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Italian Wine Club

Fifth Allocation - Italian

This month, we explore the glories of Chianti, with two iconic wines from two different regions in Chianti:  Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Reserva and Selvapiana Chianti Rufina.  Your allocation is a bottle of each.

Badia a Coltibuono: The abbey of good culture is at least a thousand years old according to the Marchio Storico and the monks of Coltibuono,

The estate is situated on the Chianti region’s highest hills. 180 acres planted to vineyards and 44
to olive groves. After ten centuries of uninterrupted agricultural tradition, all Coltibuono’s estate grapes are now organically grown, hand-picked and vinified using natural yeast. The first leading wine-producing firm in Chianti to wholly return to environmental sustainability, Coltibuono is also dedicated to the preservation and vinification of Sangiovese, producing three different Chianti Classico
wines and one IGT wine exclusively from Sangiovese.

The Chianti Classico Riserva's fruit moves towards the darker end of the spectrum and a dash of French oak contributes structure. Licorice and new leather nuances add complexity on the finish. In recent years the wines of Badia a Coltibuono have gained transparency, elegance and a level of finesse that was sometimes missing in the past.

All Badia Coltibuono wines are farmed 100% organically.

is a classic Tuscan fattoria located in the Chianti Rufina zone east of Florence, situated on 240 hectares, 45 of which are devoted to vineyards and 31 to olives. It was originally a summer residence for the Florentine bishops and then later belonged to a series of Florentine merchant families. Purchased in 1827 by Michele Giuntini Selvapiana, since 1957 it has been run by the fifth generation Giuntini family member, Francesco Giuntini Antinori,

With great energy and intelligence Francesco has worked to restore the prestige that Chianti Rufina enjoyed up until 1716, the year of the famous proclamation of Cosimo III de'Medici, when the Pomino denomination was recognized as one of the most important in Tuscany. In recent years the estate has been managed by Silvia and Federico Giuntini Masseti who are loyal to the path forged by Francesco, and continue to work closely with Franco Bernabei, the consulting oenologist at Selvapiana since 1978.

Rufina's soil of  schist mixed with limestone and clay combined with its proximity to the Apennines---provide a special micro-climate for longer ripening fruit with higher acidity. Selvapiana's reputation is based on producing red wines of considerable longevity and terroir from this unique location.

Selvapiana’s  Chianti Rufina is delicate and floral, with pretty notes of perfumed red fruits and spices that waft on the palate. The wine offers good balance and is an excellent choice for mid-term drinking.  A classic blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, two native varietals of the Chianti district. After blending, the wine is refined in French oak casks for 10 months, followed by an additional 3 months in bottle before release. "This wine is bright and juicy, redolent of black cherries, sweet spices and earth".

All Selvapiana wines are farmed 100% organically. 

Recipe: Sauteed Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions and Soft Polenta Serves 4

This is a classic Tuscan dish.  Only buy liver from a top notch butcher, as freshness is the key to cooking the liver to a done-ness of medium rare to medium. Cut the liver carefully, as too thin and it will cook too quickly.

2 cups coarse polenta
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper

1 pound calf's liver
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Combine the polenta and 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
Combine the chicken stock, milk and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the polenta, and return to the boil, whisking often. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is tender and the consistency of cooked hot cereal, about 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, butter and olive oil, and adjust the seasoning, and stir until the butter is fully combined. Set aside and keep warm.
In a large pan over medium high heat cook the onions and peppers slowly until softened. If the onions start to stick to the pan, add a little water and continue cooking until softened. Season the mixture with the salt and pepper and cook a further 5 minutes. Add the sugar and cook until syrupy, and then add the vinegar and water and cook over low heat until syrupy and marmalade-like. Remove from the heat and keep at room temperature.

Slice the liver into pieces 3/8 " thick and 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Season with salt and pepper and then roll the pieces in the flour, shaking off the excess. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over high heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the liver and saute for about 2 minutes on each side, or until well browned on both sides. Once  the liver is browned, add the onions to the pan along with the stock. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, or until the stock is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Add the remaining butter and parsley, stirring to make a sauce.

Divide the polenta among four warmed bowls and spoon the liver and onions over the top.

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