2019 Ser Passo Super Tuscan, Barbanera

This Italian red blend was a great surprise and packed with dark cherry notes. It’s the type of wine I enjoy finding: a mix of dark berry fruits, hint of spice, and unexpectedly affordable too.

2019 Ser Passo Super Tuscan, Barbanera, Toscana, Italy.
2019 Ser Passo Super Tuscan, Barbanera, Toscana, Italy.

The 2019 Ser Passo is obviously produced in Tuscany and was offered to me from WTSO.com; I am not sure what resonated for me in that promotion but pleased I snatched up a foursome of these bad boys. It’s made in the ripasso method, in which winemakers use the grape skins in a second fermentation step (mostly in Valpolicella) in hopes of infusing more complexity to the wine. 

The result is a rich, even red wine. I’m not saying color (which is also a deep, enticing red) but rather a velvety, smooth, and even mouthfeel. You’ll find yourself looking back at your glass between sips, working to identify the various aromas and tastes at play, and thinking about your next.

That’s what I’m doing too. On this occasion my notes have nothing to do with the accompanying food but rather keeping you focused on the wine itself. Without researching further, I’d suggest this is a Sangiovese/Cabernet blend at the minimum…maybe a Merlot or similar to offer a bit of the sweetness you’ll sample in the Ser Passo? Even in a young vintage there’s a fine, blended vibe to this wine…not artificial but well-founded in the (re?)fermentation or pressing processes.

I’m reminded of Amarone, and at a far different price point. Again, the 2019 Ser Passo is a fun Friday wine and suggesting you pick up a few yourself. Thanks as always for your readership and cheers.

Podere Paganico Brunello di Montalcino 2005

I always say the best wine is consumed with friends, and that’s part what made this bottle so special–that plus the killer coffee-braised short ribs with ancho chile (thanks Jackie)!  This intense Italian red was a gift from friends and accompanied a great Saturday night meal and even better conversation.  We uncorked with hors d’oeuvres that included several types of hummus (one great option grown in nearly Asheville, NC), vegetable munchies, pretzel chips, and green olives stuffed with jalapeno–one of our favorites.  Kids and adults made quick work of all this fun…

Podere Paganico Brunello di Montalcino 2005, Tuscany, Italy.

Podere Paganico Brunello di Montalcino 2005, Tuscany, Italy.

…and then we were on to the main event.  The ribs were fantastic and we’ll all remember the funny story about what it took to get the right cut from the local butcher.  Sounds like a less frequent request that I bet the butcher told his family that night too.  All the extra care came through in the killer meal, though.   The Podere Paganico Brunello di Montalcino, a Sangiovese from Tuscany, was packed full of flavors both dominant and subtle.  Its plummy fruits combined effectively with the savory short ribs (which practically slid off the bone), and there was some spice at work here too.  A little longer on the finish than other recent reds we’ve sampled in recent weeks…fruity but not too berryish, if that makes sense?

In addition to the ribs and red, we also had heavenly mashed potatoes, so rich and creamy that they piled high–albeit briefly–on our plates alongside fresh green beans.  All this goodness ultimately gave way to another Pinot Noir (a delicious This is E11even from the Santa Maria Valley that is pictured herein but will have to wait another sampling for a write-up of its own) and chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream.  Wish this was our “typical” Saturday night for so many reasons, but perhaps its rarity made it all the more enjoyable.  Certainly one for the memories–just like the vino.