Chianti with Ms. Susan - Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
About the wine: Chianti (kee-yan-tee) is an Italian red wine blend produced in Tuscany. Chianti can be made with many different varietals. Baron Bettino Ricasoli created the Chianti recipe of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca in the middle of the nineteenth century. During the 1970s producers started to reduce the quantity of white grapes in Chianti. In 1995 it became legal to produce a Chianti with 100% Sangiovese. For a wine to retain the name of Chianti, it must be produced with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. Chiantis tend to have medium-high acidity and medium tannins. The acidity in the wines make them very flexible with food and wine pairings, particularly with Italian cuisines that feature red sauce, as well with as beef, lamb and game.
Basic level Chianti is often characterized by its juicy fruit notes of cherry, plum and raspberry and can range from simple quaffing wines to those approaching the level of Chianti Classico. Basic everyday-drinking Chiantis are at their peak between three and five years after vintage
Chianti Classico wines are characterized in their youth by their predominantly floral and cinnamon spicy bouquet. As the wine ages, aromas of tobacco and leather can emerge. Well-made examples of Chianti Classico often have the potential to age and improve in the bottle for six to twenty years.
Chianti Superiore is an Italian DOCG wine produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena, in Tuscany. Superiore is a specification for wines produced with a stricter rule of production than other Chianti wines, and has been authorized since 1996. Chianti Superiore wines can be produced only from grapes cultivated in the Chianti wine areas except from those vineyards that are registered in the Chianti Classico sub-zone. Vineyards registered in Chianti sub-zones other than Classico can produce Chianti Superiore wines but must omit the sub-zone name on the label. Aging is calculated from 1 January after the picking. Chianti Superiore cannot be sold to the consumer before nine months of aging, of which three must be in the bottle. Therefore it cannot be bottled before the June after picking or sold to consumers before the next September.
Chianti Riserva is aged 38 months instead of 4-7. Chianti that meets more stringent requirements (lower yield, higher alcohol content and dry extract) may be labelled as Chianti Superiore, although Chianti from the "Classico" sub-area is not allowed in any event to be labelled as "Superiore".
Reminder about Italian Wine Rating Scale:
VDT --> IGT --> DOC --> DOCG (highest)
Our dear hostess Susan provided us with many delicious foods to pair with our Chianti:
Smoked Gouda, Asiago Fresco, Greek olives, artichokes, bread, breadsticks, Tortellini with pesto, ravioli florentine, grilled zucchini, proscuitto, marinated roast beef slices, a tuna/redonion/bean dish, and a chocolate torte (with orange zest and walnuts) for dessert. YUM!
1) 2010 Ducceto Chianti Bartali, 12.5% alcohol, $14.99 @ Whole Foods
smells a little funky, like latex and jam, tannic, spicy, dry, almost bitter, root-like, dark cherry,
"The ambiance is over people", nose of salad dressing - Italian, spicy finish, "a lot lighter than you think", "A Wednesday Chianti"
2) 2009 Chianti Colli Senesi, 12.5% alcohol, $17.99 @ PH Wine Merchant
transparent, translucent, oaked, dark fruits, mushroom, smooth finish, mild smooth finish, tart opener, more depth and character than the last wine, cherry, this is more interesting, more earthy, sweet spices in it, it has "seen some wood", peach, light, Friday Wine, "it's not a Saturday wine, but its nearly there"
3) 2005 Costello Paneretta Torre a Destra Chianti Classico Reserva, 12.5%, $29.99 (on sale, usually $39.99) @ Total Wine (91 pts on wine spectator)
dark ruby color, perfumey nose, sweeter floral nose, lite sweet flower, like Vanilla or Magnolia or Iris, dried fruits, Matt is guessing Piedmont region ? dates, raisins, plums, dark chocolate, fig, cassis, anise (a slight bit), "elevating to a date wine", "Saturday night wine", "Smooth jazz with a little blues", luscious and seductive, smoothest one yet, creamy, blueberry yogurt.
4) 2008 Felsina Castel Nuovo Berardensa Chianti Classico, 13%, $19.99 @ Hintons
lilac aromas, plum, bronzy/cloudy color, more age, tart, bold-full bodied, metallic/bitter, "pretty tannic for a Chianti"older, "the wood's very dominant", mahogany, "more gripping on the mouth", very little fruit, graphite in wax, like melted crayons, Walter's favorite so far, chlorinated pool water on the palate
5) 2007 Cecchi Chianti Classico, 13.5% alcohol, $14.99 @ Toco Giant
darker, perfumey, oak, chocolate cacao, Matt guesses "same as #3 but different vintage maybe?", dark chocolate cherry, tart, smooth, sour cherry, acidic, sweet tarts, nice lingering legs, earthy nose.
6) 2010 Toscana Rodano Poggialupi (Castellina in Chianti) a Super Tuscan - 13% alcohol, $16.95 @ Marietta Wine Market
"smells like Le Caveau, the store", musk, cedar, juniper/evergreen musty, heavy perfume, smooth, BERGAMOT that's what I smell! chocolatey tobacco, back of tongue - leather, "it's got some backbone"
7) 2007 La Castellina Squarcialupi Chianti Classico Reserva, 14% alcohol, $25 (on sale) @ Total Wine
Funky, sulphur compound nose, tart, sour body, almost celery-quality to it, like a freshly opened box of rubberbands, but the palate is different, not what you would expect from the nose, a true example of "Dueling Cobras" between the nose and palate, Riki-Tiki-Tavi mongoose, would pair with spicy food, balance of light and playful, syrupy
8) 2008 San Felice Agricola Chianti, 12.5% alcohol, $14.99 @ Le Caveau
gamey nose, like venison, meat, light berries, tart, light-bodied, flimsy, not well balanced, bitter-ish, not well structured
9) 2007 Ruffino Reserva Ducale, 13.5% alcohol, $20 at Minx
more life on the palate, acidic, light floral nose, "it tickles your nose", ammonia, tart/bitter, salami, very dry, takes breath away, pulls moisture off your tongue, bitter/lime, "explodes in your mouth, but in a bad way", "it came out my nose" - I would like to comment that several folks actually sneezed after acquiring the bouquet on this one.