Fall into a super autumn with a Super Tuscan and Cannellini al Fiasco (recipe)

Fall. Is there a reason why it’s called “fall”? There’s already autumn; isn’t that enough to denote the season? Perhaps it’s called “fall” because it’s a time when we all “fall” back into a routine. With the kids back in school and vacations long past, our days, nights and weekends are overtaken by the steady hum of the daily routine.

But fall can be a time when you “fall” back into enjoying the long slants of the sun’s golden-yellow rays as the afternoons give way to the bright orange coloring of the autumn sunset. A season to “fall” back into conversations with friends and neighbors sitting around the backyard as the enveloping evening brings in the coolness of the season.

This autumn season “fall” back into something different. Grab the card table that’s in the garage, throw a cloth over it and get all the mixed-matched chairs you can find and put on a Tuscan feast right in your backyard. Light candles on the deck and around the walkways while you pour your guests the Tenuta di Castiglioni from Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. This wine is smooth and warming on the palate with lots of dark flavors. You will find that it rubs the tongue allowing all the flavors to be experienced by your palate.

The Tenuta di Castiglioni could be classified as a Super Tuscan as it is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Sangiovese. Certainly the wine is super! It has a purple-reddish color to it that captures glimmers of light. Imagine this beautiful color by candlelight on a crisp autumn night. You’ll want to close your eyes and inhale the lighter red fruit aromas that come wafting out of the glass first, then the dark cherry scents and just as you’re ready to exhale and open your eyes, a rich spiciness will hit your nose. For about 700 years, the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi has been cultivating vines and making wines in Tuscany and the years of experience come through each sip of wine you will take.

Your Tuscan feast should include salty Pecorino cheese, which will bring out the acidic backbone of the wine, and prosciutto, which will tame some of the spicy characteristics. Don’t forget the grilled portabella mushrooms. Put out small dishes filled with olive oil and basil and a big, chunky loaf of Italian bread. Your feast is ready. Make it a part of the autumn routine.

PS.  If you're looking for something a little warming for your outdoor Tuscan feast, make a pot of Cannellini al Fiasco. It will pair with the Tenuta di Castigliano while taking the fall chill off. By the way, "fiasco" means that the beans are cooked in a flask not that they are a fiasco. Since terra-cotta flasks aren't readily available around these parts, the recipe allows you to use a pot.

Cannellini al Fiasco

  • 2/3 lb. cannellini beans dried
  • 1 pinch of fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sage leaves
  • salt
  • pepper

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and place them in a pot along with garlic, sage, rosemary, oil and 2 cups of water.  Place the pot over a medium to medium-low heat and cook gently for three hours so that the water evaporates and the beans absorb the oil. Place them in a tureen; add some more oil, pepper and salt.

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