Maybe this should be entitled the forgotten wine. Forgotten primarily because I've had this bottle for several years and for some reason it never made the inventory list. The wine is La Braccesca 2001 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano. This is the Montepulciano outpost of the Antinori family.
Vino Nobile is often like the red headed step child of Tuscany since Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino get 98% of the publicity and recognition. Too bad because this was a nice wine.
It was very earthy in the nose with hints of fruit peeking out from the dust and herbs. With a little breathing the cherry fruit of sangiovese came out in the taste to balance out the more earthy elements from the nose. The acid was fine and the oak played a supporting role, noticeable but not the point of the wine. There was a soft, tannic grip on the side of the tongue and a good burst of fruit at the very end on the back of the tongue. The wine finished with surprising length. 2001 was a very good vintage in Tuscany and this wine was a good representative of that vintage.
There was a small salad of tomatoes and cheese and a pan seared and oven finished beef fillet. While the beef rested we tossed some re hydrated porcini mushroom and shallots into the skillet, then a little wine, a tiny bit of Dijon mustard, some of the mushroom soaking liquid and small amount of beef stock. When all that reduced we finished the sauce with some Icelandic butter.
It was the perfect way to end a wet, miserable day. It started raining about 5:30 this morning and by the time the last of the showers cleared out late this afternoon we received nearly four inches of rain. That's more than the average rainfall for the entire month of August in this area, and all this coming off a wet and cool July. July was the second coolest on record. Hearty, red wine in July and August in this area is a treat, and one that I love.