Friday, April 30, 2010

What’s the best seafood in Providence, Rhode Island?

Ask just about any local and the same name will be spoken time and time again: Hemenway’s, located near the historic district and overlooking the Providence River.

The walk to Hemenway’s was an experience unto itself as I crossed the waterway into the historic district of Providence and followed the water down to the restaurant. This civilian walk, which includes parks, statues, restaurants and scenic views, is a place I could see myself spending a great deal of time.

I imagine sitting on the waterfront with a good book and a glass of wine as the sun goes down. And for those seeking a romantic place to spend some time with a loved one, you will not be disappointed.

Finding Hemenway’s was a bit more of a problem than anticipated, as it’s located in a glass deco building which reflects a good deal of the sun and detracts from the visibility of their signs. However, once inside, you understand why the glass is worth the trouble as you look around and see views of the surrounding city from almost every seat in the house. The views are breathtaking!

Another thing of note upon entering is how visually pleasing the restaurant itself was as I was walked to the table by the warm, friendly staff and took note of the elegant table settings and attention to fine details.

What about the food and wine?

With a large and diverse menu that was obviously centered on seafood, I had no problem picking out a number of dishes I wanted to try but, in the end, I chose to start with the crab cakes (touted as a customer favorite) and, for an entree, the Hemenway’s Seafood Broil.

So let’s talk crab cakes. I find crab cakes to be something I order often because I can almost always judge a restaurant’s devotion to freshness by the meat they choose to put in their crab cakes. In this case it was very fresh and even had a mix of lobster meat, which was perceptible to the palate and really took the flavors home. The one bad thing, and the only bad part of my entire experience, as you can see from the pictures, was that the crab cakes were overdone while being fried and it made it through the pass. However, this would not stop me from giving them another chance and ordering this dish again. Every restaurant kitchen makes a mistake from time to time, and if they claim they don’t, they’re lying. The cakes were perfectly seasoned and succulent, a real winner.
As a side note, the crab cakes were served with a corn, onion and bell pepper salsa, which was really good. So simple yet so fresh and with tangy flavors that sang on my palate.

Then it was time for my entrée and, as it was set down in front of me, I could already tell it was love at first sight. Hemenway’s Seafood Broil is a mix of shrimp, scallops, and scrod topped with buttery, seasoned breadcrumbs. The smell of toasty, buttery goodness that emanated from this dish was intoxicating. It was perfectly cooked seafood with a slight crispy exterior followed by smooth, velvety meat. The ingredients were at the peak of freshness, perfectly seasoned and with a hint of cracked pepper, which added a little spicy flair. Amazing!
The wine list was a very interesting mix of current drinking and value wines, with a few high profile bottles mixed in, which provides a good balance. I’m always a little saddened to see a lack of any aged bottles for those special occasions, but there’s no lack of diversity on their list with just about every major region covered and an affordable list of 26 wines by the glass. I decided to go for a glass of the Ferrari Carano, Fume Blanc 2009 and I couldn’t have been happier.

Ferrari Carano, Fume Blanc 2009 showed floral, citrusy nose with lemon rind and a hint of butter. On the palate I found orange peel, lemon drops, and a bit of slate with brisk acidity and a citrusy fresh finish that was incredibly long.

In the end, I can see why Hemenway’s is said to have the best seafood in Providence. I know I’ll be going back on my next trip through.

To check out the website for Hemenway's, click here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Little Italy of Providence, Rhode Island

My first full day in Providence, Rhode Island found me walking through downtown, the historic district, and finally over to Federal Hill, Atwells Ave., which is the little Italy of Providence. Amazing to think how many times I’ve driven through Providence on my way to Boston and never realized that this wonderful little corner of Italian culture existed here. Atwells Ave. is lined with restaurants, delis, and pastry shops, all with an Italian flair. Also along this strip I found Gasbarro’s Wines, a shop with a great selection of Italian gems and rarities, which is worth stopping at all on its own.

However, it was lunch that topped it all off. Going off a recommendation from Gasbarro’s, I made my way over to Venda Ravioli, an Italian specialties shop and grocer with an attached restaurant named Costantino's Ristorante & Caffe.

Found in a little plaza off of Atwells Ave., Costantino's Venda Ravioli is a shop I would love to live near. Everything you need to create an Italian dinner, cater an event or just grab lunch can be found in Venda Ravioli, along with a small army of employees working the deli counters and an attached kitchen that prepares the foods for both Venda Ravioli as well as Costantino’s.

Upon asking about lunch, I was escorted across the courtyard to an elegant dining room overlooking the plaza. The menu was well thought out with a number of selections that tempted me, but the one that got me was the Ravioli Gigante Sorpresa. (“giant surprise”). The surprise is that they don’t tell you what’s in the ravioli, but along with the recommendation from Gasbarro’s for the restaurant came especially high praise for the ravioli.

So what was in it? In this case, it was a mix of three different fillings. One was a simple but perfectly creamy and seasoned ricotta. It was made with romano and ricotta cheese, eggs, seasoned breadcrumbs and fresh parsley. Rich and enjoyable to the last bite, it mixed perfectly with the sage butter sauce that accompanied the plate. Next was crabmeat with bitter greens. This was perfectly good on its own, but a little odd to my palate with the sage butter. Lastly, I had pumpkin ravioli, one of my absolute favorites, and this one was firing on all cylinders. Rich and creamy with a cedar spicy twang, it mixed perfectly with the sage butter.

If there was one thing that I would like to see added to this menu, it’s a larger selection of wines by the glass. However, this was a minor issue since I was perfectly happy with a simple prosecco.

I highly recommend visiting Federal Hill on your next visit or drive through Rhode Island; any lover of anything Italian will enjoy it. On to more food and wine in Providence, but I’m happy knowing that I will be returning to Atwells Ave. to attend a tasting and dinner at the Blue Grotto this weekend… More to follow.

To check out the website for Gasbarro's wines, click here. (Unfortunately, they do not have their inventory online.)
To check out the website for Costantino's Venda Ravioli, click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An amazing tasting posted on a sad day.

Let me first say that I had not originally intended to include this tasting at The V.I.P. table. I find it hard for the majority of people to read through such a large amount of notes unless they already own these bottles. But today, there was some sad news in the world of online wine, the news that the Robert Parker Wine forums will be closed to all but subscribers. (hence alienating a massive amount of members that I have been happy to call my friends.) And so, I choose to post this here so that it can remain public. I will continue to post at Parker as a subscriber but I will say that I honestly feel this is a mistake on their part. I hope one day they'll realize and not allow pride to get in the way of rectifying that mistake.

Now, I'll step down from my soap box so we can talk about one of the most amazing tastings I have ever attended.

March 28th Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia dinner at Maialino

Giacomo Conterno is without a doubt one of the greatest producers of Barolo. Currently, in the capable hands of Roberto Conterno, this winery continues to produce Barolo in a traditional style, which is unrivaled by its many peers. These are Baroli intended to age and be enjoyed over decades. The flagship bottle being Monfortino, a wine that is often described as monumental, however it comes with a hefty price tag. The second bottle from Giacomo Conterno is: Cascina Francia, a reference point Barolo that is still head and shoulders above the rest. Not cheap, but usually a third of the cost of the great Monfortino.

The tasting, documented below, was hosted and organized by Greg dal Piaz. We each brought our own bottles to complete a vertical from 1988 – 2005, with a 1971 mixed in. Many of the attendants brought more than their share, and for that I am very grateful. It was an awesome evening of some of the best Baroli I’ve ever tasted.

The quick an easy rundown for those looking for instant gratification on a 100 point scale.
1971 Giacomo Conterno, Barolo –91
1988 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 96
1989 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 98
1990 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 95
1993 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 89
1994 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 89
1995 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 92
1996 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 96
1997 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – Flawed
1998 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 93
1999 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 93
2000 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 92
2001 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 95
2003 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 88
2004 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 92
2005 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – 89

On to the notes:

Flight 1: Served solo since it's not sourced from the Cascina Francia vineyard.

1971 Giacomo Conterno, Barolo – Maybe a bit past its prime, but still performing beautifully, this 1971 shows undergrowth, tar and minerals up front with of hint of its sour red fruits from days past. On the palate, I found sour berries and cedar leading to a sweeter mid-palate and overall soft mouth feel. The finish was pleasant with old cedar and sour raspberry.

Flight 2: One of the most anticipated flights and surely the crowd’s favorite. Served with an assorted dried meats and fresh breads.

1988 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The nose immediately showed mint with saddle leather and dark red fruit. On the palate is where this wine scored a lot of points, as it showed a resolved and velvety, round mouth feel with cherry, herbs, roses and hint of burnt sugar. The finish was long and tapered away with red fruit and rose. This was one of my top three of the evening, coming in third place for me.

1989 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The nose showed dried red fruits, tar, mushroom broth, a bit of black strap molasses and a hint of barnyard. It also showed a gorgeous structure on the palate that gives the impression that this wine will last for the ages. Still a little tight with a tannic grip, but nonetheless giving with dark red fruit and a mineral core. The finish was long and fine, showing sour cranberry. This was the wine of the night for me, and it was my favorite bottle of this flight.

1990 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – This was darker than the ’89 and it showed an initial nose of undergrowth and brooding dark red fruit. The palate was like an iron wall to me, giving enough to be highly enjoyable but still needing time to come around. The tannins and acidity formed a tightly structured mouth feel with cedar and red fruit. I know that a number of other tasters were very impressed by this bottle, and it certainly has a long life ahead, but I feel it was dwarfed standing next to the perfectly structured ’89 and the immediately appealing ’88. However, I suppose the true testament to its quality is that I turned around and bought another bottle for future enjoyment.

This was a really amazing flight and it was a great idea to enjoy these oldest to youngest so we could truly appreciate these three beauties.

Flight 3: Although these were lesser vintages, the wines showed nicely and make for very drinkable Baroli. The most difficult part of this flight was that the pasta it was served with was heavily laden with pepper, making the finish of each wine nearly undetectable for me.

1993 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – There was cherry fruit on the nose and it was a bit spicy with clove. The palate was a little one-dimensional but still enjoyable with mint, strawberry fruit and herbal tea with honey.

1994 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – Menthol and tar hit you first on the nose with a bit of cherry fruit. On the palate, this showed round and juicy red fruit but it turned very drying through the finish.

1995 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – I find a lot of ‘95s to be just entering their drinking windows and this was a perfect example. On the nose I found strawberry, rose and, with a little probing, sage with a bit of beefy broth. The palate showed more strawberry with sweet tobacco and mineral earthiness. This was my favorite bottle of this flight and a great bottle to source if at the right price.

Flight 4: Another highly anticipated flight for me. The 1996 vintage being one of my favorite vintages for Barolo and the ’98 being a wine I hoped to see perform well, I was not disappointed. This was served with a choice of Bombolotti alla Carbonara (a pasta dish with black pepper, guanciale & egg) or Maccheroni in Guazzetto (a pasta dish with cod, basil & tomato.

1996 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – This brought about a floral nose with roses up front, followed by cherry with beef broth and tar. The palate showed lots of cherry fruit, pipe tobacco and earth, but it was all kept in check by a fine structure with streamlined acidity. I can see this wine being a classic as it leaves you lusting to taste it in a more mature state. The finish is refined and reminiscent of the roses on the nose. This was my number two of the evening: God what a gorgeous Barolo. This was my favorite bottle of this flight and I would recommend buying this on sight.

1997 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The 1997 came across as a flawed bottle or possibly better explained as a dirty wine. The nose showed a lot of earthy chalk and potato skin. On the palate, the performance was good but lacking, likely due to the aromatics being so out of whack. The palate showed ripe dark red fruit, tar, and was a bit chunky.

1998 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The nose was big and inviting with black cherry, anise and a hint of cinnamon. Drinking beautifully now with a fine structure and almost pinot like feel in the mouth it’s a very pretty wine that flows across the palate with sweet cranberry and roses. It leaves you feeling almost… refreshed. This was one of the most open wines of the evening.

Flight 5: This unfortunately resulted in some of the least detailed notes of the evening for me, as my palate was coated by tannins and overwhelming rosemary notes of our main course, which was Porchetta, a slow-roasted pork dish with rosemary & potatoes

1999 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – I found the nose to be a bit muted but showing cherry and a bit of clove. On the palate, this showed a gorgeous structure with more cherry fruit. The fact is, this wine is still a baby and with proper aging it will one day emerge from it’s shell and be amazing.

2000 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The nose was big and ripe with black cherries, earth, and a bit of raw beef. The palate was soft and full-bodied with dark red fruits, red beets and minerals that all turned a little sweet on the mid-palate and led to a slightly tannic finish. I certainly don’t see this lasting decades but it was enjoyable and a good candidate for drinking in five years plus.

2001 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – Another favorite of the evening for me, this was a beautifully structured Barolo showing a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. The nose was very floral with roses, cherry, leather and old cedar. On the palate, I found a fine structure with a slightly sour cherry fruit fighting to come out with sweet tobacco and a nice balanced acidity to the wine. This was my favorite bottle of this flight.

Flight 6: One of the strangest flights for me as it became hard to understand how these would ever rival the majority of the wines we had sampled throughout the evening. However, that can often be the case with young wines such as these. I will also say, that by this time, I’m sure my palate was saturated by the tannic structure of the wines preceding this flight.

2003 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – The 2003 showed big briary red fruit, cinnamon, herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with a little heat. The palate showed sweet, spiced red fruit and raisin but was chewy with cloying tannins. It was a textbook example of the 2003 vintage and it left me wondering if I was drinking Barolo from a traditional producer.

2004 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – Honestly, I don’t get all the hype. Not to say this isn’t a great Barolo, but from what the critics said, this should have been earth moving. The nose showed red fruit, undergrowth and a bit of toast. On the palate, I found strawberry, cooked orange like marmalade and tar but felt that it lost its heft on the mid-palate and ended feeling linier, restrained and a bit alcoholic. Possibly this is just the stage of its life but certainly not performing very well at the moment. This was my favorite bottle of this flight, with hopes of future potential based on its structure.

2005 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia – On the nose I found menthol, undergrowth and sour cherry with rose and an odd bit of graham cracker. The palate was tight but focused with strawberry fruit, cedar and tar but with a tannic bite keeping it all restrained. I found this to be a little lighthearted for a Barolo.

In the end, this tasting proved to me without a doubt, that Cascina Francia is the reference point Barolo it is often acclaimed to be. Rivaled only by a select few and truly capable of achieving heights, with proper aging, that very few will ever reach. If you are looking for a Barolo to put away and enjoy for decades to come, for a child's birth year, a wedding anniversary or just for your own future enjoyment - Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia is an obvious choice.

To find these bottles on Wine-Searcher, click here!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Painting the town Chocolate!

The place to be in New York City on April 3rd 2010 was not at some exclusive club or a red carpet event: in fact, it wasn't even in Manhattan. The place to be on April 3rd 2010 was in Brooklyn, across from the Brooklyn Museum at a chocolate party organized and executed by amateur chef Geneviéve Leloup. Oh yes, did I mention that she's from Belgium? Who better to make these chocolate culinary creations come to life?

Now, if your mind has suddenly taken you to thinking of simple samples of fine chocolate and sweet dishes gingerly laid out for the taster’s enjoyment, STOP. Instead, imagine a party centered on every manifestation of chocolate imaginable. Savory, salty and sweet all prepared with skill by a hostess so passionate about chocolate and delightful to know and speak to that you'd never want to leave.

Geneviéve Leloup's culinary education started in one of the best schools possible: her Mother's kitchen. The daughter of a masterful cook and professional baker, Geneviéve would spend as much time as possible learning the tricks of the trade. As an avid traveler and student of all things art, Geneviéve would later collect knowledge and recipes through friends she's made around the world. She added these recipes to a book, which serves as collection of recipes, friends and culinary memories of her life, which she still uses to this day. Today, Geneviéve spends more time developing her own recipes from the lessons she has learned, and the results are spectacular.

Upon entering the party, I was overtaken by an aromatic wave of all things chocolate. What was once a kitchen had been transformed into an exhibit of artful, edible delicacies. A chocolate olive tapenade wafted aromas of the Mediterranean into the air. On the stove, the Cincinnati Chili simmered away and assaulted my senses with smells of Christmas and spice. All throughout the apartment, in every corner and on every table, I found unique and exciting things to eat, each and every one of them made in some part with chocolate. It was an experience that each guest will always remember. The best part? I convinced Genevieve to share both her favorite and my favorite recipes of the evening with you.

What's Genevieve's favorite dish? Goat cheese with cocoa nibs, garlic, honey and ginger.

By mixing the bitter, dark crushed cocoa nibs with the soft palate coating goat cheese, you find a push and pull of texture and depth that can be enjoyed over and over again. The sweet hint of honey and ginger syrup adds a second layer of flavor that cuts the slightly dry feel of the cheese and cocoa nibs and is balanced by the garlic and herbs which work to pull you back to reality. It's a heavenly flavor and texture combination that must be tasted to truly understand.

4 Tbls. raw cacao beans
11 oz. log of goat cheese
½ clove of garlic (fine mince)
Herbes de Provence (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1Tbsp liquid honey
1Tbsp ginger syrup (out of a bottle of preserved ginger)
1 baguette.

Crush about 4Tbsp raw cacao beans to make the cacao nibs. (An easy trick is to use a coffee grinder.)

Put the goat cheese into a bowl, soften it and mix in the cacao nibs. Add the garlic, some Herbes de Provence, and pepper (to taste).

Add the honey and ginger syrup, and mix well. Once combined, reshape into a log.

Because the flavors will continue to emerge over time, it is best to make it a day ahead.

When serving, sprinkle the log with some finely crushed cacao nibs or dust with cacao powder.

Serve with thin slices of baguette.

What was my favorite dish? Geneviève's Cincinnati Chili.

As difficult as the choice was to make, I found myself going back to Genevieve's Cincinnati Chili again and again. This isn’t anything like your average chili. It’s autumnal in a way and reminds me of all the things I love about fall and the holidays. The allspice and cinnamon mixed with the cocoa give it a depth of flavor that you only experience when eating the finest dark chocolate. The Chipotle takes on a spicy sweetness that is tantalizing on the palate and leaves behind a pleasant amount of heat on the finish. Each bite is just as good as the first and the texture is amazing. As I tested this recipe, I found that the most difficult thing about it was stopping myself from eating it right then and there.

The craziest part about this recipe is how insanely simple it is to make, yet how sinfully delicious it is to eat. When you read it, you may be tempted to add conventional chili preparations, but I urge you to fight that temptation and try it just as it is. Make sure to make this a day in advance to let the flavors truly come together over night.

First additions
1-quart water
2 pounds lean raw ground beef
2 large onions small dice

Second additions
2 (6oz.) cans tomato paste
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper (The chili is not too hot but you can cut this in half, if you want less heat.)
3 Tbls. chili powder
½ tsp. Chipotle powder
2-½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Bay leaves
2 ½ Tbls Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)

Last addition
40 grams 70% dark chocolate (chopped)

Sour Cream
2 Tbls. Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

Have all of your ingredients measured out.

In a large saucepot over medium high heat, add the water, ground beef and onions. With a spoon, break up the beef as the water comes up to a boil. It’s important for the beef to be completely broken up.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, add all the ingredients from the second addition, stir to combine completely and return the pot to a boil. Once it returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer (uncovered) and set your timer for 2 ½ hours.

Throughout this time, make sure to stir the mixture every 15 to 20 minutes. Assure that the chili is not sticking to the bottom of the pan, and if it is, consider lowering the burner.

When there is a half hour left on the timer, take a small pot and fill 1/3 with water. Place a metal bowl over the pot and turn the flame under this pot to the lowest setting (hence creating a double boiler). Be careful, as the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

When there is about 15 minutes left on the timer, add the chopped 70% chocolate to the bowl. Stir constantly and keep the chocolate from the sides or it may burn. Once the chocolate has melted completely, remove the bowl from the pot and place to the side.

Turn off the flame under the chili, and pour the melted chocolate into the pot. Stir to combine. Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

To plate, prepare a plate with sour cream and tortilla chips. Ladle a healthy dose of chili onto the plate and garnish with your choice of chopped parsley or cilantro. Clean the rims of your plates with a warm moist towel and serve.

Need wine pairings for your Cincinnati Chili? I tested this recipe with a group of tasters and the two wines below were easily up to the challenge.

A Mano Primitivo, Prima Mano 2006This wine shows a dark purple color with aromas of blueberry, crushed fall leaves, animal musk and caramel rising from the glass. On the palate, it shows a full body with an excess fruit but excellent acidity which keeps this from ever being overwhelming. Cherry, prune and a long finish is present with raisin and mulling spices. This primitivo stood tall next to the Cincinnati Chili, as its rich fruit accentuated the allspice and cinnamon while providing a finish rich enough to handle the residual heat of the chipotle and cayenne pepper.

Pure Love, Layer Cake Shiraz 2008The nose is fresh and bright with sweet brambly berries, cedar and a hint of forest floor. On the palate, you find rich raspberry jam, cinnamon and vanilla with a finish that hints at milk chocolate. With all of these sweet and rich descriptors you’d expect this wine to be overdone, but the true beauty of it is that it comes off as refreshing and satisfying.

For those of you who have still not reached your chocolate fill, the pictures below are sure to truly satisfy...

Savory Cream Cheese Bites

Chocolate Sandies with smoked salt

Lime Mint Chocolate Tartlets

Chocolate Fondue with a drop of Cognac

Chocolate Olive Tapenade

Chocolate Salami

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Beet Chocolate spread

Mole Pecans

Mole Carrots

Geneviéve Leloup is a designer, graphic artist, children's book illustrator, musician, amateur chef, and lover of all things chocolate!
For more information you can see her website

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chianti Classico for tonight... Or for the ages.

Do you love Chianti? I think we've all been there. It's probably the most purchased Italian red by the average consumer, but sooner or later you begin to realize that not all Chianti is created equal. In fact, once you realize the heights that can be reached in Chianti, you can never go back. What's more, a well made Chianti from a good vintage, can be aged and the results can be amazing.

Let me introduce you to Castello di Monsanto. A producer of some of the best "quality to price ratio" Chianti in existence. To the average consumer, a $17 bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva from Castello di Monsanto will put you on the road to understanding how good chianti can be.
A warning though, if it's an overripe fruit bomb you seek, read no further. However, if it’s the very essence of the vine, earth and verve of acidity that traditional Italian wine can reach, then this will be right up your alley.

2006 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva - This bottle is a great example of how time, exposed to air, can effect a wine. When first opened, it showed sour berries, leather, fall leaves and a hint of confectioners sugar on the nose. After two hours in the bottle, you find fig and ripe berries with cedar and undergrowth. With black cherries and wild berries on the palate, then rosemary, and a hint of cedar. The medium-long finish is juicy and fresh as it flaunts its brisk acidity and it keeps you coming back to the glass for more. (Find this wine on Wine Searcher) (average price $16.99)

As I said, these wines can age and, as a testament to this statement, I provided the note below, which discusses a bottle of the 1972 Chianti Classico Il Poggio that I recently enjoyed. In a word: captivating.

1972 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico (4/2/2010)
I pulled the cork to find a partially saturated bottom half that broke from the top but, luckily, I was able to remove it from the neck of the bottle. The wine was decanted, the bottle rinsed, and then poured back into the bottle where it was given one hour of air in bottle.

The bouquet is stunning and evolved over the course of another hour. When first poured this wine showed sun dried tomato, prune and a bit of ocean breeze. With time, strawberry and roses came up front with a hint of undergrowth and fall leaves. The palate was mid-weight, soft and velvety, completely resolved and drinking beautifully with fresh plum, earth and savory broth. The finish showed minerals and light strawberry fruit.

I don't see this improving but I wouldn't rush to finish my last bottle either. This may have passed its peak, but I can't imagine it being any better than it was last night.
(Find this wine on Wine Searcher)

So whether you're looking for a bottle of Chianti Classico for tonight or for the ages, I urge you to try Castello di Monsanto. You might just find yourself enjoying a perfectly aged bottle of the 2006, fifteen years down the road. I assure you, you'll be thanking me then.