Recently, Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in Toronto to taste an impressive line-up of wines from the Italian estate Frescobaldi with Stefano Benini, the winery’s export director.
You can watch the video above to hear Stefano discuss Frescobaldi wines.
Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance
Wine Show Hosts & Sommeliers
Alex: Overall we both enjoyed the Frescobaldi style. They’re like a bridge between traditional Italian winemaking techniques, coupled with powerful Californian-style fruit, which makes their wines appealing to all sides of the wine-drinking spectrum.
Priya: It’s true. Alex and I don’t always agree on red wines especially – he loves the Old World approach where I prefer the bigger, bolder New World styles. However, Frescobaldi managed to bring us both together in our appreciation of their reds.
Alex: I especially loved the Montesodi and the Nipozzano, both being lovely, elegant examples of Chianti Ruffina.
At $50, the Montesodi delivers great concentration of fruit that is beautiful now, but is also able to age. The Nipozzano is an extraordinary food-pairing wine that will go with just about anything.
Priya: For me, while I enjoyed the reds, it was the winery’s white that really stood out.
Surprising, since I’m not usually a chardonnay fan, but this one has some pinot blanc in it which made it a favourite of mine.
Can we take a moment to give a shout-out to Chef John at Mangia & Bevi? He created a lovely 7-course vegan meal for me on the spot.
Chef John at Mangia & Bevi
That’s something many chefs would consider a chore, but Chef John clearly took it as a challenge and gave me a stand-out meal.
Alex: The food was absolutely excellent! Especially the pairing of the beef terrine with the Castiglioni. Overall, the food complemented the wines very well.
Sommelier & Musician
On Tuesday evening, I sat at a beautifully decorated fall table at Mangia & Bevi for a multi-course dinner with one of Frescobaldi’s ambassadors, Stephano Benini.
Stephano is serious about wines. As he led us through how Frescobaldi became such a powerhouse in the Tuscan wine industry, his passion was so contagious that I found myself daydreaming about an extended holiday in the region.
And then the food appeared. First was a famous Tuscan specialty, the hearty Ribollita soup.
Made with vegetables, cannellini beans and bread, it was paired with the Nipozzano Riserva 2012.
Being familiar with the wine, I initially thought it might be too robust to accompany a soup but the hardiness of the wine was actually perfectly balanced with the saltiness and the acidity from the broth.
A beef cheek salad with capers and olives was served with the Tenuta di Castiglioni 2013. Once again, the wine’s full flavor was perfectly complemented by the fruitiness of the olives and the brightness of the salad.
The third course consisted of squash gnocchi with a crispy piece of Guanciale in a gorgonzola cream sauce and a glass of Castel Giocondo Brunello 2011.
The dish was sinfully creamy, salty and slightly sweet from the squash which paired exquisitely with the sumptuous Brunello.
As the evening continued, I was delighted with each course by both the wines and the food, but it was the congruity created by each pairing that seduced me.
I could go on with all kinds of fancy wine and culinary terms, but the fact remains that creating memorable pairings is a simple and delicate art form.
Did the Italians invent it? Maybe, but one thing is for sure, good food deserves good wine!
Sommelier & Consultant
Sitting down to the Frescobaldi Wines dinner at Mangia & Bevi in Toronto, brought into focus not just the wine itself but how food and wine are intimately, happily connected.
Joining us was Stephano Benini, Frescobaldi’s Export Director. He spoke not only of his wines – the grapes, viticulture and terroir – but also about their farm, the pigs they raise there, the cows, and the olive trees.
All of this, he believes, is part of a unique terroir that make their wines taste the way they do.
Every wine book I’ve ever read say Italian wines are ‘food wines’; that is, wines that should be consumed with food, but what does that really mean?
What aspect of a wine – is it a flavour, the mouthfeel, a deficiency or perhaps an asset, or something else? – makes it a food wine?
First and foremost, a food wine is a wine produced with the food the wine will be consumed with at top of the winemaker’s mind, right from the outset. A food wine depends heavily on a good level of acidity too; it’s that interplay of the wine’s acid with the food’s fats, flavours, and textures that make magic.
Photo by Rebecca Meïr-Liebman
But from what I tasted, Italian food wine or not, Frescobladi wines are enjoyable on their own. Add a well-paired dish and prepare to be wowed as the acidity is pushed back, allowing the wine’s subtle fruitiness to come forward.
As the owners of Ristorante & Wine Bar di Frescobaldi, food is a much bigger part of this winery’s life than most others.
According to Mr. Benini “It wasn’t part of the plan to own a restaurant, it just happened!
We put out a few tables and benches, cooked for some friends and people kept on coming back for more so it became a restaurant.” Mangia e bevi indeed!
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castello Di Pomino Bianco 2015
Tuscany D.O.C., Italy
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta Di Castiglioni 2013
Tuscany I.G.T., Italy
Mangia & Bevi
260 King Street East, Toronto
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Montesodi 2012
Tuscany DOCG, Italy
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello Di Montalcino 2010
Tuscany DOCG, Italy
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Mormoreto 2012
Castello Di Nipozzano, Tuscany I.G.T., Italy
Frescobaldi Estate in Tuscany