Tuscan Reds Under $25 – Our May Tasting Event

Princeton Festival wine tasting May 2014-A
Princeton Festival Wine Tasting – May 2014

Our May tasting event took us to the Central NJ area – specifically Ringoes, NJ – where we had the enviable task of selecting Tuscan red wines that were easy to drink, food friendly, available locally, and relatively affordable (nearly all our wine selections should be available nationwide, or via internet sales).  Proceeds from this affair went to the wonderful folks at the Princeton Festival.  If you are in the area from June 7 through June 29, or willing to travel, you would not be disappointed at the outstanding selection of jazz/opera/chamber music/etc from this award winning group (click on www.princetonfestival.org for more information).  I know that Serious Foodie is certainly looking forward to the A Capella Jazz concert on June 7, and Porgy & Bess on June 22 and June 29.

 Roasted Tricolored Carrots

Roasted Tricolored Carrots

As with our other events, we worked to match our wine choices with an array of foods that would match, focusing on simple Tuscan inspired dishes.  Here is the menu from this event:

  • Proscuitto wrapped mango, with the Serious Foodie Orange & Fig Finishing Sauce
  • Freshly made Parmesan crisps
  • Genoa salami crisps
  • Pesto bruschetta with home roasted tomatoes
  • Mascarpone and pancetta stuffed crimini mushrooms
  • Cipollini agrodolce
  • Arugula and romaine salad with the Serious Foodie Meyer Lemon Dressing
  • Roasted vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, multicolored carrots)
  • Fresh pasta with the Serious Foodie Tomato & Olive Dressing
  • Marinated flank steak with the Serious Foodie Camberzola Finishing Sauce

Cipollini Agrodolce, Parmesan Crisps, Genoa Salami Crisps
Cipollini Agrodolce, Parmesan Crisps, Genoa Salami Crisps

Some of the recipes have already been posted (the Meyer Lemon dressing, and the marinated flank steak).  We will post the recipes for the Parmesan and Genoa salami crisps, cipollini agrodolce, and the stuffed mushrooms.
There were a few repeats from our previous Sangiovese wine tasting, but we also found quite a few new Tuscan gems for this tasting event:

  • Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Riserva Nipozzano (2010)
  • Fanti Rosso di Montelcino (2011)
  • Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana (2011)
  • Mocali Morellino di Scansano (2012)
  • Tolaini Valdisanti (2009)
  • Baracchi Toscana O’lillo (2012)
  • Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (2010)

We keep to a very simple scoring system:

  1. Blah – where do I pour this out?
  2. Let’s move on – drinkable, but save it for cooking wine
  3. Not bad – might buy it. Pass me another slice of pizza
  4. This is good s**t – I want more!
  5. Yes, yes, yes! (“I’ll have what she’s having.”)

Each wine was open for 3 hours at room temperature.
Here are the results from the tasting (a full write up of each wine, with the pricing and the source, follows):

  1. Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina —————————Average score:  3.39 ———Best: 1 person
  2. Fanti Rosso di Montelcino ————————— Average score: 3.67  ———Best: 2 people
  3. Querciabella Mongrana——————————   Average score: 3.50 ——— Best: 1 person
  4. Mocali Morellino di Scansano———————- Average score: 3.67 ——–  Best: 2 people
  5. Tolaini Valdisanti —————————————  Average score: 4.22 ——–  Best: 5 people
  6. Baracchi Toscana O’lillo —————————— Average score: 3.83 ——– Best: 3 people
  7. Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano————— Average score:  3.83 ——– Best: 3 people

There was widely varying opinions for both the Frescobaldi and Baracchi, while the Mocali, Valdisanti,  and Dei had the least amount of variation in scoring.  The wines with the most tannin were the Frescobaldi Chianti and the Baracchi – which may explain the widely varying opinions.  It is also interesting that the most popular wine, by far, was the Tolaini Valdisanti – which was the closest to a Bordeaux red in winemaking, style, and taste.  Even though these wines were easily drinkable, they were all a bit young, and could use a few more years in the bottle.
Click on “Next” to find out the specifics of each wine, and how they matched with the food.

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