Take it as red

TUSCAN cooking revolves around the hearth or roasting spit (Girarrosto) – the common name for a multitude of restaurants where chickens, suckling kids, pork and game are loaded perpetually on the large spits that hold the centre of attention.

Also common are squat, fat, almost teapot-like straw covered bottles known as a Fiasco, which contain the most famous wine of the region, Chianti.

Chianti, arguably Italy’s best-known wine style, is normally made up of a blend of three grapes, with 75 per cent of the mix a red grape known as sangiovese.

Sangiovese (San-gee-oh-vay`-say) has found grace in Australia as most proven grape varieties do and it is beginning to appear on labels in the market place.

Primo Estate winemaker and managing director Joe Grilli is enthusiastic about Italian grape varieties and their future in Australia.

Mr Grilli has produced his version of a sangiovese blend and added Barossa Shiraz to provide backbone and broad shoulders. Not entirely satisfied with a single Italian variety, he has included others, such as Barbera and Nebbiolo and some of the queen of grape varieties – cabernet sauvignon.

Called ‘il briccone’ (rouge), the red begs a bowl of richly sauced pasta or a mushroom risotto as company.

This humble wine is perfect with the Mediterranean foods served in most cafes. The sangiovese came from the nearby Barossa Valley and some from the south-eastern corner of South Australia. Mr Grilli describes his wine as a “lifestyle” wine and charges $20 a bottle.

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