Saturday, October 17, 2009

Santa Marta Salusrti Tuscany Montecucco Sangiovese 2004 DOC and my Prickly Moses Beef and Potato Pie's

Vineyards of Santa Marta

There is not more important factor than the weather when it comes to producing great wine. The wine maker can be as famous as they want to be, but if they do not get a decent growing season, you can kiss goodbye all those glowing reviews they had been counting on. The final month is probably the most fraught with stress to the wine maker; when is the right time to pick? Can I leave the fruit out for just one more week? Will that rain band alter its course and miss my fruit?

Just one hot day at the end of the growing season can push the potential alcohol up in fruit by up to 2% which can effectively change the style of wine that was intended to be made. In Tuscany in 2003, the vintage after the hottest on record of 2002, growers were faced with this dilemma in late September with their Sangiovese. Ultra dry and hot weather hit the area in the last week of September and pretty much wiped out the fruit for that year to a lot of growers. So in 2004, growers were so vigilant in this period that they had picking crews on standby if the celsius got over 28°. With added bunch and shoot thinning in this season, 2004 eventuated as the most stressful for some years in Tuscany, but the stress paid off with many saying the 2004 vintage as the best since the great vintage of 1997.
One of the great wines to come out of this vintage is the Santa Marta Salusrti Montecucco Sangiovese 2004 DOC. Yet another gem purchased from Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick, this wine shows all the hallmarks of coming from a superior year, with just a touch of ripeness telling me that they got the fruit of just in time I’d say. This wine however was not an impulse purchase; I needed something that had great acid structure with fine and tart fruit layers in it for my stout chuck steak and potato pie.

Like most meals I prepare, plenty of time is needed as the chuck steak needs about three and half hours to braise with the spuds. So here is how you do it:
· 500 grams of good stewing beef
· Good oil
· 750mL of stout, Prickly Moses for this one
· Water
· Three Desiree potatoes, peeled and diced
· Two cloves of garlic, crushed
· Three shallots, cut fine
· Puff pastry, baked in oven

As I said, the meat needs to be braised for about three and a half hours, so brown the beef in a pot and add stout and water and bring to boil. The mix will head up quite a bit so keep an eye on it. Once it has boiled, bring to simmer and add the remaining ingredients and stir every 15 minutes. Once you have the braise, spoon in to bowls and cover with the pastry. Bake to a desired puffiness.

Imogen in Action.... literally

A good fun thing to do with the kids is to cut out the starting letter of their names in pastry and put it on top of the layer of pastry. This is an easy way to get your children to eat their meal because they have some sort of ownership in the making of it, that’s what happened with Imogen anyway.
Now the wine. Very Sangiovese in the glass, with a clear translucency about it with a ruby red/pinkish hue. The nose is all prickly fir and morello cherry with a little hint of prunes. Very savoury acid in the mouth that builds to red fruit right at the end. This wine also had about 30 minutes in the decanter before dinner.

Like I said, you get a good growing season you get good fruit and in the end good fruit equals good wine, and this Sangiovese is great and a definite Susan with my pie’s.

Drink till 2025
Drink with my stout beef pie
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $30 at Mediterranean Wholesalers, Brunswick


  1. My pie was absolutely delicious and I hope we get to have them again soon. Just one question - how come YOU got to eat Henry's the next day and I didn't get any??

  2. I love your literacy strategy with Imogen! Taking every opportunity with pre-reading strategies is a huge bonus for kids. The pie looks yum as well!

  3. If you think the pies look yummy, wait till you try Tim's Calabrian pasta!

    Mum xx