Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Great Valentine’s Evening Starts With CastelGiocondo Brunello

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 7:48 AM

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Yesterday, Chris Chamberlain highlighted a few of the Valentine’s dinners that are still options for next week. Based on several of the comments, a number of people are sticking with my typical plan and staying in. Staying in can still be special, though. You just have to have all the right elements … and if you have kids, an off-site sitter. Ha!

Once you’ve got an empty house, the first thing you need is wine. It seems to me the best wine to celebrate Valentine’s Day is a red. Some luscious, deep-red wine that’s dense and a bit fruity. Of all the reds, my favorite is chianti, but I also like malbec, pinot noir, some zinfandels, and other Sangiovese wines.

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi has a wonderful chianti (the Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva), but also produces a brunello with sangiovese grosso grapes grown on its Montalcino estate. The Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2008 (or, CastelGiocondo Brunello, for short) is a beautiful, rich red that smells of plum and cherry as well as a bit of tobacco, dark chocolate and spice. It needs to be refrigerated and then opened and decanted for about an hour for the best taste, and pairs well with everything from cheese and chocolate to a rich, heavy dinner. It can also be consumed on its own just fine, though; it’s quite dry, but the tannins are fairly mellow. It’s a dense and velvety wine, so if you're having it with dinner, you’ll need a heavy cream sauce or red sauce with pasta or meats, and it's best to avoid most seafood.

My recommendation is just have a wine and cheese night. No cooking, no dishes to clean and just eat at a leisurely pace. Once you’ve got your wine, head to East Nashville and first stop by The Bloomy Rind. Let Kathleen know that you need a small assortment of aged cheeses to go with a sangiovese/brunello. I’d also suggest getting a jar of Bathtub Gin jam (recommended: Rum Raisin Mission Fig, if they have it).

Afterward, head over to Olive and Sinclair (if it’s a Thursday, Friday or Saturday) and get a roll of the "chocuterie" or a bar of the 67 percent cacao. Finish off your cheese and chocolate plate with some sliced apples, some Marcona almonds, and — of course — some fresh bread. Bella Nashville, Provence and Yeast Nashville are a few good places to check. The Produce Place in Sylvan Park has a wide selection of several local bakeries’ breads, including one of my favorites, Twin Forks Farm as well as Olive and Sinclair chocolate bars and other local products. Perl, Green Door Gourmet, the Nashville Farmers’ Market, Lazzaroli, The Turnip Truck and Whole Foods are also other great locations to buy O&S chocolate, local jams and breads.

The Frescobaldi Brunello is available in many local wine stores for around $60 per bottle.

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