This month, we're off to Italy for a recommendation of a special occasion wine. September marks the beginning of the birthday season in our family (well it actually kicks off in the last week of August) which runs through until the middle of January - oh and let's not forget Christmas in between.
So as the nights are beginning to draw in, the weather turns a bit cooler (well usually - we've 28c forecast for the weekend which will be lovely!) my thoughts turn back to red wines. Something to sip and savour with stews and log fires - that type of thing!!
This month then, I want to introduce you to a little known Italian gem - Brunello di Montalcino. It's a wine made from Sangiovese grapes (it's the main component in most Chianti and Montepulciano wines). The Brunello though is much more than your usual pizza/pasta wine. It's a more complex wine, often verging on the vegetal - think a slightly composty smell and brown tinges around the edge when you look at the glass against a light - now you may not think I'm selling it very well - but it really is very good. So good in fact that it is one of Italy's most expensive wines - most people would suggest Barolo as an example of a top Italian wine but in my opinion, Brunello is much nicer. One left to breathe, it is a wonderfully rounded, full, fruity wine which could accompany the strongest cheeses and well-hung game with ease.
There is however a catch - and this is why, for us, Brunello remains a special occasion choice - you'd be hard pushed to find it for under Eur20 a bottle, but it is very definitely worth it's hefty price tag so you may just have to invent an occasion to give it a whirl!
We have one bottle left of this wine - ours is a 2000 vintage - which we've been saving for a special occasion, but which probably needs drinking sooner rather than later. Fortunately, we have just the occasion coming up to partake of this wonderful wine - Andy's birthday at the weekend - so raise a glass to him on Sunday - we certainly will!
As an aside, if you have a wine you're not sure about - when to drink it, what it should be like and so on there is a great site at cellartracker.com which you can put your wine's details into for some tasting notes and dates. The link will take you to what it says about our Brunello as an example - and we need to drink it now..... Cheers!