Wine Guy: revisiting Chianti Classico

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The Wine Guy offers three Chianti Classico wines to celebrate in October

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Chianti is a classic wine archetype for good reason. Is there a better table wine? Debatable, of course, but Chianti’s pairing prowess is undeniable.

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Sangiovese – the red grape variety of Chianti – dazzles with its typical combination of bright fruit met by savory bramble, and sings with its inherent acidity.

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At the top of the Chianti canon is Chianti Classico, with its own name Denominazione di Origin Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) reflecting specific wine sites from Florence to Siena. These are the wines displaying the famous black rooster (or Gallo Nero) symbol of the brand, which you are likely to see more of in October with Chianti Classico wines featured in 20 BC Liquor Store locations.

San Fabiano Calcinaia 2019 Chianti Classico, Italy ($27.99, #94789)

By decree, Chianti Classico wines must be made from at least 80% Sangiovese. The rest of the blend will be made up of other native varietals, as well as perhaps more international Merlot or Cabernet. In the case of San Fabiano Calcinaia, the wine is made from 90% organic Sangiovese blended with 5% each from local stalwarts Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera. The engaging result exudes aromas of flowers, cherry and brushwood, with a structured core of black cherry and tobacco leaf concluded by soft tannins and freshness. It’s an easy wine to pair, especially if simmered tomato sauce is part of the meal: think classic house stew or take-out pizza.

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Conclusion: B+, classic classic

Mazzei Ser Lapo 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva, Italy ($32.99, #176842)

The “Riserva” appellation is reserved for Chianti Classicos aged at least 24 months in the cellar and containing a minimum of 12.5% ​​alcohol. Mazzei’s Ser Lapo Riserva is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot (in a 90/10 ratio) and it doesn’t hold back. Shedding intense garnet, it brings big expressions of dark cherry, herbs and earth. The overall style is rich and full, blending juicy fruit with savory tones and a sumptuous finish. It’s a wine that pairs well with richer dishes, like braised lamb shank or hearty rustic stew.

At the end of the line : A-, Buxom Riserva

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro 2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Italy ($48.99, #512517)

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The ‘Gran Selezione’ appellation of Chianti Classico is relatively new. Created in 2014, this category is awarded only to Chianti Classicos made from grapes grown on the estate, in accordance with stricter regulations and the approval of a tasting committee. Critics claim that Gran Selezione adds unnecessary complication to an already special wine classification, but to be fair, Ruffino has been producing its Riserva Ducale Oro since 1947 – long before the GS moniker – and from then on only in the best vintages. The 2017 version has aged three years in concrete, large oak barrels as well as smaller older barrels and is breathtakingly elegant: cherry, flowers and forest floor enveloped in a concentrated yet elegant position.

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At the end of the line : A-, elegant Gran Selezione


The Swirl Events: Chianti Classico at BC Liquor Stores

In addition to displays of Chianti Classico bottles at BC Liquor Stores across the province, two guided tastings are scheduled – October 13 at the 39th & Cambie Signature BC Liquor Store (5555 Cambie St. Vancouver) and October 20 at the Park Royal Signature Liquor Store (785 Park Royal North, West Vancouver). Both two-hour tastings will be led by local Chianti Classico Ambassador Jason Yamasaki and will include a three-course Italian tapas-style meal from Bon Vivant Catering. Tickets are $35 per person and are quite limited, and can be purchased directly at in-store customer service counters. All the details about bcliquorstores.com/event.

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