthier and herb notes in the wine. 

Salute!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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