Tuscany has always had some of the greatest beef in the world.
A lot of people don’t realize that, historically, much of the region has been devoted to pasture-based ranching. Especially as you move toward the coast, you move into Tuscan cowboy country.
Tuscany is renowned for its Chianina breed of cattle, one of the world’s largest in terms of size.
As far back as the Renaissance, cooks and farmers understood the value in butchering cows young.
Old fish, young cows are best for flavor, as the saying goes.
Chianina are so large, indeed, that even as calves, they reach a size comparable to an average cow. And that’s why they make for such good steaks, like the fiorentina, or the Florentine porterhouse — a thick-cut T-bone steak. You have all the rich flavor of veal but you have the size of a full-grown cow.
To quote another famous (although more contemporary saying), if it grows with it, it goes with it. From Chianti to Brunello to Maremma, Tuscans have achieved culinary greatness with their pairing of homegrown beef and homegrown grapes.
Perhaps its because of Sangiovese’s signature vibrant acidity. Perhaps its because of Sangiovese’s classic plum and bright red fruit flavors. No one can really put their finger on it, but Sangiovese is considered by many to be the world’s greatest wine pairing for steak (whether fiorentina, New York strip, Kansas City rib-eye, skirt, hanger, fajitas, etc.).
So now matter what you are grilling this summer in America, try a Rosso di Montalcino, a Brunello di Montalcino, or even a Morellino di Scansano with your steak. And you will taste a little bit of Tuscany on your plate and in your glass!