Saturday, January 24, 2009

Italian Chianti Values
- $20 and under

The other night I had a Chianti Classico (CC for short) made by Brancaia. Brancaia is known more for there IGT wines, i.e. "Super Tuscans" which blend indigenous grape varietals with noble Bordeaux grapes like Merlot and Cabernet. The "Il Blu" is their most popular and well regarded wine and runs about $50 or so. The Chianti is excellent and can cost more than your typical Chianti Classico, but if you see it and its priced well, definitely pick some up!

Chianti is not a wine that will change your life in most cases. There are excellent producers that make mind blowing Chianti, but they rarely break the $50 price point. And that says a lot! The best Chianti Classico Riservas don’t typically break $50. In many more wine regions the best examples of any wine command $100 at least and in many places like Burgundy and Bordeaux they are many 100’s of dollars! Does Chianti not get that respect? No, it’s just not that kind of wine. Most are meant to have with a simple pasta and tomato sauce dishes, pizza, lasagna, etc. The better ones are great wines that can age 15 years and provide great drinking pleasure. Chianti Classico is for the most part an uncomplicated wine!

The 2004 vintage in Italy was very good and even better is the 2006 which is the current release in stores for the Chianti Classico wines. For Riserva bottlings you may need to wait another 6 months to a year as they are aged in barrel longer than regular CC and thus held back about an extra year on average.

Tasting Notes, 2004 Brancaia "Chianti Classico"

Color: Dark red and lighter red rim

Nose: Typical terroir, you can smell the earth and acidity, typical of a Chianti. Red berry and cherry fruit aromas mix in some subtle flowers

Palate: Sour cherry and earthy minerality dominate the palate with tight tannins and good grip from the acidity.

I highly recommend the Brancaia be consumed with food. Come to think of it, most Italian wines are high in acidity and are almost always better with food (again the uncomplicated factor). To be fair and not generalize Italian wine Brunello and Barolo immediately come to mind as wines that are from Italy that do not fall into this food necessary category.

So, on to the Chianti Classico I recommendations!

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico $16-18 - Our favorite go to Chianti, excellent PQ* ratio for any wine. A solid wine start to finish! I have recommended this wine multiple times to many friends and it has yet to disappoint! *PQ = Price to Quality ratio

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico $12-15 - Best priced CC out there made in a classic style

Casa Emma Chianti Classico $15 - Solid, very typical and well done!

Castello Di Meleto Chianti Classico $15 - Best priced CC out there made in a modern style, 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot

Brancaia Chianti Classico $15-22 - Not widely available or known so prices are all over the map! Buy it at under $20 if you can!

Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico $16-19 – We drank lots of this in Belize on vacation. Very reliable and pleasing, Antinori is a reputable and VERY large producer therefore very widely available.

Castello Di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi $10 - Bargain Chianti anyone?

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina $15 - If not from the Rufina region of Chianti this would easily be $25

Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva $19-22 – Found under $20 this would be a great wine to have with the regular CC from Macie (see above) to compare and contrast…is it really better because it’s a Riserva?

I have not had these three in a while, but they have certainly gained more fans in the last few years of the "critic kind" and have gone up closer to $20 instead of $15, but they are classic examples for CC. If none of the above wines are available these are great alternatives when available for under $20!

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico $16-19
Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva $18-20
Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva $18-22


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2009 Chiant Value Wine Label Panel

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Favorites