Pairing: Tuscan Roast Chicken with 2008 Arcanum Valadorna Toscana
Food: Most of the time, we plan out what we want to eat over the course of a week, then decide which wine in our inventory would make for a good pairing. Occasionally, however, we start with a wine that we have been looking forward to drinking and construct a dinner that we think will showcase the wine particularly well. The Arcanum Valadorna has been sleeping quietly in our cellar for a few years. It seemed that now might be a good time to enjoy it. Knowing that the wine is from Tuscany, we looked for flavors that help define that local cuisine. Chicken is a good canvas to work with, especially a home-grown hen. Rosemary, garlic, olive oil, and lemon all are staple ingredients in a Tuscan kitchen. So we made a paste using a generous amount of chopped fresh rosemary (about 3T), garlic (4 cloves), olive oil, salt and pepper. Tucked some of the paste under the skin of the breast and thighs, and rubbed the rest all over the outside of the chicken and sprinkled it with some additional salt and pepper. We then stuffed the cavity with four sprigs of fresh rosemary and a quartered lemon (squeeze each quarter a little bit before putting each in). Roast at 425F for an hour (check after 45 minutes and bast with some of the juices). Let stand for about 15 minutes while you make a simple sauce with the pan juices, a bit of wine, and a little butter. Mind-blowing how good the chicken is prepared this way!
Wine: Speaking of mind-blowing, we now come to the Arcanum Valadorna. It could be said that this wine defines a Super Tuscan, or at the very least is a wonderful exemplar. 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, both key components of French Bordeaux, which the Italians are showcasing in a Super Tuscan. Some Tuscan winemakers would say that they are showing up the French by beating them at their own game (but I’m not going to go there!). Arcanum’s vineyards are located in the southeast corner of the Chianti Classico wine region, bordering the ancient town of San Gusmé not far from the city of Siena. The Arcanum website linked below showcases the stunning estate, vineyards, wines, and region.
Tasting: Wow … where to begin. First note that this wine benefits from decanting about 1.5 hours before the meal. Medium to dark ruby in color. One gets leather, black currant, chocolate and coffee on the nose. The palate presents flavors of sweet red cherries, red currants, rich earth, and spices. The extraordinary depth and layers of flavors are what stand out in this wine. One can almost sense the rosemary from the chicken on the finish. Anyone who has been to Tuscany surely catches the overwhelming smell of rosemary in the air. Hedges of this herb are everywhere … an important part of the terroir. This is a very special wine … perhaps to be served on a very special occasion. One of the best wines we have tasted.
Other Foods That Pair Well with This Wine: Grilled Meats (especially Steak), Roast Lamb, Roast Pork, Pasta with Meat Sauce
Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Chianti Classico, Brunello, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Red Bordeaux (especially Saint-Émillion)
Read About: http://www.arcanumwine.com
A Source: www.wine.com