Archive

Posts Tagged ‘chianti’

Rediscovering Chianti – Cool? Traditional? How about Fun and Tasty!

May 15, 2014 11 comments

DSC_0740What is the major pleasure of the wine journey? You never arrive! No matter how much you know, how many wines did you taste, how familiar you are with the producers, there is always something new, something unexpected, something to learn and discover. Case in point – Chianti. Say the word “Chianti” – what image comes to mind? Come on, don’t even start on Fiasco, please. The “image” here is more of “what do you think of the Chianti”? Outside of being (sometimes) a safe and inexpensive choice at the restaurant, or a no-brainer selection to accompany the pasta dinner, how often do you dream of a bottle of Chianti, left alone salivate at one thought of the particular bottle of Chianti wine? Yeah, I thought so. But – the wine is a never ending journey – so let’s take a look at what is going with the Chianti nowadays.

A few weeks ago I attended a Chianti seminar and tasting in New York. The goal of the seminar was simple – to convince the group of wine bloggers, writers and wine trade professionals that Chianti is cool. Actually, this was the request from the event organizer, Consorzio Vino Chianti, that the seminar attendees would tweet about the event using the hashtag #ChiantiCool. To showcase the “cool” factor, 6 wines which we tasted during the seminar were presented in the semi-blind way. Of course all the wines were Chianti, but we were not given the information about the producers – and all the bottles were wrapped in the tin foil, so nobody would get any ideas.

The very first wine we tasted simply put me on the offensive. It was so tremendously acidic, it was hard to enjoy it at all – some people in the audience claimed that this was a “traditional Chianti the way it should be” – well, may be, but this was not cool at all in my book. Going from one wine to another, it felt like the wines were slowly improving, with the wines #5 and #6 been quite decent. Here are the brief notes, for what it worth:

  1. Chianti DOCG Riserva 2010 (12.5% ABV, 80% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 10% Trebbiano) – dark ruby color. Pure ripe tart cherries on the nose, hint of earthiness, touch of herbs. Palate – astringent and acidic, ouch! Drinkability: 5
  2. Chianti DOCG Riserva 2010-(14% ABV, 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, 5% Syrah) – Dark Ruby color, Caramel and blackberries on the nose. On the palate, some cherries in the back, lacks depth. Drinkability: 7-
  3. Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva 2010 (12.5% ABV, 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino) – dark ruby color. Cherries, earthiness, similar to the wine #1. Prevalent biting acidity on the palate – definitely a food wine, more balanced than the wine #1, but lacks depth. Okay as food wine, not a sipping wine by all means. Drinkability: 7
  4. Chianti DOCG Riserva 2010 (13% ABV, 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino) – Dark ruby color. Interesting dustiness on the nose, herbs, cherries, touch of plum. On the palate, lots of tannins in front, soft acidity, some cherries. Drinkability: 7+
  5. Chianti Montalbano DOCG Riserva 2010 (13.5% ABV, 100% Sangiovese) – Dark garnet color. Beautiful legs from switling. On the nose, the wine is beautiful, complex, with nutmeg and herbs. On the palate, it is sweet and savory, with good fruit, many layers and very good balance. Drinkability: 8-
  6. Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG Riserva 2010 (14% ABV, 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) – Garnet color, a bit lighter than the others. On the nose, there is lots of earthiness, cherries and savory notes. Palate shows matching earthiness (great!), herbs (thyme, sage), perfect complexity and nice long finish. Drinkability: 8

I don’t know what was the principal of selecting wines for the seminar, but cool they were not really. Thus after the seminar ended, I was questioning the whole presence of myself at the event, especially considering that now I had to wait for another hour before the walk-around tasting would start. I definitely glad that I was there with Stefano (Clicks & Corks), as it made the wait a lot more palatable.

Without any expectations, we started our walk-around tasting with the table number one. The very first sip of the very first wine literally made me shake my head in disbelief. The wine was simply delicious (tasting notes will follow). And wine after wine after wine made me to go wow, and then wow and wow again. Power, finesse, clarity, perfect balance – literally each and every wine we tasted was at the top of the game. It was almost mind-boggling to hear the winemakers explaining that their wines are made in the traditional style. Yes, I get it – it is a traditional style, as many wines were made as a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino, but then the Chablis-like minerality on the nose, coupled with the layered, luscious fruit instead of just leather and tobacco notes – I have a hard time calling this “traditional” – but I will gladly call these wines “cool!”.

What gives, you ask? I think there are a couple of factors which are dramatically changing the story of the Chianti wines. First factor, or rather factors, are the modern winemaking techniques – in one word, the Quality.  Better quality of the grapes, harvesting at a pick, reducing yield, improved fermentation capabilities, the barrels and tanks are better and cleaner, and so on.  And then, it is the …. Terroir! When I commented to one of the winemakers that a few of his Chianti bottlings from the same year taste so incredibly different, he answer was “of course”. His property, which is about 100 acres in size, has 5 (!) different micro-climatic zones… Most of the people come to think of Tuscany, the land of Chianti, as something universally monolithic. Yes, with the idyllic moniker of “rolling hills of Tuscany”, but one and the same. At the same time, Chianti is a huge grape growing area, with probably a hundred of  the sub-zones and microclimates, all producing “traditional”, but oh-so-different wines. In most of the cases, people can think of Chianti, Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina, but actually Chianti is so much more than just these three regions – Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano, Montespertoli are some additional sub-zones, never mind single vineyards. Winemakers are learning all the time, what works and what doesn’t, and we are lucky to be able to taste the products of their labor of love.

Did I get you tired of my rambling by now? Okay, time to talk about wines. Below you will find the tasting notes. Yes, there were lost of wines, and they were so good! I also made an effort to extend above and beyond my simple “+++” ratings to give you more descriptors. I don’t throw those “+++” ratings easily – and here, a lot of wines were simply outstanding, table after table after table.

Here we go:

Azienda Agricola Corbucci – this was a very impressive start – very nice and approachable wines, made in the “drink any time” style

2012 Chianti DOCG “Corbucci” – ++, dry, leather, good acidity, a bit astringent
2012 Chianti DOCG “9Code” – +++, old vines, 7 days fermentation. fruit, earth, balance!
2009 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Corbucci” – +++, aged for 2 years in French barriques, excellent!

Azienda Agricola Emanuela Tamburini

2012 Chianti DOCG “Mauro” – +++, 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, light, open, earthy nose. Very much Bordeaux in style on the palate.
2010 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Italo” – +++, aged for 24 mo in combination of cement tank and oak barrels, beautiful, open, layered
2008 Vin Santo del Chianti DOC “D’Incanto” – ++, oxidized style, aged in small open barrels for 5 years without topping off

Azienda Agricola La Cignozza

2010 Chianti DOCG – +++, 80% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 5% Mammolo, aged for 1 year in big barrels. Roasted meat on the nose, perfect acidity, dark fruit – excellent!
2008 Chianti DOCG Riserva – +++, 80% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo. Sweet open nose, nice fruit, multi-layered – outstanding!

Azienda Agricola Lanciola – harvesting by hand, 2 green harvests, 5 different microclimates within one vineyard!

2012 Chianti DOCG “Podere Elisa” – +++!
2012 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG “Lanciola” – +++, outstanding, open
2011 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Podere Elisa” – +++ excellent!
2011 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG Riserva “Lanciola” – +++, barnyard and roasted notes, wow!
2008 Vin Santo del Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG “Lanciola” – ++++, unoxidized style, caramel, apricot, candied fruit, perfect balance, wow!

Azienda Agricola Malenchini

2012 Chianti DOCG – +++, 5% Merlot, stainless steel, nice, light, smokiness, pleasant
2012 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG – +++, 10% Canaiolo, smokiness, balance, power, a bit of tannins

Azienda Agricola Pietraserena – Arrigoni

2011 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG “Poggio al Vento” – +++, Sangiovese/Syrah (10%), 1 year in barrique, 1 year in bottle. Restrained nose, beautiful!
2011 Chianti Colli senesi DOCG “Caulio” - +++, 100% Sangiovese, roasted nose, nice fruit, open, clean, easy to drink
2012 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG – ++, 10% Canaiolo, cement tanks. Coffee, roasted notes, a little short on palate

Bindi Sergardi

2012 Chianti DOCG “Poggio al Sorbo” – +++, 100% Sangiovese, vineyard at 750 ft elevation, stainless steel, Raspberries and smoke, mocha, chocolate on the nose, clean and open palate
2012 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG “Bindi Segrardi” – +++, red fruit, clean, elegant, beautiful

Cantina Sociale Colli Fiorentini Valvarginio

2010 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG “Collerosso” – +++, organic wine, pure tobacco on the nose, same on the palate, beautiful balance

Cantine Fratelli Bellini – traditional and very good

2013 Chianti DOCG “Bellini” – ++-|, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino, young, simple, easy to drink
2010 Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva “Bellini” – ++-|, aged for 2 years in oak, nice, easy, simple, soft, touch of leather

Cantine L’Arco

2012 Chianti DOCG “L’Arco” – ++-|, 10% Merlot, touch of smoke
2011 Chianti DOCG “Principe del Sole” – ++-|, soft, round
2009 Chianti DOCG Riserva – ++-|, 10% Canaiolo, nice, soft

Castel di Pugna

2012 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG “Ellera” – ++, simple, clean
2008 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG “Ellera” – +++, excellent, sweet fruit, nice, elegant
2011 Chianti Superiore DOCG “Villa Cambi” – ++-|,  nice, elegant, open
2007 Chianti Superiore DOCG “Villa Cambi” – +++, aged for one year in Tonnau, roasted fruit, plums, spices, excellent!
2008 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG Riesrva “Ellera” – ++-|, 5% Canaiolo, nice, elegant, restrained

Castello del Trebbio

2013 Chianti DOCG – ++-|, Sangiovese/Canaiolo, stainless steel, brilliant ruby color, fresh berries, sweet fruit, good acidity, simple!
2009 Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva “Lastricato” – +++-|, nice complexity, leather, spices, fresh, elegant

Le Fonti a San Giorgio

2012 Chianti DOCG - ++, 5% Pignatello, nice, soft, simple
2013 Chianti DOCG - ++, fresh, clean
2011 Chianti Montespertoli DOCG - ++, Sangiovese/Merlot, very goo, unusual garden herbs
2009 Chianti Montispertoli DOCG - +++, smokey blueberries, roasted notes, liquid steak, wow
2010 Chianti Montispertoli DOCG Riserva – ++3/4, 15% Merlot, nice, round, strawberries, good tannins, pepper, tobacco

Pietro Beconcini Agricola

2012 Chianti DOCG “Antiche Vie” - +++,excellent, clean, blackberries, mocha
2010 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Pietro Beconcini” - ++, cherries, nice, round, supple

Pieve De’ Pitti

2011 Superiore Chianti DOCG “Cerretello” - +++, Sangiovese/Canaiolo/Black Malvasia, nice, balanced, unusual fresh fruit notes
2010 Superiore Chianti DOCG “Cerretello” - ++++ nose/+++ overall. Nose – wild berries, perfect balance, fruit, very fresh overall
2009 Superiore Chianti DOCG “Cerretello” - +++-|, amazing nose – Barolo!
2008 Superiore Chianti DOCG “Cerretello” - +++, wild berries on the nose, perfectly powerful palate
2007 Vin Santo del Chianti DOC – ++, Trebbiano and San Colombano, aged in Chestnut wood, nice, could use a bit more acidity

Podere Volpaio – organic and beautiful

2010 Chianti DOCG “Volpaio” – ++, nice, simple
2010 Chianti DOCG “Terre De’ Pari” – +++, Beautiful, open, fruit on the nose, perfect balance on the palate, delicious tannins
2004 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Terre De’ Pari” – +++, Tobacco, smoke, barnyard on the nose – wow, beautiful
2001 Chianti DOCG Riserva “Terre De’ Pari” - +++, same as 2004, with even more complexity.

Ruffino

2012 Chianti DOCG – ++, nice, light, simple, good fruit
2012 Chianti Superiore DOCG “Il Superiore” – ++-|, nice, good fruit, good balance, good acidity

Val di Botte

2013 Chianti DOCG “Val di Botte”- ++, nice simple, $3 wholesale!!!
2012 Chianti [Classico] DOCG “Val di Botte” – +++, excellent, soft, round, clean, beautiful.

Villa Artimino

2012 Chianti DOCG – +++, nice, round, touch of smokiness, tobacco
2011 Chianti Montalbano DOCG – +++, pure minerality, gunflint, cherries, tobacco, earth, nice fruit, excellent balance

Overwhelmed? Well, I really wanted to share these notes. I don’t know if you read them at all, if you did not – just scroll back for a second, and then tell me – how often do you describe Chianti wine as “smoke, gunflint, wild berries, liquid steak, smokey blueberries, mocha, chocolate”? And yes, I had to use all of those descriptors – as this is what these wines were calling for. Is that cool? You bet. This is also traditional – but now, the beauty and diversity of Tuscan terroir shines through these wines. Don’t take my word for it – while I insist that Chianti now are fun and tasty (and cool!) wines, go grab a bottle and prepare to be blown away, as I had. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Asnwer, Wine Blogging Conference Update, Generous Pour and more

June 12, 2013 10 comments

Meritage time!

First, the answer for the Wine Quiz #60, Grape Trivia – Sangiovese.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about Sangiovese grape, one of the essential Italian grapes. Here are the questions, this time with the answers:

Q1: Grape, blending partner mostly of the past, typically leading to Sangiovese wines becoming dull and unexciting.

A1: White grape called Trebbiano at some point was mandatory blending partner of Sangiovese in Chianti wines, leading to overall diluted character of the wines. Nowadays, when even 100% Chianti wines are allowed, the usage of Trebbiano in the Chianti wines is very minimal.

Q2: What is Fiasco, and how is it related to the Chianti wines?

A2: Fiasco is a straw cover which was traditional with the Chianti wines. It also became a symbol of wines of a bad quality, as many Chianti’s of the past actually had quality issues.

Q3: On some of the bottles of Chianti, you could see an image of the black rooster. What is the meaning of it?

A3: Black Rooster, or Gallo Nero, is the symbol of Consorzio Chianti Classico. It can be argued that black rooster serves as a symbol of quality – whether it is true or not, I can only tell that most of the Chianti Classico I tried which had the Black Rooster symbol on them, where of a very good quality.

Q4: Tuscany no doubts is the major source of Sangiovese wines. Can you name 4 sub-regions in Tuscany, producing great wines with Sangiovese as the main variety?

A4: Considering all Chianti sub-regions as one (Chianti, Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina), the answer is Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano.

Q5: Name 3 leading regions in United States producing Sangiovese wines. For an extra bonus, add your favorite producer(s).

A5: The way the question was formulated, it was hard to give a good answer, so all the answers will be considered correct for this question. I actually was looking for California, Washington and Texas and 3 main regions in US producing wines from Sangiovese grapes.

Considering that questions 4 and 5 were somewhat lacking precision, I will count all the answers to those questions as pretty much correct ones. Therefore, we have 3 winners this week – Wayward Wine, Red Wine Diva and The Winegetter are all getting the usual prize of unlimited bragging rights!

And now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and web!

First, the 2013 Wine Blog Awards winners had being announced at Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC13) last week. You can find the list of all winning blogs here. Also, the location of WBC14 was announced, and it will be… Santa Barbara! Here is the link to the announcement. Santa Barbara sounds quite appealing as a location, so at this point I really hope that I will be able to attend the WBC14 event.

Capital Grille is doing it again! Generous Pour program is back – starting July 8th, you can taste 7 different varietals from 7 different wineries, all for $25. Don’t miss it, as this program will only run during summer – and if past experience is any indicator, yep, you don’t want to miss it for sure.

Somewhat on a sad note, as reported by Guardian, wine writer Hugh Johnson is selling his wine collection, which includes bottles dating all the way from 1830. I think it is pretty sad when you have to part with the wine which you wanted to drink, but the moment comes when you realize – there is simply not enough time… You can read the story for yourself here.

Well, that’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty. But it will be refilled, I promise. Cheers!

Weekly Wine Quiz #60: Grape Trivia – Sangiovese

June 8, 2013 11 comments
Sangiovese grapes close up from Wikipedia

Sangiovese grapes close up from Wikipedia

Welcome to the weekend! Yep, it is the time for the new wine knowledge test.

We are continuing our Grape Trivia series, and today we will talk about Sangiovese – one of the most famous Italian grapes. Sangiovese is typically associated with Chianti, but in reality, Sangiovese is one of the most planted grapes all over Italy. One of the interesting issues is that Sangiovese, similarly to Pinot Noir, is very clone-prone, so it is known in different places under different names, such as Sangiovese Grosso, Prugnolo Gentile or Calabrese, to take a few.

Sangiovese is black skinned grape with cherry-dominant, earthy and savory profile. Sangiovese is capable of a wide range of expressions, starting from simple food friendly wines from Chianti to the oak-loaded monsters requiring long ageing and long decanting, coming from different regions in Tuscany and beyond. Absolute majority of Sangiovese plantings are located in Italy, but the grape is also slowly becoming popular in the other regions such as United States or Argentina.

Now, to the quiz! I thought that Zinfandel was not a simple quiz to compose, but then I realized that it is even more difficult to create an interesting quiz all around Sangiovese. For what it worth, 5 questions are below.

Q1: Grape, blending partner mostly of the past, typically leading to Sangiovese wines becoming dull and unexciting.

Q2: What is Fiasco, and how is it related to the Chianti wines?

Q3: On some of the bottles of Chianti, you could see an image of the black rooster. What is the meaning of it?

Q4: Tuscany no doubts is the major source of Sangiovese wines. Can you name 4 sub-regions in Tuscany, producing great wines with Sangiovese as the main variety?

Q5: Name 3 leading regions in United States producing Sangiovese wines. For an extra bonus, add your favorite producer(s).

Have a great weekend, have fun and cheers!

Dreaming of Tuscan Wines

November 4, 2012 17 comments

Source: Wkipedia.com

“Tuscany”. Try to say the word out loud. It rolls of your tongue, smooth, round and effortless. It is so easy to picture endless green hills, beautiful little houses spread across the endless green, and of course, sun-soaked grapes.

I visited Italy many times, but not the Tuscany, which still stays on the “dream destinations” list. I can easily picture bringing my family there, renting a little villa (there are many villas in Tuscany), and spending time doing… nothing, just enjoying that beautiful scenery, true, simple and honest food and of course, the wines.

The wines of Tuscany hold its own special and unique place in the wine world. True, the wine making was born outside of Italy ( Georgia and Greece are the top contenders for the title of “cradle of the winemaking”). But where else you can find wineries and winemaking families which are almost a thousand years old (look at Barone Ricasoli, which is tracing its wine history to 1141, or Castello di Ama, which goes all the way back to 1210), next to the wineries which propelled from non-existent to the world’s best in mere 30-40 years, as many of so called Super-Tuscan wines did? Tuscany offers tremendous diversity when it comes to wines, and I want to take you on a little tour of Tuscan wines.

We are going to start with Chianti, one of the oldest wine-making areas in Tuscany, located in the center of region. Sangiovese is the main grape which is used to produce Chianti wines, but other grapes can be also blended in, including both red and white grapes.

Then there are all sorts of classifications for the Italian wines – but I really don’t want to bore you with the details of it. While classification information is very important, there are so many available resources covering subject in depth, like this Wikipedia article, for instance, you can definitely learn about it without my help. As a side note, I want to mention that in the end of the day, DOC, DOCG, IGT , the producers and the wine ratings are all important, but you really have to let your taste buds be a judge when it comes to finding the wine you like.

Chianti are some of the oldest wines with the world, with the very rich history having its up and down times – it is impossible to cover Chianti’s history at any good depth in the blog post, so again I have to refer you to the great source – the Wikipedia article. Chianti wines are usually split into two main groups – Chianti and Chianti Classico. Chianti Classico, which comes from its own part of the Chianti region, is available as Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, which is usually aged for more than two years before it is released. If you are looking for a good bottle of the Chianti, you can always play it safe and go by a good producer – Antinori, Castello Banfi, Castello di Ama, Fontodi, Frescobaldi, Monsanto, Ricasoli, Ruffino are all well known producers and represent a good bet as you are looking for your next bottle of Chianti.

Let’s move down south from Chianti to the town of Montalcino. A bit younger than the Chianti, only going back to the 14th century : ), there was a local wine produced there, which was called Brunello, referring to the name of the local grape. Eventually it was established that the actual grape was a clone of Sangiovese, called Sangiovese Grosso, but the name of Brunello always stayed with the wines called Brunello di Montalcino (often referred to simply as Brunello).

In order to be classified as Brunello, the wines have to be made from 100%  of Sangiovese Grosso (no other grapes allowed). Over the many years, Brunello built a reputation as some of the best wines in the world – power, finesse and ultimate ageability make them very desired wines among wine consumers and collectors. Biondi Santi is probably the most legendary producer of Brunello wines, but Altesino, Casanova di Neri, Castello Banfi, Poggio Antico, Valdicava are all well worthy of your attention.

Continuing our tour from the town of Montalcino, we got two options – we can move east, to the town of Monepulciano, or west to the region called Bolgheri. Let’s talk about Montepulciano first, as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are rivaling Chianti in its history. The first references  to the vineyards around Montepulciano go all the way back to the 8th (!) century, but it was not until 1925 that the wines from the region are actually assumed the Vino Nobile name. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are again produced from Sangiovese clone,  known as Prugnolo Gentile, and often blended with other local grape varieties. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are lesser known then Chianti wines, but they are worth looking for as they still provide a good value.

And now, let’s go all the way west, to the coastal area of Tyrrhenian Sea, to the town of Bolgheri, where some of the best wines in Italy are made. I’m sure you heard the term Super-Tuscan – these are the wines made in Tuscany, but in completely non-traditional way. Starting from 1960s, Bolgheri was a center of Super-Tuscan wine revolution – instead of making the wines by the strict Chianti rules, many vintners started producing wines based on terroir, always looking for the best grapes from particular vineyards. In 1978, Antinori started producing the Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend wine called Tignanello, which became a great success. Many winemakers turned their attention to traditional Bordeaux varieties, such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, eventually producing the wines rightfully called some of the best wines in the world. Today Super-Tuscan wines need no introduction, and absolute majority of wine lovers can’t pronounce the names such as Ornellaia, Solaia, Masseto, Sassicaia, Redigaffi without their breathing stopping for a second and eyes rolling up to show utmost respect. You don’t need to take my word for it  – get a bottle and taste it for yourself, and you can thank me later.

Before we are done here, I want to share some interesting numbers with you. You probably heard of Wine Spectator, a very famous wine magazine. Wine Spectator has their 100 points rating system and obviously, it is not simple to get a 100 points, as the wine should be truly ultimate to get such a high rating – only 74 wines out of more than 250,000 rated wines received 100 points. Out of those 74, 13 are Italian wines. Out of those 13, 6 are the Tuscan wines. And out of those 6, 2 are Brunello di Montalcino wines, 3 are Super Tuscan, and one wine is a Vin Santo – another famous Tuscan wine, this time it is a dessert wine, made out of Trebbiano and Malvasia white grapes. And to complete the picture, do you want to guess what grape those 100-point Super Tuscans are made from? Sorry Miles ( remember movie Sideways?), but all three 100-point Super Tuscans (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masetto, Tua Rite Redigaffi and Le Macchiole Messorio) are made out of 100% Merlot!

I think it is time to finish our tour. Tuscany makes a lot of great wines, and there are many books, articles and blog posts covering those wines from all possible angles. I think  my top tip for choosing the Tuscan wines will be very simple – go out and play! Open a bottle of Tuscan wine, and be transported in the instance to the warm and inviting land of great food, wines and people. Salute!

Daily Glass: Chianti Escapades

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

I haven’t done one of these ”daily glass” posts in a while, and at some point I really thought that these posts will be written daily. Some plans, huh? Okay, let’s talk about wine, shall we?

I have to tell you – once people know that I’m seriously ”into wine”, one of the first questions I hear is ”so, what’s your favorite wine?” – and this is the question I’m dreading literally the most – because I don’t have an answer. Depending on the mood, food, company and tons of other factors, I will be glad to drink different wines all the time. Better question might be – what wines I don’t like? You think you got me, right? No so fast.  The only wines I don’t like are those which are bad (yes, I know – very lame and predictable answer) – and luckily, there are really very few of those. But – as we are having an honest talk here – I have to tell you that there are wines which I’m generally trying to avoid. Not that I don’t like them, but I don’t get much out of them – on average, barring any exceptions. Not trying to create any loaded pause here – one kind of wine which I often trying avoid is Chianti.

Why? A lot of Chianti wines I tasted are flat in their flavor profile – Chianti is usually considered a nice and easy wine to drink – which it is, but this ”ease” also takes away most of the excitement for me. Of course we can not and should not generalize – as I said, I’m avoiding it, but this is not vegans-do-not-eat-meat kind of avoidance – I’m always ready to be surprised.

During the recent trip to Bottle King, I saw there 2008 Mazzei Ser Lapo Chianti Classico Riserva on sale. I did like the label, like the name (Ser Lapo, somehow it sounds good for me), like the price ($16.98), plus I have a bottle of 1988 Mazzei waiting to be opened – and I didn’t drink Chianti in a while – do you think that this is enough reasons to get a bottle? Yep, so did I.

Last Wednesday night bottle was opened. Beautiful dark garnet color – intense and promising. On the nose, there is energy – acidity, earthiness, some intense cherry flavor. Good start, right? I take a sip and…it is flat. Nothing is happening on the palate. I know I’m drinking wine, but that’s all – even after intense swirling in the glass, not much is happening. Gasp. This is precisely what I was talking about before.

It happens to be that recently I came across some notes from the ”unhappy” taster on Twitter, where ”leaf day” was suggested as a possible cause for wines not tasting right. After doing some research, I found lots of interesting read on Biodynamics – this is where the terminology is coming from (there is a lot of interesting discussions in blogosphere on the subject – here is one of the links for you). There is also an app for iPhone/iPad, called Wine Tonight, which I downloaded after doing the research. As you can imagine, when you have a problem nowadays, you look for an app for it, right? Yep, I decided to consult the app. Here is what I got:

Okay, that explains it, right? Let’s leave biodynamics aside, as this is actually the post about Chianti, and let talk about the wine. I had to run some errands, so I left the bottle opened for about two hours. When I’m came back, I poured another glass of the Ser Lapo, and…should I stop here and say ”to be continued”? Nope, will be too cruel, I agree – let’s continue. Swirl, sip – and ”hello, gorgeous” moment. The wine opened up beautifully, offering lots of dark fruit, like cherries and blackberries, hint of dark chocolate, earthiness and bright acidity with serious tannins coming in the long finish. Very balanced, great wine giving you lots of pleasure (Drinkability: 8+).

The wine opened up even further the next day, so it definitely will evolve in the cellar. By the way, I consulted ”Wine Tonight” app out of curiosity again, and it told me that it was a ”root day” and drinking of the wine should be generally avoided. So if I would listen to that app, I would have to avoid drinking wine for two days in the row – I don’t think I like that app at all.

That actually concludes my story – and I wish you to have a ”fruit day” every time you have a glass of wine in front of you. Cheers!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,546 other followers

%d bloggers like this: