2003 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano

I found this wine for half price at World Market. I don't usually buy my wine from Cost Plus but I know that they have several decent wines that are highly discounted right now, so I have been stopping in periodically to see the deals.

This 2003 Barolo from Michele Chiarlo is a good example of a mediocre Barolo, but one that is worth the discounted price tag. It shows some of the typical nuances of Nebbiolo but is just lacking the real depth that you can find in top class Barolo.

On the nose I get aromas of plum, cranberry, cola nut, tea leaf, raisin, and wet soil. It's a bouquet that changes a lot in the glass and develops quite a bit. Sometimes it will just smell like sour cherry, and then sometimes you'll get these aforementioned and deeply nuanced aromas.

On the palate the wine shows flavors of plum, cranberry, raisin, and cola. This is a very lightly textured wine that is really dry but doesn't hold an ounce of weight. It's a total food wine that would integrate perfect with red sauced pastas. It lacks a bit of fruit, but it just might appeal to the old world palate for it's elegance. 88 points


Minestrone Soup

This just happens to be one of my favorites and I could probably eat it almost everyday and be perfectly content. While there are many different interpretations of this wonderful soup I like mine to be made with the following: beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, potatoes, tomatoes, and ham.

Traditionally it is said that Minestrone was made with ingredients that were pooled from other dishes, often side dishes or "contorni" plus whatever was left over.

Wikipedia :

"There are two schools of thought on when the recipe for minestrone became more formalized. One argues that in the 1600s and 1700s minestrone emerged as a soup using exclusively fresh vegetables and was made for its own sake (meaning it no longer relied on left-overs), while the other school of thought argues that the dish had always been prepared exclusively with fresh vegetables for its own sake since pre-Roman times, but the name minestrone lost its meaning of being made with left-overs."

Wine Pairing Suggestions: Primitivo, Grignolino, Chianti, Soave


2004 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino

This wine is of no small reputation and actually one the Wine Spectator wine of the year in 2006 for the o1' vintage. I had the opportunity to taste that wine on a couple of separate occasions and let me tell you that the wine lives up to all the hype.

The winery was founded in 1971 when Giovanni Neri bought a large estate within the Tuscan region of Montalcino. Today the estate consists of 36 hectares and is divided into four quite distinct areas: il Pietradonice in Castelnuovo dell'Abate, le Cetine in Sant'Angelo in Colle, il Cerretalto and il Fiesole near the farmhouse of the same name facing Montalcino.

The Tenuta Nuova is sourced from the vineyards of Pietrodonice and Le Cetine and is aged in small oak casks for 24 to 30 months according to the vintage and then for at least a year in the bottle.

I think the most amazing part of this wine is it's incredible depth of aroma. As with the 2001, this new vintage has an amazing bouquet worthy of a classic wine. Loads of crushed berry, sandalwood, leather, chocolate covered cherry, and dried flowers are all eloquently displayed and unfold relentlessly on the nose.

On the palate intense flavors of ripe cherry, semi-sweet chocolate, leather, cedar, and violets all come together on a silky textured structure. The wine has very tight and rigid acidity and the tannins to help it aged for at least a decade or two. It's racy, powerful, intense, and full of depth and complexity.

This wine is still very young and will probably hit it's stride in a few years although it's drinking beautifully right now. I think it's a bit more loud and perhaps more exalting then the 01' but maintains it's class and sexiness and it a classically made wine meant to age. 96 points


Ossobuco alla milanese

Ossobuco alla milanese which is commonly referred to as "osso buco" or "osso bucco", is a traditional dish from Milan, Italy the capital of Lombardy.

It is made using braised veal shanks and often garnished with "gremolata" which is a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon peel. It is also often served with saffron enhanced rissoto.

Their are many styles in which osso bucco is made and depending on tradition some people used tomatoes and some do not.

Here are a few recipes that you can look over and decide how to best prepare the dish:

Food Network - Osso Buco Milanese

My recommendation for a wine pairing would be Barolo, Barbaresco, or Brunello di Montalcino. If you low on money than I Barbera d' Alba will work too if you get the right one.