A little bit of Halloween Magic

If you’re able to get your hands on a bottle of Chianti Classico from 1995, you’re truly in for an Halloween treat.

1995 in Tuscany is remembered for being somewhat of a “miracle” vintage, due to the weather being colder than usual all summer long. Everyone expected the harvest to be less than ideal due to the chilly and glum season, but by some stroke of luck, the weather got warmer in mid-September and lasted through late October. It was one of the latest harvests on record for the region, and produced a truly fabulous vintage for Chianti.

I recently added a bottle of the 1995 Carpineto Chianti Classico to my wine cellar, and in honor of the late harvest that year and the upcoming Halloween holiday, I want to share a truly magical food and wine pairing! For an aged Chianti this special, I recommend pairing with a fattier red meat, and a short rib pasta is the perfect fall feast to pair with this wine. This is a meal you’ll need a bit of time and preparation for, so plan ahead!

The magical Halloween recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 punds of bone-in beef short ribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tables points of olive or avocado oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 lb wild mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of dry red table wine (don’t use your aged Chianti for this though, that’s to drink)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lb of fresh or dry tagliatelle pasta

Instructions

  1. Pat the short ribs dry and brush with oil and sprinkle generously with salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over high heat and sear each side of the short ribs for about 3 minutes on each side, letting them brown. Using tongs, transfer the seared short ribs to a slow cooker.
  2. On medium heat, add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and let them cook and soften for 4-5 minutes, and be sure to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to maintain the flavor. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker with the short ribs.
  3. Whisk the table wine and tomato paste together and pour into to the slow cooker. Add the sprigs of thyme and some additional salt and pepper, cover and then cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Before serving, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water and cook until al dente.
  5. Remove the short ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the beef into smaller pieces and discard the bones. Mix the shredded meat back into the slow cooker sauce and serve all together on top of the pasta!

Pairing

Remember that when serving an aged wine like the 1995 Carpineto Chianti Classico, it’s very important to let the wine breathe for a while before serving, as it’s been bottled up for quite some time! Pour it into a decanter and let it breathe for at least an hour before serving. This mature wine is an intense brick red with elegant notes of raspberry, red cherry, dried meat, tomato, sage, and tobacco. Smooth mouthfeel with mature tannins and medium+ acidity. Pairs perfectly against the fats from the short rib for a truly excellent Halloween meal.