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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuscany Uncorked: 2007 Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

“One cannot think well, love well, and sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Wool

Hey what's on the menu? Ah yes the quintessential question we all want to know as we head home after long day at work or when we show up to a restaurant we may not be familiar with and are trying to make your mind whether you'd like dine there for the evening. If you happen to be craving Italian food as I often do, then I would recommend getting your hands on a good bottle of Italian wine to accompany your Italian inspired dining choice.

On the traditional line of thinking when it comes to pairing food and wine, it's often said that "when in Rome do as the Romans do". So what does that mean; think of it as a simple rule of thumb. In my experience it's best to pair regional wines with local cuisine [which doesn't always hold true with New World wines]. 

With the onset of the "modern" food movement many folks have advanced the idea that any wine goes with any dish. And just because you can do it something, it doesn't always mean it's a good idea.  

C'mon most of us don’t put pickles on our slice of chocolate birthday cake for the same reasons we don’t drink a delicate white wine with a hearty tomato based dish or a brawny red wine with cilantro-lime  marinade on our baked Tilapia because they're mismatched flavors and textures. 

What I'm setting the stage for is the review of a delightful Chianti Classico from the great folks at Banfi Vintners and why pairing this wine with traditional Italian fare is a great idea on so many fronts.

Today’s review will revolve around their "Riserva" [the term primarily deals with aging in small barriques, higher ABV and are typically more full bodied] a wine you will see in plentiful supply at many San Diego based Costco Stores.

Chianti Style: Typically what you find in Chianti's is medium-bodied, very dry wine, boasting firm tannins and veiled fruit flavors. They tend to be medium to high in acidity, with varying degrees tart cherry aromas and flavors.

Pairing: When done right, a Chianti can have complex, subtle, lingering flavors which make it a great match with many kinds of food. You'll find this wine pairs nicely with many tomato based Italian dishes and more specifically a rich red meat dishes like the succulent Bistecca Fiorentina or just your everyday homemade lasagna dish. The Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 is a food pairing champion.

Swirly, Sniffy and Slurp: This is the kind of wine that won't really be helped with those new aerators I see so many folks using today. That said, I recommend decanting for at least an hour before dinner [if you can] with a traditional decanter. For the first fly-by however I poured straight from the bottle and I gave this wine a few swirls in the glass revealing a vibrant ruby colored core. What you will find on the nose; dried cherry with smoky cedar. On the palate a dusting of cocoa flavor adding a layer of complexity to the savory ripe plum and touch of strawberry which round out this wonderful Chianti Classico that has a New World vibe, while tipping its cap to Old World at the same time. 

The ABV: For all the old-world snobs who maybe lurking in the audience, just so you know this wine weighs in at a mere 13% alcohol, and still it packs in a boat-load of wonderful fruit flavors and aromas.

Price and Where to Find: You can find this delightful wine at your local BevMo [who sells it for $17.99] and can also be found at a majority of your neighborhood Costco locations where it sells for just under $13 everyday. Both stores have it in stock and ready to roll.

My Recommendation: When the urge to grab for some Italian food overwhelms you, it just maybe a good idea to have some of this drink now and drink often wine standing by to compliment your next meal. It is inexpensive enough to purchase by the case or to just have a few bottles hanging around in the pantry.

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a sample for the review process.

What's the Score: I give this wine a solid 90 points and QPR champ, that I'd label a best-buy.

Other Voices:  Ken gave this wine 88 points and had this to say,"It also displays a round mouth-feel and is very approachable. The finish is dry and its moderate tannins are dusty and linger for quite a while. This wine is food friendly." Ken's wine guide

Until next time everyone sip long and prosper, cheers!
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