Being a big fan of Sangiovese, I enjoy tasting Chianti Classico whenever I can. I tend to reach for the more traditional styles of Chianti from producers who opt not to use Cab, Merlot, or other International grapes in conjunction with Sangiovese; rather I like wines from producers who pay homage to more classic varieties like Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo and Ciliegiolo. Chianti Classico, where some of the best Sangiovese grows, is the beautiful winemaking region tucked between two of the best cities in Tuscany: Florence and Siena. Recently I got to taste the 2007 Villa dei Freschi Chianti Classico, and it was the Italian wine version of Proust’s madeleine.
When I sipped this Chianti, it transported me back to a Florentine trattoria, and I thank it very much for that for that! (I also think we need to thank our wine more often for all of the good things it does for us, but I digress, back to Chianti.) This wine is great example of a traditional Chianti that pairs amazingly with simple Italian foods. There is something about the tart cherry fruit, floral nuances, firm tannins and elegant body that re-inspire those memories of when I lived in Italy. You drink this wine and immediately picture yourself drinking this Chianti with salami, prosciutto and pecorino followed by a simple pasta alla pomodoro and finally with a rosemary roasted rack of lamb. This is something called heaven! (Maybe a side of Tuscan white beans with garlic, fresh oil and rosemary to round the experience out…)
Regardless of price, producer, vintage, if a wine is able to transport you and reinvigorate memories, it is a great wine that should always be on your table. This one will be on mine, especially given that it’s under $22.
As an aside, for those interested in tasting a wonderful vintage Chianti Classico Riserva, make sure to take advantage of this week’s web special, the Felsina 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva.