The other night, I had a sudden and unstoppable urge to make lasagna. We took it down to my grandparents the following day, and were eating the pasta together when my dad called from the other side of the country. He was making lasagna too. Although thousands of miles separate us, you just can’t break the bond of pasta and tomato sauce.
Grandma likes her vino, so to go with the lasagna I chose a bottle of my favorite Tuscan wine, Tolaini’s Al Passo. This wine is technically designated an “IGT Toscana”, however the grapes are grown on the estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the heart of Chianti Classico. Since the wine is a of the blend of 85% Sangiovese, and 15% Merlot, this is technically a very serious Chianti Classico. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the wine is DOCG recognized or not. This wine is delicious, and authentic, no matter what you call it.
Like all of Tolaini’s wines, the nose is pure Tuscany- sunny, warm, red cherries and a the typical edge of graphite and clay. On the palate the Al Passo is elegant, full of bright fruit, a perfectly balanced acidity and those lovely, perky tannins along the outside of the tongue. This is the wine you want to drink with pasta, pomodoro sauce, cheese, meats; just about anything!
Of course, what good Italian-American meal ends with anything but Cannoli? My sister
provided the dolci- complete with absolutely the BEST Cannoli filling ever. Mascarpone, Ricotta, vanilla, all perfectly sweetened and highlighted by just a kiss of dark rum. Thank you Kristin, for reminding my how much I love this simple dessert.
I am Italian-American, and I spent the first 30 years of my life proudly bearing the Bonfiglio surname. Sometimes I think being Italian-American has defined me, made me who I am, and given me this inexplicable draw to Italian wine and food. Then I look around and see this same passion for Italian culture in people from other ethnic backgrounds and I am convinced it’s just Italy that draws us to her, embracing us all with a mother’s open arms.