Sunday, 5 August 2012

Castagna La Chiave 2009 + Arancini

Recently I have tasted my way through a fair amount of Sangiovese based wines and I have come up with a top 6.  Two of these wines are made by Julian Castagna which is a huge accolade for such a small winery.  What is his secret? I think it has something to do with Julian’s ability to manage his vineyard which he does along biodynamic practises. Is it biodynamics? No because I have tasted many wines that are produced from organic and biodynamic vineyards but they don’t stack up to Julian’s wines.  Julian some how manages to cram more flavour, balance and structure out of his grapes without letting the alcohol levels creep up. This man is a magician to put it simply.


These little orange risotto balls are similar to suppli but they originated from Sicily. You could serve these as an entrée or place them of a bed of rich tomato sauce as a main if you wish. I served this as an entrée which matched the lightness of Julian's wine brilliantly.  


Large pinch of quality Saffron
250 ml dry white wine
100 g butter
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
600 ml quality chicken stock, warm
1 handful of thyme
220 g arborio rice
60 g parmesan, grated
50 g mozzarella, cut into little cubes
vegetable oil for deep-frying

Leave saffron in the wine, while you prepare the onions and rice, for the flavours to seep out. Melt butter in a large deep pan and add onions and garlic. Cook until the onions go soft and then add in the rice and thyme.  Cook for 1 minute and add in the wine and saffron.  Stir frequently until the wine is absorbed and then add the chicken stock a cup at a time.  Always have enough moisture to cover the rice.  When the rice becomes creamy take the pan off the heat and add in the parmesan. Stir until the cheese is mixed through and then spread out the mixture on two trays and refrigerate for 3 hours. 

Heat the oil in a deep pan until it is very hot, 180 degrees. Roll the rice mixture into tight little golf size balls with a piece of cheese in the centre and then roll in breadcrumbs. Lower balls into the oil and leave until they become golden in colour. Pull them out and place on a paper towel before serving. 

Castagna La Chiave 2009

Light body? That is a roger so you will have to be careful what you serve this with. I had to leave this open for a few days so the sweet oak could move from taking centre stage to a more reserved back stage.  Once it did then the enjoyment factor raised a few levels. On day three cherry balm, cinnamon, polish wood and dry roasted herbs were the main players with dried cranberries being the support actress along with a bit of spice. The wine is fine almost like it is clothed in a luxurious silk suit but it doesn’t have the gorgeous factor like its Sangiovese/Shiraz brother. For such a tough year in Beechworth, this wine has so much going for it that I dear ask what the 2010 wine will be like.

Alcohol: 13%
Price: $75
Rated: 91+
Drink: 2017 - 2025

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