Last night I had the pleasure of serving wines for a Banfi Wine Dinner at one of my restaurants, one of the Italian oriented restaurants in our group. Two things should be mentioned from the dinner. First, it was a dinner that had been rescheduled due to the hurricane that struck the northeast last week (Sandy / Oct 30, 2012). We were originally scheduled on the day this hurricane hit and there was no way we were going to be able to conduct on that day. In fact, we decided several days ahead of time to move the date. Fortunately we were able to keep many of the original guests booked for the dinner, which I think was great for each of the guests that did attend.
The other thing that should be mentioned is that when I selected the wines I tried to find slightly less common wines to feature and pair with Chef's cuisine. Banfi is one of the most widely distributed Italian wineries, and often I find that larger production wines just don't carry the same unique and interesting qualities of smaller production wines. So, when making the selection for this dinner I tried to go with wines that were not really what most people would think of first when thinking of Banfi. The only exception to that rule is the flagship wine, the Brunello di Montalcino. Since Castello Banfi is located in the region of production for Brunello di Montalcino, it makes sense to use this wine. I had originally wanted to use the upper end Brunello di Montalcino, but we decided to keep the price very reasonable for this dinner ($65pp), and as such it was just not possible to go with the more expensive wine.
What we did put out wine-wise (see menu below) was quite well paired with Chef Stickney's courses. When we originally did the tasting for the dinner, we had a direction for each course that we wanted to follow, and I think that the execution here was pretty much spot on, and the feedback from guests confirmed this.
The wine that really stood out for me was the dessert wine, the Banfi "Florus" Moscadello di Montalcino, a wine that is in the late harvest style. A somewhat rare wine from this region, it was a style that I had never really had until tasting for the menu selection. I have had the more common, lighter style of Moscadello di Montalcino, but this was a completely different style. Rich and full, with balanced acidity and an flavor profile of apricots and dried fruits; very tasty for those who enjoy dessert wines.
The other thing that should be mentioned is that the guest speaker for the evening, Filippo di Belardino, was kind enough to bring us some bottles of Banfi Olio Extra Virgine d'Oliva, 2011 and "Salsa Etrusca", a balsamic sauce composed of 12 year aged grape musts. The flavors of this balsamic are extraordinary and concentrated with lovely and intense aromas of earthy nuttiness and sweet wood and deep dark fruit notes. Acidity is 3%, but is ample to balance the concentration of flavors. The olive oil is not too bad either, and we used this to dress the dishes for the dinner. Each of these items are quite rare, and are available in small quantities if you know where to find them. (Thanks Filippo.)
tuscan wine & food pairing dinner
Food by Chef David Stickney | Max A Mia Ristorante
Wines | Banfi Vintners
Special Guest Filipo Belardino | Banfi Vintners
MONDAY OCTOBER 29 – 6:30pm
Monkfish Paillard, grilled baby artichokes,
micro peppercress, watermelon radish vinaigrette, saba
Le Rime Toscana Bianco (Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio), 2011
Braised veal breast agnolotti, roasted sugar pumpkin, brown butter, sage, grana padano
Banfi Rosso di Montalcino, 2010
Rabbit ragu, san marzano tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, Wood fired chestnut polenta
Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva, 2007
Smoked sea salt crusted venison loin,
Tuscan kale, blue and white potatoes, Huckleberry mostarda
Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, 2007
Dried fig crostata, apricot sciroppo
Banfi Florus Moscadello di Montalcino, 2010