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6 Chiantis to drink now. Think wine for pizza, even Middle Eastern food

Chianti can be a great wine to drink with pizza, spicy meatballs and even Middle Eastern food.

Chianti can be a great wine to drink with pizza, spicy meatballs and even Middle Eastern food.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Follow @sirenevirbila for more on food and wine.

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