Fireplace Wines for Chilly November Nights
November is never a popular month. However, you can make it better by curling up by the fireplace on a chilly evening with a cozy blanket and treating yourself to a glass of good wine. Or you can plan a small dinner party with a couple of close friends before the busy season begins. Wine ideas? I recently attended a fabulous wine dinner hosted by Carpineto Wines of Tuscany, and I’m excited to share these wonderful wine discoveries with you. These wines are so flavourful and harmonious that you will forget all about the howling winds outdoors!
CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2020 D.O.C.G.
Chianti Classico D.O.C.G., Italy
Chianti is always popular, and it’s a great wine to remember with the holiday season just around the corner. This highly perfumed and medium-bodied Chianti was crafted from a 5-star vintage. It gives an enticing bouquet of cherries, red berries and violets, followed by an extremely well-balanced and velvety soft palate that adds flavours of bay leaf and white pepper. It pairs well with grilled red meats, game, veal or pasta in tomato sauce. It is a real crowd-pleaser and a truly lovely example of this style.
I recommend buying a couple of bottles for yourself and a few to give as gifts. Or for a dinner party, indulge in the 3Litre size, which comes in a wooden box. This wine will age for 10-15 years, but only if you can wait that long.
Extra Dry 13.5% • LCBO Vintages# 356048 750 ml • $21.95
3L LCBO Vintages# 21869 $114.95
CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2018 RISERVA D.O.C.G.
Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy
The name of this wine derives from the fact that it was originally made only for the aristocratic noble families in the town of Montepulciano, in Siena. Crafted mainly from Sangiovese grapes, it is aged for two years in oak barrels, then for another 6-8 months after bottling. The nose is exceptionally elegant, with beautiful violet, berry and wood hints. The flavourful palate gives tart cherry, strawberries, dried herbs, cocoa, tobacco, baking spice and oak, in excellent balance with bright acidity, refined tannins and a long finish.
Pair this with sirloin steak, roast duck, wild boar or aged cheeses and feel like an aristocrat!
Dry 13.5% • LCBO Vintages# 368910 • $34.95 • Release date Nov. 18, 2023
CARPINETO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2018 D.O.C.G.
Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy
If you are a Brunello lover or know somebody who shares that passion, pouring a glass of this beauty will make their day. It’s crafted from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes and aged three years in oak barrels, then undergoes a further bottle finishing of at least six months. This is a full-bodied, vibrant, mouth-filling wine to savour. You’ll find intense aromas of cherry, raspberry, Mediterranean herbs, vanilla and earthy hints. The flavours continue on the smooth, elegant palate and there’s a persistent, savoury finish. You’ll also taste the terroir that includes clay deposits dating back 15 million years (that’s the Eocene era for you trivia geeks).
This Brunello is a great food wine, pairing well with roasts, wild game, rare t-bone steaks, or simply served alone, when you can slowly enjoy every sip. This vintage was awarded 94 points by Wine Spectator.
Extra Dry 14% • LCBO Vintages# 34539 • $69.95
CARPINETO FARNITO CHARDONNAY 2020 I.G.T.
Tuscany I.G.T., Italy
Chardonnay lovers, rejoice! This Chardonnay ticks all the boxes; it’s luscious, fruity and fragrant, with a precisely balanced acidity that ties all the elements together. The harmonious bouquet gives tropical fruit, raspberry, vanilla and sweet spice, then the palate offers tropical fruit with just enough citrus to keep it lively. This mouthwatering Chard pairs beautifully with roast chicken or seafood and is perfect with grilled scallops. It’s also versatile enough to serve as an aperitif.
In Ottawa we have the opportunity to pop over the bridge to shop at the SAQ. Although this Chardonnay won’t be available at the LCBO until spring 2024, it is available now at the SAQ.
Dry 13 % • SAQ# 366054 • $27.40
Available at LCBO in March 2024, LCBO# 35950 • $29.95
CARPINETO FARNITO VINSANTO DEL CHIANTI 1999 D.O.C.
Tuscany D.O.C., Italy
Vinsanto is a traditional Tuscan dessert wine. It is cherished because, in the past, each family’s father or grandfather would make their own Vinsanto, following a recipe that was handed down from one generation to the next. There are interesting stories about its origin. A legend from Siena says that a fourteenth-century friar gave this wine to the ill because it was believed to have miraculous healing properties. Another idea about the name is due to the church using it during mass. It is crafted using strictly hand-picked grapes, mainly Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia varietals, which are air-dried on mats, and then barrel-fermented during the winter. Aging takes place in chestnut and oak barrels for a total of sixteen years.
This is an intensely aromatic and flavourful wine, giving beautiful notes of apricot and peach jam, orange peel and crushed walnuts. It’s satiny smooth and luscious, with a delightfully persistent finish. It is suitable as either an aperitif or dessert wine and pairs beautifully with foie gras and cheeses like Gorgonzola picante or pecorino. It’s called a meditation wine, because it is so lovely to sit quietly with it and savour every drop.
Remember this going forward into the holiday season, as it makes an excellent gift wine.
Dessert 15% • LCBO# 34583 • $59.95 .75L • Release date: Nov. 18, 2023
Carpineto wines are crafted sustainably, with passion for the traditions and terroirs of Tuscany. These are beautiful wines either for sharing or to savour in solitude. As the Italian poet Mario Soldati said, “Wine is the poetry of the earth.”
Header image: Courtesy www.carpineto.com