Chianti DOCG, Tuscany, Italy; from Frescobaldi; 12.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 16 Sept
This wine looked potentially very good, but also potentially awful. The color through the bottle was a dark, saturated red, but, hmm, an 11-year-old Chianti…
I let the sediment in the bottom settle for a few days before decanting it. (The sediment seemed to be mostly fine-grained but not silty, i.e., it would quickly settle to the bottom of your glass, so decanting it off the sediment is probably not necessary here.) From the rounded top of the cork under the capsule, I suspected some heat damage, but when I unwrapped it, the cork appeared to have just not been put in all the way rather than having been subsequently forced up by thermal expansion.
The wine was pretty tasty right away, showing richer, ripe, dark red cherry fruit with some darker bitterness of cherry pit, but I thought it needed about 1:15 – 1:45 of air to really open up. Then, the wine shows more tangy dark red / black cherry, cherry pit, herbal or sappy wood / earth, and only a trace of Chianti’s usual dried orange. The wine is not the most complex, but is quite nicely full-flavored and elegant for the price. And not too old! But do drink it up pretty soon, as it seems perfectly mature now.
The next day, the saved, single-glass, screwcap bottle was at least as good, maybe better. The fruit was more rich and forward, integrated with other complexities, and didn’t need that much air. However, I still think one shouldn’t wait long to drink it.