Malcolm Jolley finds a Friday night wine…

Does the wine improve the steak? Or does the steak improve the wine? Both, I hope. In my house Friday night is nearly always steak night and it would be unimaginable to have it without a glass of red wine. Sometimes it’s fancy, sometimes it’s not, but I generally try to open something deserving of a fine cut of properly raised and butchered beef and I am willing to stretch the budget in honour of the cow.

Chianti is the original steak wine, and the Tuscans have been pairing it with their bistecca alla Fiorentina since time immemorial. Another thing that has been around in Tuscany for a long time is the house of Ricasoli, which has been making wine since the 12th century. This month their Barone Ricasoli Rocca Guiccarda Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG 2017 ($24.95 | LCBO# 943613) is widely available at Vintages and makes as fine a steak wine as one could find on this side of Sienna.

90% Sangiovese, with 5% each of Merlot and Canaiolo to round things out, the Rocca Guiccarda from the hot year of 2017 brings big cherry red fruit with a touch of bitterness on the finish and sandy tannins to keep everything together. At $25 it’s not cheap, but it is an awful lot of wine and luxury for not that much money, and worth stretching the budget by a few dollars to bring some warmth and cheer to this pandemic winter. If you don’t eat steak, for whatever reason, the Rocca Guicciarda will pair very nicely with tomato sauce based dish.

Finally, if you do eat steak, and before serving, like to dress it up with a splash of good olive oil, Tuscan-style, then Ricasoli’s Ontario importer has a very small allotment of the family’s Castello-Brolio extra virgin olive oil for sale. It’s a grassy, peppery and bold oil from groves near the border with Umbria. Contact The Case For Wine at or 416 482 0241 to purchase. The Toscana DOP oil is being sold in six packs of 500ml bottles at $29.95 a bottle.