Rigatoncini & Guanciale with Arriabiata Sauce and old Chianti

Tonight’s dinner was guanciale, crisped and the rendered fat drained off, and combined with a spicy arriabata sauce on rigatoncini. It was spicy and very tasty with a 1979 Monsanto Chianti ‘Il Poggio’ - fill just above the top of the neck/shoulder junction; cork saturated about halfway; color was amazinf for a 30-year old wine, dark ruby-garnet with no lightness of the edge; rich nose & flavors of spicy fresh & dried cherries; good mid-palate of fruit and adequate acidity; and a long spicy cherry finish. it had enough fruit and acidity to work with the spicy arriiabata. It was almost as if it had been in suspended animation for 20-25 years, truly amazing.

Then for dessert we had the end of our Flannery Wine Country Chocolates, 52% goes with Port and 74% goes with Zinfandel, with a 2003 Graham’s Port - rich dark fruit, very nice with the chocolates. We enjoy certain young Ports with chocolates.

Old Chianti is severely unappreciated, I wish more people knew to KEEP the stuff for a decade or two.

I think the improvement is nearly as dramatic as what one sees with Bordeaux.

We tend to drink our Chiantis with 10 -15 years of age. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised by older ones.

Frank, I don’t know that it’s underappreciated so much as an unknown to most folks. The big advantage wines like Bordeaux (or Nebbiolo, for that matter) have is that after their intial burst of accessibility on release, they tend to shut down hard, so if one is to experiment with, say, a five year old Barolo or Bordeaux, the results are often so disappointing that you just make a mental note to stick your remaining bottles in the “Do Not Touch for Five Years” corner. But at least in my experience, Sangiovese never closes down completely, so you can still enjoy a 2003 Felsina Rancia tonight, but also realize that this wine has years to go. And I think what happens more often than not is that people are sucking down these mid-term chianti’s with every good intention of laying some away for the future, and before they realize it they’ve blown through their entire stash (I am at definite risk of this happening with my Felsina 2005 CCR!).

That said, every once in a blue moon I do succeed in keeping my mitts off something, and I know I’ve got a few bottles of the '88 Monsanto Il Poggio downstairs that will make a nice accompaniment to some pasta at some point in time in the future flirtysmile .