A new year brings new appetites and to satisfy new cravings, the Apicius staff visited its one of the Wine Department’s sponsors for an evening of wine and food pairing in a suggestive and intriguing setting – no less than the medieval Castello del Trebbio where the Pazzi family conspired against the Medici with the ill-fated and unsuccessful Congiura dei Pazzi, which eliminated only one of the two targeted Medici brothers and unleashed the fury of the Florentine population upon the Pazzi family. This plot and the killing of JFK have been deemed by historians as the two most important assassination attempts throughout history for their political reverberations.
Beyond the bloody political intrigue of the past, the castle today produces excellent wines, olive oil, and saffron. The wines range from the extremely traditional – Chianti, Vin Santo, etc. – to forward-thinking products such as a red Supertuscan, 100% Merlot, and a white blended with Riesling that is unusual for Tuscan wine producing zones. The aging cellars run in a circular direction in the underground area beneath the castle where, incidentally, the prisons were originally housed. It is in these cold and strangely-lighted spaces where wines are contemplated and coaxed into maturation.
In these cellars we run across cases of wines from the wine producer’s property in southern Tuscany, Tenuta Casadei. While Trebbio’s wines, in addition to innovative wine making methods, are dripping with a bloody and fascinating past evinced also in its labels (i.e. the wines named Pazzesco, Congiura), Casadei is instead infused with a different sort of fascination in its search for the Mediterranean essence. This is interpreted from both ends of the spectrum – Sogno Mediterraneo blends 7 varietals from the Mediterrean countries and essentially seeks to capture them in a single bottle, while the prize-winning Filare 18 (“row of vines”) literally features wines produced from grapes coming from a single vineyard. The Mediterranean, powerful flavors evoked from blends taken from different countries as well as singularly from a tiny slip of geography, as interpreted by a single producer.
Our heads were spinning with these and other details – such as the old-timer property guard who has served the castle for over 50 years and shed his uniform complete with feather-trimmed hat only twice in his entire life, not even when he was honeymooning on the beach in Rimini! – by the time we headed towards the winery’s restaurant. The restaurant on the castle’s property has been awarded by Great Wine Capitals network for its contemporary, elegant, and at the same time comforting and hearty expressions of Tuscan cuisine. Mozzarella-stuffed savoy cabbage with black olive puree and game hen stuffed with sausage were excellent standouts.
We’re already conspiring to return, perhaps for some intriguing lessons on olive oil and saffron…
To find out more about Castello del Trebbio:
To find out about Apicius Wine Friends group of sponsors who support our wine studies program: