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Awesome Chianti value!

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, David Marrano, Alice Peters, Kelley O’Neill, Jason Wentworth

Chianti, perhaps Italy’s best known red wine, is made in the region of the same name in central Tuscany. It is a wine that can be tough to pin down.

Traditionally, Chianti was blended from an assortment of Tuscan grape varieties, both red and white, with Sangiovese dominating. More recently, however, some producers use only the cherry scented Sangiovese grape, while others include up to 15% of international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some Chianti is aged in small, new oak barrels, which impart a sweet hint of toasty vanilla.

The resulting wines vary in style from fresh, fruity, and tangy to deeply concentrated, structured, and oaky.

The variable style of Chianti was much in evidence when the staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently conducted a blind tasting of 23 Chiantis priced $15 or less. The staff’s favorite wine was the traditionally made 2001 Villa Puccini Chianti Riserva [sku 8424].* At only $10 per bottle, this wine positively screams value.

A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo (a traditional blending grape in Chianti), the wine is aged in two year-old, large Slavonian oak barrels for 2 years. Its surprisingly complex bouquet and dark spicy flavors thus come from the quality of the fruit rather than small, new oak barrels.

This delicious dry red wine can be served with a wide range of foods, such as ravioli with sage butter, mushroom risotto, or a nice grilled steak drizzled with olive oil.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 04/17/06

Northside Wine & Spirits is located at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

* To purchase this wine, simply type its "sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

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