June 29th, 2010

Sarah Goes To Spinasse.

Dinner with Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole was a convivial affair. The Garagiste party took over half the restaurant. This is not a difficult accomplishment. The space is tiny. We came armed with an impressive line-up of Bolgheri wines. As the restaurant's atmosphere grew louder Jon and Cinzia circulated around the tables chatting about the wines and the northern reaches of Tuscany.

Dinner was served family style. Plump olives and crusty bread adorned the table early in the evening. Delicate slices of prosciutto, tripe with chickpeas in tomato sauce, and herbed crespele started the meal off with a bang The pasta course followed: golden strands of tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, gamey tajarin, and raviolis stuffed with beet greens and ricotta. The meal could have ended there. The pasta at Spinasse has been heralded since its doors opened. The main course arrived: herby rabbit meatballs, baby turnips with sauteed greens, roasted carrots, and the much exhalted milk braised pork.  We had heard rumors of the pork's greatness from Club Judo. The dish lived up to its hype.

Dessert was simple: gianduja gelato with cream and dark chocolate. The wines from Le Macchiole focus on traditional French varietals. While the winery is located closer to the coast than some of its Bolgheri neighbors the affects of the regions heat were evident in the wine's extraction and higher alcohol levels. To counter this all of the wines had higher than average acidity levels. The reds had plenty of tannins to add structure and balance.

Paleo Bianco 60% Sauvignon Blanc 40% Chardonnay

This blend is floral and fleshy with a nice roundness and a hint of spice thanks to the time spent in oak.

Paleo Rosso 100% Cabernet Franc

This is a much riper style of Cab Franc that was devoid of the expected greenness. It was slightly floral (violets) with ripe black cherries, cedar and tobacco notes.

2008 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah

This is a robust style of red with a powerful fruit forward palate. It tasted of raspberry, red currants, iodine, and wax.

2002 Le Macchiole Messorio 100% Merlot

This was the most integrated example of Messorio sampled. It was starting to take on secondary flavors of cigar box and tobacco, in addition to the cherry, black currant, Assam tea.

2003 Le Macchiole Messorio 100% Merlot

This was a fairly robust example of Merlot. It was the smokiest of the three with further flavors of tobacco, candle, cedar, dust, sour cherry, bacon, and Assam.

2006 Le Macchiole Messorio 100% Merlot

This was a bright young wine with some oak evident on the finish. It has a silky texture and tastes of red fruits: plums, cherries, currants.

2006 Le Macchiole Scrio 100% Syrah

This is a powerful wine that will need some time in bottle to stretch its legs. Like the Merlot it also had a smoky aroma with a floral element (rose) as well as flavors of chalk, cedar, tobacco, black currant, prune, and cherry.

2000 Le Macchiole Scrio 100% Syrah

The nose and palate were both muted with subtle flavors of herbs, cherry, raspberry.