Author Archives: IL Bistro

The Amazing Red Wines of Tuscany

Great Wines and A Small Place

Italy is so very diverse in climate, it is also diverse in wines. Different varieties of grapes are produced from region to region. Some of the most important red wines in the world are produced in Tuscany. It is unique in a sense that it is home to a number of different types of soil, yet the region is so small. For example, rocky soils produce excellent Sangiovese wine, similarly for Montalcino. Vernaccia grows well in the higher altitude areas, and below that is soil comprise of sand and clay that produce Super Tuscans.

Some of Tuscany’s well-known wine areas produced the prestigious wines we know today, in particular about 70% is red wine. For example, Brunello di Montalcino is produced in the hilltop town of Montalcino, in the hills surrounding a lovely town south of Siena. The quality is outstanding; a wine made with 100% Sangiovese grapes that becomes softer and more harmonic with age.

Between Florence and Siena lies the countryside of Chianti. Chianti is made from the robust Sangiovese, which has grown in the area for centuries and has a revered tradition. It’s the best wine to accompany Tuscan food, from meat to soups and cheeses. Top quality Chianti Classico is more expensive than the everyday Chianti varieties, but both are known for their quality and excellence.

In the Montepulciano area two great wines are produced: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano. The first one is a fine wine with a long history, medium-bodied and elegant, and worthy of ageing. The second one is a dry red, easy drinking and fresh. Bolgheri, in the Livorno hills, is where the Super Tuscans come from, considered to be among the best wines in the world, with outstanding quality and inventiveness, born out of modern Tuscan wine making. Using different grapes and traditional Sangiovese, Super Tuscans are produced in small batches and fetch prodigious prices.

Morellino di Sansano is the famous wine from the Maremma area, near the sea. It’s 50% Sangiovese and the rest a mix of white and red grapes. It’s slightly tannic and dry, full-bodied, and goes well with meat and meaty sauces. Then there’s Carmignano, with a long history and differentiates itself from the other traditional wines in its use of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with the local Sangiovese and Canaiolo. It has an intense wine, with a harmonic taste, and a whiff of floral bouquet.

Tuscan wine is special due to the passion of the winemakers’ art mixed with centuries of experience.

Tosting Tuscan Wine in Seattle

IL Bistro in Seattle impresses you with its red wine list, world-famous varietals of Tuscany. Come and enjoy an evening of great Italian fare paired with only the best of Tuscan red wine.

Live Longer with Olive Oil in Seattle

Olive Oil: What Makes It Healthy

olive-oilFrom olives, the fruit of the olive tree, come the naturally extracted oil, which is olive oil. 24% is saturated fat and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. 73% is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is ultra healthy.

Oleic acid is by far the most widely distributed and abundant fatty acid in nature. Extra-virgin olive oil, the tastiest cooking oil, is the chief source of oleic acid.

Extra-virgin olive oil has beneficial fatty acids, contains modest amounts of Vitamins E and K, but more importantly, powerful and active antioxidants. Antioxidants fight inflammation and prevent oxidation of cholesterol in the blood, both of which are contributory to heart disease process.

We know that chronic inflammation is the road that leads to multiple adult disease states like, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and even obesity.

The antioxidants in olive oil can reduce free radicals, believed to be one of the leading drivers of cancer.

How about the relationship between olive oil and the risk of stroke?

This has been extensively studied and has already been proved that those who consume olive oil have a much lower risk of developing stroke, the second biggest killer in developed countries. In fact, people of the Mediterranean who consume foods prepared in olive oil have a lower risk for heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower ‘bad cholesterol’, and lower premature deaths. Include also, lower risks for cancers.

Look at the other amazing wonders of olive oil – a couple of studies showed beneficial effects on brain function, though more studies on Alzheimer’s disease are needed. There are studies on its beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, hence, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Here’s another – olive oil and fish oil in one study significantly reduced joint pain, handgrip strength and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

And finally, the bacterial H. Pylori, the one that causes stomach ulcers and stomach cancer, can be eliminated by olive oil in a percentage of people in a matter of weeks.

Living Healthy with Olive Oil

Just remember that a diet rich in olive oil tend to make you live healthy and live longer. Olive oil is a natural staple in Tuscan dishes. Have one with us at IL Bistro, your Seattle Italian restaurant.