Frescobaldi – Italian wine competition!

Do you want to get to know Italian wine a bit better? The only way is to taste and to help you get your hands on some good Italian wine,  The Winesleuth has teamed up with Marchesi de Frescobaldi to offer you guys, my readers, the opportunity to win some fantastic Italian wine. I’ve got a vertical vintage case of CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (2003, 2004& 2005) to give away as first prize and two lucky runners-up will receive a magnum bottle of Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Reserva DOCG 2007. (Prizes can only be delivered to a UK mainland address). All part of Frescobaldi Fortnight at Caldesi in Campagna which runs from Wednesday 2nd October until Saturday 12th November. Read on to find out more… Paola Rocchi, Head Chef at the Frescobaldi’s CastelGiocondo estate, one of the most prestigious properties in the Montalcino area, will be leaving her Harley Davidson at home as she swaps the rolling Tuscan hills this November for the rather more tranquil landscape of Bray. Paola is originally from Acquapendente, a small town in the Lazio region, and is known as a quiet and studied woman who prides herself on traditional Tuscan dishes. Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi were struck by her cooking several years ago on their first visit to CastelGiocondo and have kept in touch ever since. “She adds a touch of magic to her dishes” muses Giancarlo “hers has all the flavour of home cooking brought up to a different standard”. It is for this reason the Caldesi’s have managed to persuade her to come and work with them for two weeks at their restaurant Caldesi in Campagna in Bray. “We are really looking forward to it”, says Katie, “I can’t wait to learn more tips and recipes from such a great chef. I will be interested to see what she thinks of our British produce and how she will use it. I am going to show her the game from our local estate, British apples and pears...

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Castello Banfi Brunello and a long Friday lunch

My infatuation with Italian wine continues. A is for Amarone. B is for Brunello di Montelcino, bodalicious, complex, tasty, lipsmackingly satisfying (ok,so I’m skipping around the alphabet and making up words) you get the point, I do love those Italians. Growing up with only the familiar wicker covered funnily shaped bottles of Chianti, that was my only exposure to Italian wine, that and the cheap dross I encountered when I first came to London as a student. The good old days. Why do they call them the good old days? I’d much rather be in the now and the fabulous wines I had the other day at lunch. A typical wet, dreary London afternoon found me on Savile Row on my way to the smart Italian restaurant, Sartoria, for lunch with Bibendum and Cristina Mariani-May (the next generation and co-CEO of the company) and Dante Cecchini (regional manager) of Castello Banfi . Bibendum is now importing the Castello Banfi range into the UK so this was our opportunity to sample their wares. Castello Banfi orginally started out importing Italian wines to America early in the 20th century and built up a very successful import business but in 1978 they decided to head back to their native land and founded the Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate. Once there they spent a considerable amount of time and money on research and are now one of the leaders of classifying sangiovese from Tuscany.  They’ve spent over 30 years on research and catalogued over 160 clones which they’ve narrowed that down to the 15 best clones for their wines. And Castello Banfi has generously shared their research with the world because they believe ..”all ships will rise when the tide comes in…” and their research can only benefit all of Montalcino. Castello Banfi were also one of the first to plant international varieties in Tuscany, creating the “super-Tuscans” and we got to sample one during lunch. Nothing more civilized then a 5 course meal with matching wines for lunch, now is there? The food was fantastic but the real stars of the...

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