Posted by: tomciocco | February 27, 2012

THERE’S CHIANTI, AND THEN THERE’S CHIANTI…

As I’ve undoubtedly lamented before, maybe in these pages, but definitely to lots of folks over the years, that the rules and regulations that govern Chianti are seriously screwed up. With all of the “Chianti (fill in the never-before-associated- with-the-Chianti-name geographical demarcation) that have been created by politicians in Rome over the years, Chianti’s original terroir (which maps out roughly to the Chianti Classico D.O.C.G.) has been watered down in terms of place, and the permission to use non-traditional grape varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the thankfully now fading fad of lots of new oak to the juice both further exacerbate the situation…

All that said, there are still plenty of producers that make traditional, terroir-driven wines with varieties deeply rooted in the region south of Florence and north of Siena, and San Felice goes most others one better. This blend is of course, like all Chiantis, predominately Sangiovese (80% in this case) with 10% being derived from a rarer, later ripening Chianti cultivar called Colorino, which as you might infer from the name, brings deep color and texture to the blend.  The remaining 10% is made up of a once nearly extinct, ancient local variety called Pugnitello (poon-yee-TELL-oh) that the San Felice estate has been (nearly exclusively, at least at the commercial level) rediscovering and experimenting with for several decades. Like Colorino, this is a deep, dark, structured grape with a distinctive savory flavor and dark, dried fruit nose, that obviously “grew up” with, and deftly bulks up Sangiovese’s lean, mean elegance without overwhelming it .

With an old school, liquid food chopper like this, I went pretty traditional with a three ‘shroom, peas, herb and cream sauce for some farfalle, and then a decidedly Tuscan-style polla alla cacciatora with rosemary, sage, red wine, tomato paste, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc. The broccoli looked good, and so it was…smothered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azienda Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico 2009

Moderately deep blackish garnet color, fading to ruby at the rim. Rustic but elegant nose of leather, raspberry, black cherry, dried leaves, celery, woody spices, and notes of lilac perfume. The body is medium-full weight, with a taut austerity, and a smoothly muscular texture, shot through with a wonderfully searing acidity, and cleansing, scrapy tannins that carry surprisingly complex flavors of currant, strawberry, blackberry, black pepper, juniper, and strong flavors of blood-rare red meat. The finish is strong, tart, and long.

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