The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

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Go-To-Wine Tuesday

Posted on | November 30, 2010 | Written by Francesco Vigorito | No Comments

The discovery of new wine is to my thinking the most fascinating part of being involved in this field.  There is too much wine out there to drink the same bottle twice. While you can make exceptions for Aldo Conterno’s Granbussia, Soldera’s Brunello and the whites of Gravner, the reward of finding a new and exciting wine sometimes can outweigh the enjoyment of something you know well.

Chianti tends to take the backseat when it comes to world of wine, mainly because of its former association with straw-lined bottles and red-checkered tablecloths.  Chianti has evolved so much in the last 15-20 years that we need to start looking at this region through a different lens.

A perfect example of the recalibration I’m talking about is embodied in the winery called La Maialina, which means “little pig” in Italian.  When you look at the label, you can see that this is a relatively new winery.  However, the grapes are actually sourced from a top Tuscan estate in Siena and the famed consulting winemaker, Attilio Pagli, turns these grapes into some very rewarding juice for the money.

The 2008 La Maialina Chianti really delivers at the $13 price point, and it has everything you want: flavor, balance and drinkability.  I had this Chianti with a cheeseburger, and the wine was finished before the burger.  This is a very fresh, hot-off-the-press style of Chianti.  It doesn’t have massive tannins, or a huge structure, but the wine does exactly what it was intended to do. It provides immediate drinking that won’t break the bank and makes most foods taste great.

I think that many people tend to forget why a particular wine was produced in the first place.  I hold this wine very highly because it is exactly what it should be: an inexpensive, approachable, delicious and youthful wine.  Will this get better with age?  Possibly, but not much.  You want to appreciate the juvenile character of this wine, so I would recommend drinking this in 1-3 years tops.

A great wine under $13 that pairs great with food and has the ability to inspire conversation and create memories. What else could you ask for?  A second bottle, a loaf of bread, and good company.


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