Recently I had the pleasure of dining at Ai Fiori, one of the best Italian restaurants in NYC with the Producer of Mazzoni wines: Alessandro Bindocci. He is charming, passionate, and knowledgable of food and wine pairings, so you know we had a ton to talk about!
MAZZONI is owned by two distinguished winemaking families. The Franceschi (Montalcino) and Terlato (Napa). This partnership has flourished for more than 30 years with each family bringing its expertise in the given industry. While the Franceschi family has produced stunning Brunello di Montalcino for generations, the famous Napa Valley Merlots created by the Terlato family are widely recognized among the best in the world today, making this partnership that much more exciting.
Sangiovese is the quintessential Tuscan grape, and that’s what Mazzoni produces well. The winery also produces other popular varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Merlot.
Speaking with Alessandro was such a joy. We talked about our favorite ares in Italy, foods, how impressed I was with the Vermentino Chardonnay blend, as well as the current and previous vintages. For the first course I enjoyed the 2014 Pinot Grigio and 2014 Vermentino Chardonnay blend side by side paired with Lobster Velouté and Black Truffles. The pinot grigio’s acidity paired beautifully with the creaminess of the soup, while highlighting but not overtaking the truffles, vice versa. Notes of citrus and minerality make this pinot grigio one of my top favorites of all time! As for the fruity and powerful chardonnay viognier blend, this wine was striking with tropical fruit notes. It did pair nicely with the soup, however a burrata and beet salad, ceviche, or even poached shrimp would have also paired wonderfully with the wine. I will admit, I fell in love with the vermentino blend and absolutely could picture this as a perfect poolside wine, brunch wine, or daily spring/summer sip.
Up next were the reds: a 2012 Barbera from Piemonte and a 2012 Sangiovese Merlot from Tuscany. Both wines were absolutely beautiful and paired perfectly with the Short Rib Risotto. Ai Fiori is known for having a wonderful wine list and outstanding menu, as it’s a Michelin Star restaurant. The Barbera is full bodied with bright acidity and lively fruit notes. A little mushroom and earth linger in this wine which is why it was ideal for the meaty short ribs and al dente risotto. The Tuscan is ruby red in color with balsamic notes, spice and tobacco. A fruit forward and spicy palate gives this wine complexity and balance which led it to also pair perfectly with the entree. The risotto brought some of those lingering and spicier notes to life, while the plum and blackberry flavors in the wine really complimented the short ribs.
You can find Mazzoni Wines here in NYC at other top restaurants such as: Parlor, Pennsylvania Siz, Trattoria Il Mulino- 3rd St, Ocean Prime, and Buca Di Bepp. If you’re seeking to buy these wines and have them in your home, you’ll find the Rosso di Toscana (Sangiovese Merlot) at 9th Avenue Wine & Liquor.