Montenidoli’s 2007 Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi

I plan my wine and food menus far in advance of the occasion, an exception to my otherwise professional procrastinator ways. While pondering upcoming Fourth of July cookouts, Elisabetta Fagioli of Montenidoli fame kept popping into my head. Back in January I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of Montenidoli with Elisabetta and as she poured me a taste of her Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi her only words were “this is for barbeque”. Too true, but not quite what I was expecting her to say. It’s also true that I didn’t quite appreciate how wonderful Il Garrulo and barbeque could be together until I served it with a juicy Ribeye that I gingerly drizzled with aged Balsamico purchased here at TWH. Back to my Elisabetta story, I was so surprised by the unexpected barbeque comment that I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask Elisabetta if she meant American BBQ or just simply, grilled foods. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that this distinction is irrelevant here since either method, barbequing or grilling, would work beautifully with the 2007 Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi. The 2007 Il Garrulo has this wonderfully expressive nose, bright cherry fruit, good acid and round tannins; just what you need with smoky, grill-charred foods. Can’t you just taste it? There is a kind of succulence to the Il Garrulo that I think will compliment and enhance most anything cooked over an open fire.
Il Garrulo is a throwback to early winemaking practices in Chianti set forth by the Barone Ricasoli in the 1800s. The Barone is credited with coming up with a “formula” for Chianti and suggested it be made with two red grapes, Sangiovese and Cannaiuolo, and two white grapes, Trebbiano Gentile and Malvasia Bianca. Today, Chianti must have at least 80% Sangiovese. In my opinion, the addition of white grapes, especially with regards to the Il Garrulo, adds a pronounced aromatic profile and tames the tannins, making for an instant gratification, straight out of the bottle kinda wine. Elisabetta and her husband are dedicated to organic farming and go to great lengths to keep their ancient soil vineyards alive and healthy. It’s certainly easy to overlook Montenidoli’s red wines given the unparalleled quality of their Vernaccia’s, yet in my search to find a superior Chianti with an affordable price tag, I’ve yet to encounter one that can match the price/quality of the 2007 Il Garrulo. The 2007 Il Garrulo is quite the bargain among Chianti given most Chianti Classico worth drinking start at around $25. With a full case purchase (or as part of a 12 bottle mixed case), Il Garrulo gets well under $20!!!

My family hasn’t made any definitive menu plans for the Fourth of July, though last year we prepared a Russian zakuska (hors d’oeuvre) and vodka table before digging into hot dogs and hamburgers. How perfectly American: celebrating where you’re from and who you are now. Like so many American immigrant families we embrace it all. This year I just might add a bottle of Il Garrulo to the mix; after all, I am married to an Italian American and my mother has some convoluted explanation for her curious maiden name that she says is a Russified version of an Italian last name (wishful thinking!). As best said by the Bay Area’s own Digital Underground “DOOWUTCHYALIKE”!!!!–Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Chianti, Italy

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