Like many of Italy’s regional food products, Italian wine grapes are specific to their region: Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo in Piedmont; Valpolicella in Veneto, Nero d’Avola in Sicily, Pinot Grigio in Friuli and Sangiovese in Chianti. I wrote about the wines from Chianti a few months ago and you can read about them here.
On the recent trip to Italy with M’tucci’s chefs, we were based near the town of Bolgheri in the Maremma growing region of Tuscany near the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the 1930s this area was mostly swamp and farmland and was not known for wine grapes until the 1970s, when wines from a small family-owned estate bested some of the best wines from Bordeaux in a blind tasting.
From Winesearcher.com: “in 1978, in an infamous blind tasting arranged by Decanter Magazine, the 1972 vintage of a largely unknown wine called Sassicaia, made at Tenuta San Guido estate of the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, beat a number of top Bordeaux wines. Wine had been been made at Tenuta San Guido in a rather rustic fashion for personal consumption for some years previously, and only commercialized from the 1968 vintage, but this early example of a more polished version made by legendary winemaking consultant Giacomo Tachis led to an awakening of interest in the region.”
Wineries discovered that the chalky, gravelly soil (Sassicaia means stony field) and the proximity to the sea were very similar to Bordeaux. Many of them bought land and started planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in addition to Sangiovese and Petit Verdot. The most common white wine grape in the area is Vermentino.
As the vintners improved the vineyards and their techniques, the top wines from the area continued to be known as Super Tuscans, distinctly different from a Sangiovese-dominant Chianti. Some of these top wines (with prices to match) are: Sassicaia, Ornellaia (by Antinori) and some of the wines from the Antinori Guado al Tasso estate.
Unlike many of the wine regions in Italy, the vintners in the Bolgheri area aren’t limited by strict laws governing the percentages of a specific grape in their wine and they are free to make wine that expresses “terroir.” The soil rich in minerals, limestone, clay and pebbles, and the warm sunny days with nights cooled by sea breezes all combine to produce wines that are now becoming known as Bolgheri wine instead of Super Tuscan. Probably a good idea, since most of the Super Tuscans start out a $80-$100 a bottle.
The success of the wines from this area was not lost on the wine estates in other parts of Tuscany, even in Chianti itself. Ruffino produces a Super Tuscan blend called Modus at one of their estates near Florence and Arcanum Il Fauno is a red blend made primarily with Cabernet Franc near Siena. Both of these wines are available at M’tucci’s Italian. Even Antinori’s Santa Cristina (available by glass & bottle) is a blended Tuscan wine that uses Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, and comes from their estate near the town of Cortona (of “Under the Tuscan Sun” fame).
In fact, most of the red Tuscan wines at M’tucci’s Italian tend to be more of the Super Tuscan/Bolgheri style than straight Sangiovese Chiantis. Why?
Austin Leard, Beverage Director/Partner explains, “I think all the different levels of Chianti tend to be a little confusing and I prefer offering Italian reds that are more food friendly. The Tuscan blends are more inviting and are a better value for our guests.”
One of the top wines on our wine list is from Bolgheri, Antinori’s Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato”, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It was one of the wines on our 6th Anniversary 7-Course tasting menu and was paired with a Braised Beef Shank. It goes very well with hearty meat or tomato based dishes.
Here are the tasting notes from the Antinori site: “The 2016 Il Bruciato offers an intense ruby red color. On the nose, the aromas of ripe red berry fruit, sweet spices, and a light and fresh minty note are the most prominent sensations. The palate is well structured, persistent, and very pleasurable in its fruity finish and aftertaste.”
Many of these wines are going to be available as specials in the coming weeks, most of them were from the Antinori estates in different parts of Tuscany. In addition, we often come across special wines which make up our “Captain’s List”, and we pass the savings on to you. Always ask your server what is available during your next visit.
NEWS FROM M’TUCCI’S
M’tucci’s @ Lava Rock Brewing Co.
M’tucci’s and Lava Rock Join Forces
M’tucci’s kitchen is now open at Lava Rock Brewing Co. Chef Fred Gallegos is heading a team of talent in the kitchen (making those great pizzas that you all love), and he has created a menu to complement the beers made by Ram Khalsa at the brewery. Click here to see the menu, a map of the location, and the hours.
We think you are going to love the food and beer pairing at Lava Rock. Come visit Lava Rock at 2220 Unser Blvd (about a mile north of I-40). Call (505) 836-1022 for details. Their website is: http://lavarockbrewpub.com/
Check out the site and follow them on Facebook: @LavaRockBC and Instagram: @Lavarockbc
M’tucci’s Italian Café & Market
The new Café & Market continues to wow our guests, primarily because of the amazing pastries in our display case every day. Our new hours are 8:00am - 6:00pm. We carry the same great Italian imports, all of our artisan breads, and a wide variety of imported, domestic, and house made cheese and meat. There is an expanded selection of coffee and pastries. We’ll still have charcuterie boards to eat in or take out with wine and beer by the glass. Click here to see our new menu.
Here is what Pastry Chef Lauren did with fresh fruit past week.
Goat Cheese Spaghettini Wild pink shrimp, sweet and hot peppers, toasted walnuts tossed in a light goat cheese sauce $19
Toscolo Chianti, Toscana Italy: black cherry, clover and a white pepper spice flavors
California Halibut White and flaky yet meaty texture, buttery flavor
Mimi Chardonnay, Chateau St. Michelle: Notes of apple and pear with a bright acidity, refreshing yet complex
Cut of the Day: 24 oz Bone-in NY Strip
Frescobaldi Remole, Super Tuscan, Italy: Notes of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, aromatic spicy notes of pepper and eucalyptus
New Happy Hour Cocktail Menu
$3 Select Taps
$1 OFF all wines by the glass
$5 Aperol Spritz
$5 House Sauza Margarita
$6 House Infused Hollow Spirits Vodka Mule
$7 Tito's Martini
$7 Drink of the Week
8:30, Friday: Cali Shaw Live in the Bar
The Braise: Braised Chianina Beef, Five Cheese Tortelloni, Sautéed Mushrooms & Shallots, Light Mushroom Cream Sauce
Pan Seared Fish: California Halibut, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Italian Artichokes, Sautéed Arugula, Lemon Butter-Caper Sauce
Ravioli: Mushroom & Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli, Ibérico Chorizo, Caramelized Onions, Wild Mushroom Bechamel, Shaved Aged Parmesan, Fresh Arugula
Cut of the Day: 24oz House Cut Porterhouse, Crispy Salt Water Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Balsamic Reduction
Weekend Brunch: 11:00 - 3:00
New menu for drinks and food. Click here.
M’TUCCI’S AROUND TOWN
Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations in Albuquerque. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, and Raisin Rosemary Focaccia.
Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.
SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT & DISCOUNTS
Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.
Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.
MTUCCI’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here
See you next Friday - Ciao!