Cooking to the Wine: Lammidia Anfora Rosso from Abruzzo & Pot Roast with Tomatoes and Chickpeas (#ItalianFWT)

 

We’re headed back to Italy today – virtually speaking anyways. Our bottle takes us to Abruzzo in central Italy. It’s due east of Rome, but to my understanding, it could be a world away from the crowds you find in the city.

It’s a rugged mountain region with Apennine mountains to the west and a long coast on the Adriatic sea. It's a rustically, beautiful area. (This CNN Article has me wanting to pack my bags.) It seems like an ideal spot for grape growing as well, and it does have a wine history that dates back to the 4th century BC. However, the winemaking suffered due to the area's isolation for a very long time. When the industry started to build back up during the last century, it unfortunately initially went towards bulk production. Happily, the area has put in a lot of effort to right the ship in the direction of more quality-driven wines.


It’s known for two main grapes: whites from Trebbiano, and reds from Montepulciano. (Although you will find a number of other grapes.) Today, we’ve got Montepulciano in the virtual wine glass.

It’s not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is Sangiovese based and comes from the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany. This is a grape named Montepulciano that is widely grown in Abruzzo, and can also be found in other areas of central and southern Italy. Actually, I take it back. There’s no way around it  – it is confusing.

The grapes tends to show nice, bright acidity with flavors of dusty cherries, plums, and herbs. It can also be pretty tannic, but they’re usually on the riper side. There are a lot of super ‘cheap and cheerful,’ easy drinkers made from this grape. Alternatively, they can go completely in the opposite direction and be deep, dark, and brooding.

Today’s wine doesn't quite fall into either camp. 



THE WINE




The Lammidia Anfora Rosso 2017 is a buddy wine. Winemakers Davide Gentile and Marco Giuliani have been friends since they were 3 years old and grew up together. Eventually, their paths took them in different directions, but they met up again while at university. They initially took different career paths (construction and consulting), but they’d both become interested in natural wines.

Then they took a crazy leap and decided to try making wines themselves. They do it all themselves, as they don’t have an agronomist, oenologist, or external technicians. Friends do lend a hand, but mostly it’s them. They experiment a lot, study, and talk to other winemakers. They also got comfortable with making and learning from mistakes. All fermentations are spontaneous and they don’t add anything to the wines, and don’t clarify the wines or filter.

They grow grapes on a few acres, and are working towards eventually using all their own fruit. Their Montepulciano comes from vineyards they’ve rented in Pescara. In the vineyards they only use a little sulfur and copper  . . . and are working on reducing what hey do use.

The story of their name is pretty fun too. Apparently, ‘mmidia’, is the evil eye in their dialect in  Abruzzo. The wise women in the region still perform ancient rituals to get rid of them. On their site, they say: “When we made the wine for the first time, the fermentation did not start; grandmother Antonia helped us, performing this ritual for us. A few minutes later, the fermentation started unstoppably.” Since then they have the ritual performed before every harvest.

 


This wine is a little bit outside the norm for the region in that it was fermented it in amphora. (Since the wine falls outside the appellation regulations, this isn’t labeled as a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but it is 100% Montepulciano.)  On their website they describe making the 2015 this way:
Pressed with the feet, left to ferment with the skins for 2 weeks with a submerged cap, then pressed and fermented in the terracotta amphorae! Compared to other years, we have chosen to give it more peel, so more tannins and depth ... We can say that we made an "elegant" wine!?!?!?

On the day we tasted it, Greg and I picked up notes of warm earth, red flowers, and cherries on the nose. Everything was bright, but like it was warmed in the sun and some of the fruit had become a touch candied. More savory notes joined in on the palate with sun dried tomato paste, roasted balsamic herbs, oregano, and a little game left slightly bloody. There was also a little citrus peel that gave it a lift. Greg also picked up some cranberry and tomato leaf.  It got brighter and smoother with air, and a touch of smoke emerged. It was medium bodied, with medium + acidity, and medium tannins. 


Overall, there was a refined rusticity to the wine. It wasn't big and brooding, but it was also far too complex to be thought of as 'cheap and cheerful.'
 

 

THE PAIRING

Given that the wine had a juicy quality to the fruit, but there were also so many savory, herby, notes to wine, we wanted something meaty, but not at the super heavy end of the spectrum. I opted for a pot roast made in our Instant Pot.



Rather than working in some of the more heavy items you might normally add to a pot roast, like root vegetables, I instead went with chickpeas. Beyond that, most of the other ingredients are also pantry items making it extra convenient. I also decided to leave the sauce/jus on the light end to match the weight of the wine.

Just to round things out, I decided to take advantage of Trader Joe’s prepackaged Antipasto Mediterranean Vegetables for convenience.

The pairing was seamless between the wine and the food. The weight of the wine matched the weight of the dish as we'd hoped and all the delicious, savory elements were highlighted in both. Greg noted that it showed a lot of finesse.

The pot roast was tasty right off the bat, but it definitely got even better the next day. I took the rest of the leftovers and shredded them up to make a kind of ragu. I froze it in portions and it was also delicious to top pasta and spaghetti squash. It's definitely worth making a big batch!




OTHER POSSIBILITIES


For another wine option, choose medium to medium+ bodied red wines with savory notes.

Lighter styles of Montepulciano are easy options for pizza and simple pastas, where deep versions can pair with richer, braised dishes.


This Wine Folly post has a lot of good ideas for pairings with Montepulciano. 




THE GEEKY DETAILS


From the Zev Rovine Wines website:

Region: Abruzzo
Grape: Montepulciano
Vineyard Size: 1 hectare
Soil: clay, limestone
Average Age of Vines: 25 years
Farming: mixed
Harvest: by hand
Winemaking: destemmed, 3 week fermentation on skins
Aging: in amphora
Fining: none
Filtration: none
Added S02: none


According to their website they're organic, biodynamic, natural , and vegan,  although I can't tell if they're certified.


MONEY TALK


Wine Searcher has this wine listed at an average price of  $39.  I can’t recall exactly how much I purchased the wine for, but I got it at Verjus in San Francisco and that's about the right ballpark.  (This is a super fun wine bar with a shop section, by the way. Definitely recommend!) It’s a little bit of an Oddball and an Attainable Indulgence.
 








Yield: 8 to 10
Author:

Pot Roast with Tomatoes and Chickpeas in an Instant Pot

prep time: 15 Mcook time: 1 H & 20 Mtotal time: 1 H & 35 M

ingredients:

  • 2.5 to 3 lbs chuck roast
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes (I used a version that had fire roasted chiles in the mix)
  • 1 14.5-oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 16 oz chicken stock (even water will work in a pinch)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

instructions:

How to cook Pot Roast with Tomatoes and Chickpeas in an Instant Pot

  1. Set your Instant Pot (or other multicooker) to the sauté setting.
  2. While it’s warming up, season the beef well with salt and pepper. Once the pot is warmed up, add a drizzle of cooking oil to the Instant Pot. Add the beef to the pot and sear as best you can on all sides. Transfer the beef to a seperate plate.
  3. Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté for about five to seven minutes or until they’re beginning to soften.
  4. Deglaze  the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Add in the garlic, tomato paste, and the flour. Stir together to combine and let it cook for another minute or so. Add in the tomatoes, chickpeas, oregano, and the stock. Add the meat back to the pot. Put the lid on and set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour.
  5. After the roast is done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 to 20 minutes, or release manually according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the lid and allow beef to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with the chickpeas and veggies.
Created using The Recipes Generator


Photo credit on all the pairing pics to Greg Hudson.


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The rest of the Italian Food, Wine, Travel blogging group is also exploring Abruzzo. If you catch this early enough you can join in our Twitter chat by following #ItalianFWT at 11 am ET/ 8 am PT on 10/5/19.

If you're interested in learning a little more about the region, this month's host, David from Cooking Chat, also put together 9 Things to Know About Abruzzo Wine.


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Additional Sources and Reading

Wine-Searcher.com 
The Oxford Companion via JancisRobinson.com 
And


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3 comments

  1. You can never have to many pot roast recipes. Yours sounds amazing Nicole.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting, I need to check out this winery :-) I have never tasted anything from them yet. Anphora is getting more and more common for fermentation and maturation.

    ReplyDelete

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