Chianti is one of the classic food wines of Italy. In this wine-soaked country, regional foods are designed to pair with regional wines. (Read about my foodie trip to Italy). They’re crafty that way. Like Garanimals back in the day. In Tuscany, the locals sip Chianti, Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Reserva (what’s the difference?) with red sauces, long-simmered bean dishes and slow-roasted meats. The higher acidity of the Sangiovese grape complements the high acidity of tomato sauces but also contrasts with the delicious fat of the meat dishes. Matches made in foodie heaven.
I visited Castello d’Albola in May 2010 and grabbed a bottle of it recently at a big box wine retailer to bring to a blind tasting party. I felt it would be solid (it was), an easy guess (it wasn’t) and a great value (it is).
Elegant and sophisticated, the light color foreshadows the prettiness of this 2007 Chianti Classico. Raspberry, blueberry and bright red cherry are wrapped in a floral dance with sweet vanilla oak and some mushroomy-earthiness. Moderately high but not bracing acidity blends well with the fruit, and the tannins are so well integrated so as not to be noticed. The low 12.5% alcohol also helps present a really strong Chianti contender.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Price: $16 – $25
Occasion: Blind tasted at a wine party
Availability: Independent wine shops, high-end big box retailers and online at Wine.com
Food pairing: Pasta with red sauce (especially meat sauce), roasted pork or turkey, Thanksgiving dinner, anything made with bacon in it (really)