March 28, 2008

Combinations – A Wine for Steak and Mushroom Pie

By Andrew Barrow In Food and Wine, Wine Notes
Caiarossa 2004 Tuscany, Italy and Steak and Mushroom PieTo be honest just about any decent red wine would go with this puff pastry topped Steak and Mushroom Pie. The herby flavours, juicy meat and buttery pastry is food-friendly to the core. Personally I prefer something with a little weight and a tannic back-bone (as opposed to something softer and easy drinking) which edges the wine choice to an old-world bottle.

The recipe is another of African Vanielje’s creations. I just couldn’t face making my own puff pastry (especially as the ready-made stuff is just so good) but followed the instructions pretty well (apart from serving the peas separately). I do wish I had included some kidneys though; the texture contrast, in addition to more depth and complexity to the flavour, makes for an improved dish I believe. That is not to say this version lacked anything!
The wine eventually selected was Italian.

Red WineWine Tasting Note: Caiarossa, 2004, Tuscany, Italy
Available from Berry Brothers for £33
They have packed a massive amount into this bottle – not only the mix of eight grape varieties – but also a heck load of tannin and flavoursome, full, powerful fruit. It benefited from several hours opening (in fact 24 hours!) which then showed so much more on the nose and to the flavour. Delicious, individualistic, complex and very long lasting in flavour. Plentiful tannins mind! Therefore, a food wine. Simply delicious with the Steak and Mushroom pie.

The grape mix is quite amazing too – Merlot (33%), Sangiovese (22%). Its well honed tannic structure is given by the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (18%). There are also small quantities of Petit Verdot (6%), Alicante (3%), Syrah (2%) and Mourvèdre (1%). Alcohol 15%.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

Immersed in nature and its silence, Caiarossa, situated in the heart of the Val di Cecina, on the Tuscan coast, exists within its own area of unspoiled beauty. A winding, country road, keeps the estate hidden, until the final curve when the winery unexpectedly reveals itself, perched on the side of the hill, surrounded by its fourteen hectares of vineyards.
The location of this estate is part of its attraction, giving the sensation that one is the first to discover the property. Yet, Caiarossa, with its sensations of subtle luxuriousness, has existed since 1998. Prior to this, there was just the old manor house and the red, gravelly soil after which the estate has been named. What exists today has been created from the land, from nature, from the region’s history and the adoption of a philosophy that harmoniously combines the forces of earth, grape and man.

The fruits of this labour are two red IGT Tuscan wines, Caiarossa and Pergolaia. Both unconventional blends in which, despite local tradition, Sangiovese does not play the only leading role. Eleven different grape varieties make up this vineyard, each one planted on an appropriate soil, highlighting the complexity of the land.

For the rest, what shaped Caiarossa was not everyday logic but vision; the desire to create a true oasis in which to live and make wine, the Tuscan dream linking not only beauty and simplicity but also simplicity and value. In 2004 Caiarossa was acquired by Eric Albada Jelgersma, a Dutch entrepreneur with a great passion for wine and also the owner of Château Giscours and Château du Tertre – two Grand Crus classé in Margaux, Bordeaux.”

There are currently two Caiarossa wines, both IGT Tuscan reds. This multi-grape wonder is the flagship being a cuvée of the best grapes of the year. The second wine is Pergolaia, and is predominantly Sangiovese, in keeping with the regions’ wine-making tradition.

Caiarossa 2004, Tuscany, Italy and Steak and Mushroom Pie 2

  1. african vanielje March 28, 2008

    Andrew, thanks for trying out this recipe. I agree with you, I love kidneys. Alas, I stand alone on this issue in our family, hence the mush & peas. Your pictures are amazing and that sounds like a fantastic wine. I have added a link to my post so hopefully anyone wanting to make the dish (or something similar) can learn from your notes. Thanks again. Inge

  2. Andrew March 28, 2008

    Thanks Inge – I should just state that I didn’t realise quite how pricy the wine was until after I did the tasting, ate the food and wrote the details. I should also stress that £33 is not my usual budget for a wine – was delicious though.

  3. noble pig March 30, 2008

    Love the photos, they make this dinner look delicious! Thank you for sharing your efforts.

  4. andrew April 1, 2008

    thanks Noble Pig – glad you like the pictures


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