You don’t need to be a sommelier to know that a good wine pairing can make or break even the best of meals.
The world of wine buying and drinking can be quite intimidating, even scary at times. I think everyone needs a go-to wine that they love and understand; if only so you can impress people with your knowledge. My go-to wine is Chianti.
The good news is when choosing a good wine, a higher price does not always mean a better quality wine!
Chianti wine is one great example of this.
Some of you probably thought immediately about the scene from the 1991 movie “Silence of the Lambs”. While I don’t agree with what Hannibal Lecter decides to eat, I do believe he was spot on when picking a good wine.
For me Chianti is the perfect all around wine. I know there are a lot of purists that would disagree and tell me that red wine only goes with red meat and not poultry, fish, or pasta.
I like to drink Chianti with lamb, beef, and some good raw cheese. But I don’t feel that a good Chianti overpowers the more subtle flavors of a poultry or pasta dish and I often prefer it to a Pinot Grigio.
Also, I don’t think you could go wrong bringing a Chianti to any dinner party as it’s almost guaranteed to go with at least one dish on the menu.
So what gives Chianti the extra pazazz that makes me love it so?
One word: “Sangiovese”. That little grape variety gives this wine its irresistible taste. A Chianti is a blend of grapes but regulation dictates it be at least 70% Sangiovese originating from Tuscany, Italy.
You’ve all heard how beautiful Tuscany is from every travel site, friend who has visited, or a magazine. I’m here to tell you that the ravings they give you don’t EVEN come close to what it’s really like to be in Tuscany.
I’ve traveled quite a bit of the world and there isn’t any place quite like it. It’s got the sleepy, relaxed feeling of a small town with a slight buzz of excitement humming beneath the surface. What I would compare to a moonlight rendezvous of peace and serenity along the shoreline mixed with the excitement of a spontaneous skinny dip in the cool water along the way.
And so every time I break open a bottle of Chianti, I can feel the calm and peacefulness approach along with the exhilaration of the spontaneous and unknown.
Whilst there are many exceptions to this rule, one easy trick to spotting an authentic, classified Chianti is to make sure there is an official government label wrapped around the neck of the bottle.
Chianti wine truly is Tuscany in a bottle. Try it for yourself and see!
Some of my favorites:
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva (2006 or 2007) : Around $18 a bottle
La Castelina Chianti Classico Reserva Squarcialupi (2005) : Around $30 a bottle
Chianti Rufina Reserva Prunatelli (1997) : Around $25 a bottle (if you can find it, it’s becoming rare)
Chianti Rufina Reserva Fattoria Monte (2003) : Around $20 a bottle