Saturday, May 2, 2009


Just to prove that it was difficult to make a bad Chianti in 2006 we offer the Cantine Gini Chianti in the traditional fiasco, the straw covered bottle which 20 years ago sat empty and with a candle stuck in the neck, with wax from previous candles running down it and onto some of the straw at every low budget, dimly lit Italian restaurant in the U.S. Let's not forget the checkered table cloths and the ubiquitous, green cardboard container of tasteless Kraft 'Parmesan' resembling powder either.

There was a shipment of the wine at the local market for $8 so it was worth a try. The color and weight of the wine were medium. The nose was cherries, a strawberry or two and a whiff of dry earth. The taste was about the same, but with a tiny touch of black pepper. The wine was full of fruity acid. The finish was a little short, but for $8 it was about right. By no means was this an excellent wine, but it was highly drinkable and good for washing down a meal. At a low 12% alcohol it also meant an extra glass was in order. As an added bonus I now have a new candle holder.
It was definitely Italian night as the huge pot of fresh basil that adorns the front step had reached the harvesting point. Normally this event occurs around the first of June but the local garden center had larger plants this spring so those went in the planter about ten days ago.

Dinner was a plate of fettuccine with a sauce of olive oil, a small shallot, some crushed garlic and a few red pepper flakes. All that was warmed in a pan until fragrant and the flavors combined, about two minutes. It was mixed with the pasta and then topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh basil.

Scott was also happy because there were several strands of pasta that found their way into his mouth and there was just enough sauce left to coat his dog food for the evening. Happy dog.

The only thing missing from the evening was a recording of a drunken Italian tenor singing "Come Back to Sorrento" and the cook in the kitchen trying unsuccessfully to sing harmony.

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