Friday, August 9, 2019

Raffaldini 2014 Sangiovese Classico, Swan Creek

IMG_20190807_202631_860Chianti in the Carolinas? Oh, yes indeed. We pop open a bottle with a delicious pasta meal.

A Classic Spaghetti Sauce

In Huntington, West Virginia, Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House has been going strong since 1938. Originally the place to go for a 10-cent milkshake or a 15-cent cheeseburger, it’s best known today for its spaghetti.

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We didn’t crack the safe to steal their special sauce recipe, but the Green Dragon has her own version, which is blissfully good. My attempts to make sauce usually involve grilling beef (and other fixings) and then plopping them into the red sauce – almost as an afterthought.

What makes Jim’s (and the Green Dragon’s) sauce so good is that the meat is mostly cooked in the sauce. It gives it a fine-grained texture and a fully integrated taste. To put it another way, it is really, really good. So when my wife said she was going to whip up some “Jim’s” spaghetti sauce, I was tasked with finding the perfect wine.

Sangiovese That Shines

I perused my options, briefly lingering over some bottles of Pinotage from South Africa before grabbing the bottle of 2014 Raffaldini Sangiovese Classico. Chianti is the Italian wine from Tuscany made primarily with Sangiovese. Some of the very best is Chianti Classico, which comes from the historic home of Chianti.

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Swan Creek, a great little AVA located mostly in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina, certainly isn’t Tuscany. If you close your eyes and sip, though, Raffaldini may convince you that they’ve captured some Italian magic in the bottle.

Raffaldini has Italian roots and they show in the thoughtful production of this wine. It is made with Vino Nobile grapes, a clone that is a key ingredient in the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This Raffaldini Sangiovese is undoubtedly noble.

Adding to the wow factor is the appassimento process used in the making the wine. The grapes are dried to concentrate the flavors before fermentation. This is the same process that makes wonderful Amarone.

Pasta And The Perfect Sip

Salad with lemon vinaigrette and a loaf of warm, homemade bread accompanied the pasta and sauce. One of my wine pairing axioms is to pair wine from the same region as the dish you are serving. The Raffaldini heritage shone through for an ideal match with our meal.

The Sangiovese Classico has a lush sour cherry flavor. The red fruit notes are accompanied with deeper raisinated threads that add to a beauteous complexity. The finish is long and begs you to keep your glass filled. We certainly did as we twirled our pasta and crunched our bread.

Available now is the 2017 release, which is priced at a tasty $29. It is available online, but if you can, visit the beautiful Raffaldini tasting room in Yadkin Valley.

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