Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wine Review: Il Vecchio Maneggio - Chianti "Colli Senesi"

Our friends Steve and Val gave us a bottle of wine last year that we recently enjoyed for our 7th anniversary. Originally, we were planning a Europe trip for early summer 2008 and they were also going to be in the same region so we were discussing meeting up for a wine tour. However, our trip didn't happen, but Steve and Val did go and surprised us with a bottle of wine from their trip. And since Laura was pregnant, we decided to save it until after our little Bugamoo arrived.

So, we decided to pop the cork on our anniversary. Laura was so excited for her first glass of wine in over 11 months and we were both eager to try a new wine, straight from Italy. According to the website, Il Vecchio Maneggio is in the "medieval town" (ooo, spooky) of San Gimignano (Tuscany) region of Italy, which just so happens to be the same region as one of our original favorite wines, Vernaccia. The wine is a Chianti from the Colli Senesi area (never heard of it). Apparently, the Chianti region is divided into several regions with Classico being the most famous, but according to the word on the street, all regions produce fantastic wines. Our bottle was made from grapes that are typical of traditional Chianti: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, together with white and red Malvasia, and Colorino and produced with wine-making methods that "strictly follow tradition" (of course).

To accompany our wine, we had Pugliese bread (an Italian bread to go with our Italian wine), bruschetta (an Italian appetizer, notice a theme?), and Muenster cheese for appetizers (nope, it's French). And the main course was grilled steak with a baked potato. We looked into Tuscan fare, but according to our wine bible, Tuscany is traditionally known for some bland food. Apparently, when other Italians want to be derogatory towards Tuscans, they refer to them as "mangiafagioli," (bean eaters - I know, not to witty, but whatever). Having never been Italian or been to Italy, I don't know if this is "traditionally" true, but since every American brand overuses Tuscan to death, you'd think they'd have some decent grub. But back to the wine...

Now, the website offers a bit of a description, suggesting cherry and violet notes. Having never eaten a violet, let alone been around many flowers to distinguish a violet from a tulip, I can't comment of the flower aspects. And maybe because I was eating some blackberries I didn't pick up on the cherry initially, but I'd say our bottle had an unripened cherry flavor. Overall, a bit too tannic for my tastes (think of how your mouth feels after eating a very green banana), but enjoyable nonetheless, making me think of the green, rolling hills of the Italian winery where I've never been. I think we'll have to make a visit to this winery when we do finally take out Europe trip.

Thank you Steve and Valerie for thinking of us on your trip and bringing us back a little sample of Italy. Oh, and happy anniversary too!

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