I'm back in Tuscany. It started as a cold and wet day, but the sun has finally broken through the clouds. The forest below my house is brilliant shades of yellow, orange and brown. The air is fresh and clean. It makes me want to light a fire and cuddle up with a warm red and someone special, like the Fox.
It also makes me want to taste the new olive oil. I got together last night with Luca Sanjust of Fattoria Petrolo and a couple of other friends. Luca brought a bottle of his freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil. It was spicy and almost fruity, with a light buttery character. It was so good with plain, unsalted bread. We even put it over our grilled steaks! Luca sells most of his production to the famous British chef Jamie Oliver. You might have seen him on the television program The Naked Chef. Jamie is a great guy by the way. Down to earth and a good cook, too!
Anyway, I look forward to every meal to try the new oil at the moment. Every restaurant in the area has some. Many make their own.
It made me think about the dinner I had the other night with my sister in Connecticut. I bought her a bottle of olive oil from Liguria. It cost me $18, if I remember correctly. My step mother said that my sister was so happy to have such an oil because “it was much too expensive for her to afford” because she had to watch what she spent because of the children’s school … blah, blah, blah.
What? I pay school fees also, not too mention alimony, and I buy great olive oil, I thought to myself. And then I explained to my step mom that good olive oil is only the price of a good bottle of wine, and it lasts much longer. Hell, we spent $50 on wine that night. And it was gone in a couple of hours. The bottle of olive oil will last my sister for a month or so.
I always have three or four different olive oils going in my house. I like spicy or peppery Tuscan oils for salads, buttery oils from Sicily for meats and veggies, and delicate oils from Liguria for fish. Plus, I have a bottle of Biondi Santi and Sassicaia oil on the go as well. The latter is much cheaper than the wines and they last a lot longer. I can use it everyday!
As I am writing this, I have just received a text message on my mobile phone from a friend In Hong Kong saying he was drinking the 2001 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino for dinner with wine collector Alex Wong and they were loving it. I had it for lunch with some Tuscan friends as well! Great stuff. Great wines are truly global!
My Vino Today
2001 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino: I assume you have already read my official note. But this stuff is so gorgeous to drink and will continue to be great in the future. What’s amazing is that it evolves wonderfully in the glass and it is a fabulous example of pure Sangiovese. After I opened it, we tasted it right away and it showed perfumes of berries, minerals and spices. The palate was firm but elegant and refined. Beautiful balance, like a fine Burgundy. After about 20 minutes, the Brunello really increased in volume in the glass. It became velvety, round and even fruitier. And some of the fruit character turned to dark chocolate and raspberry. Wonderful wine. 97 points in this non-blind tasting.