6 Chiantis to drink now. Think wine for pizza, even Middle Eastern food
If you find yourself longing for pasta fagioli, pappardelle in wild boar sauce, or arista -- Tuscany’s roasted pork loin scented with rosemary and garlic -- maybe it’s time to lay in some Chianti.
The Sangiovese-based red from Tuscany goes, of course, with Tuscan food. But it’s also versatile enough to work with California, Mediterranean and even Middle Eastern cuisines. Need a pizza wine? Or one to go with spiced meatballs? Try a Chianti Classico or a Chianti Rufina.
And don’t worry about buying too much of a good thing. A year or two more in bottle will only improve this Italian red. In Tuscany, Chianti is very much an everyday wine, poured from a pitcher into tumblers.
We’ve collected a handful of Chiantis, some priced for every day, others not so much, but all are worth laying in for fall and winter drinking.
2013 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina
Selvapiana is one of the best estates in Chianti Rufina (a subzone of Chianti), and consistently turns out first-rate Sangiovese-based reds. A deep ruby in color, the 2013 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina is a classic, tasting of dried cherries and plums, mushrooms and herbs. A great everyday red to keep on hand for pasta nights and grilled skirt steak or pork chops. Some of the excellent 2012 is still around, too.
Look for it at K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, the Wine Country in Signal Hill and the Wine House in Los Angeles. From $16 to $17.
2013 Badia a Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti
You can’t beat the price for this sturdy Chianti from Badia a Coltibuono. Cetamura is made in a straightforward, easy-drinking style. The fruit is bright and pleasing, with notes of sweet spices. Just the bottle to pull out for bean soups, rustic pasta dishes and even a burger.
Look for it at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, the Wine Country in Signal Hill and the Wine House in Los Angeles. From $9 to $11.
2012 Fattoria di Fèlsina Chianti Classico
Toward the southern end of the Chianti Classico region, Fattoria di Fèlsina can be counted on for excellent Chianti. Though a difficult vintage, the 2012 Chianti Classico tastes of cherries, blackberries and subtly of forest and earth. A beautiful expression of Sangiovese from a master.
Look for it at Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, Total Wine & More at various locations, Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana and the Wine House in Los Angeles. From $20 to $26.
2011 Podere Il Palazzino Chianti Classico “Argenina”
Il Palazzino’s top wine is their Grosso Sanese, but this lithe Chianti “Argenina” from a vineyard in Monti in Chianti is a real beauty — and a bargain. You get plenty of bright red cherries, tobacco and wild herbs. The freshness is a result of fermenting the grapes at a lower temperature in order to preserve the primary aromas.
Look for it at Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles in Los Angeles. $17.
2012 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico
This classic estate has made a lovely 2012 Chianti, a bit lighter than usual, but with real elegance and subtlety. The bouquet is pretty, the fruit pure and focused. Tannins are still a bit firm, so it’s best with a bistecca, pork roast or grilled pork chops.
Look for it at Los Angeles Wine Company in Los Angeles, Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and the Wine House in Los Angeles. From $22 to $30.
2011 Querciabella Chianti Classico
Querciabella’s Chianti Classico is made from biodynamically farmed grapes. In 2011, they yielded a Chianti that is both intense and delicate, with great depth of flavor — black cherries, red berries, herbs — and a lovely lingering finish. Drink it now, and if you can, save a bottle or two for a few years.
Look for it at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, John & Pete’s Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills. From $25 to $30.
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