Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy
90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet, 5% Merlot; 13% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 18 Dec
I first poured out a half bottle of this wine and stoppered it with very little air for later consumption. The other half was quite promising from first pour, but needed about 2.5 hours in the bottle to air as much as it was going to. (I got this bottle soon after it arrived. If you keep it at home for more than a few weeks, you may get different results.) Then it had tangy flavors of dark plum, darker red and some tart cherries, lighter tar and tobacco, with a stronger tannic finish. It may be just the power of suggestion, but I find the presence of Cabernet and Merlot somewhat odd in a Chianti. Some of the fruit more straightforward and less tangy – fresher red cherry and blackcurrant – than I usually expect in Italian wines, and at one point I even thought I detected green bell pepper. Anyway, this wine is pretty good for the price, although I never felt like it really showed all the potential that seemed to be in the nose. The tannic finish suggests it may even be better with a couple more years of cool storage, and may have been better the next day.
Although I opened the second half bottle not too long after consuming the first half, I did save a small amount in a single-glass screw cap bottle with plenty of air, and tried it the next night. While the nose was as lovely as it had been, with aromas of tangy plum, kirsch, and dried orange peel – on the palate it was still about as unresolved as on the first night. So, perhaps it still needs more age, or perhaps it is past its prime. Certainly, there is enough fruit and tannin to hold it together, but it’s not clear to me if they will come into balance someday. For now, I found it only Drinkable.