Posted by: tomciocco | May 18, 2010

A CHIANTI PRIMER

Chianti has always been, and is very likely to remain one of our favorite wines (Jen and me, that is). Very few wines offer the combination of history, variety, complexity in the glass, food compatibility, and quality to price ratio that Chianti does so frequently with such aplomb. There are lots of bad things to say about Chianti too, but let’s pump up the PMA, and hope that all of the new French oak barriques and blends fat with Merlot and Cabernet that had been on the rise, quickly and decisively fade out, and more gutsy, place-driven TRULY BUDGET wines like this one increase unto ages of ages, amen…

So this Chianti we drank tonight was in short a nearly perfect example of what a budget Chianti should be – No, I’ll go further and say that this little beauty is, if not quite a giant killer, a wine that can throw a good scare into some far more famous and expensive wines. And it was made by a Co-op to boot. Isn’t that Socialist or something…

This wine is by classification a Chianti Colli Senesi, made as one might infer from the name, in and around the hills of Siena, which makes it an example of the southern contingent of the Chianti conference. The actual name of the producing entity is  La Societa` Cooperativa Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano and the name Montepulciano is the key here…This wine showed in a  “Southern Chianti 101” sort of way, the chewier, darker tendencies of the Sangiovese  sub-variety called Prugnolo that populates the vineyards of Montepulciano (as in Vino Nobile di…),and likely in this blend as well. The more southerly and inland regions of Montepulciano and the Colli Senesi are also notably hotter than Chianti Classico or Chianti Rufina to name a couple, which also helps to make wines from this area a bit beefier than their more northerly cousins…

So as I was saying, this is a great bottling  – a seriously low cost wine that gives one of the best lessons on what Chianti should be for the shortest green that I have ever come across – the earthiness, the rustic complexity, the lip-smacking “cut”, and the always ready companion to almost any savory edible. Complimenti!

Chianti Colli Senesi

 

 

POGGIO STELLA (Soc. Coop. di Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano) CHIANTI COLLI SENESI 2008

Rosy purple-garnet color. Complex nose of dark fruit, wet stones, dried flowers and leaves, and black licorice. The wine is a fairly weighty mouthful of juicy plum, sour black cherry, and worn-in leather flavors, with really nice chewy, grippy tannic structure, and an overall elegance and “cadence” of a considerably more expensive wine.   

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