Toasting ChiantiFebruary 10th, 2012 by Alan A. Barone
If Tuscany is Italy’s most popular wine region, than it is only natural to assume that Chianti holds the distinction of the best known Italian wine. A much larger region than meets the eye, Tuscany covers many different wine sub-regions and micro climates. This historic place is where Michelangelo visited the marble quarries in search of the perfect selection for his next sculpture.
Just south of the city of Florence, renowned for its multitude of Renaissance architecture and artwork, lies the beginning of the Chianti region. The most esteemed of its sub-regions is the Chianti Classico DOCG, which runs southwards towards the city of Sienna. The hot, dry climate of Tuscany provides the grape Sangiovese an excellent home to flourish.
The Sangiovese wines simply labeled “Chianti” tend to be soft and simple, with cherry flavors and a touch of fresh thyme; those labeled “Chianti Classico” and “Riserva” are more intense and complex, with deeper licorice, sweet-sour dried cherry and earthy flavors and a considerable hit of tannin. Chianti’s acidity and its suggestion of saltiness make it a suitable partner for many dishes, especially olives and garlic, tomato-sauced pastas, grilled steak, Corina and other tangy cheeses.
The following recommendations are under $25 and are reflective of the quality and value that is offered from this prolific region:
2007 Antinori Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore
Offers raspberry and floral scents that continue on the palate of this medium bodied red with spicy tangy notes.
2007 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico
Pleasant black berry aromas carry through to the palate with rich berry, vanilla and cocoa flavors. Surrounded by well integrated tannins and full mouth feel.
2007 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico
Simple and agreeable with prominent scents of anise and berries that open to plenty of ripe red fruit flavors.
2008 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico
This smooth, well-structured wine may be just a bit above $25. It has appealing ripe cherry and raspberry aromas and flavors with hints of coffee and vanilla.