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Classy Chianti wows Northside staff!

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

In a follow-up to a late March tasting of inexpensive Chianti, the staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently conducted a blind tasting of 42 Chiantis priced above $15 per bottle. The nearly unanimous first-place pick was the 2003 Toscolo Chianti Classico [sku 5850].* At $19 a bottle it was, refreshingly, one of the less expensive wines in the tasting.

The Toscolo label is used for several Chiantis bottled for Neil Empson, a U.S. importer of fine Italian wines. Northside’s winning wine was produced from grapes grown in Chianti’s classico zone, a hilly vineyard area between Florence and Siena. It’s an area noted for producing wines with deeper and more complex flavors than other parts of the Chianti region.

Chianti classico must contain a minimum of 75% Sangiovese, the premier grape of many Tuscan red wines. This rendition from Toscolo contains 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is gorgeous. Its dark cherry scented nose is very inviting. Cherry and other fruit flavors explode on the palate, and a hint of vanilla from oak ageing provides a lovely accent to the lingering, fruit-driven finish. Like all good Chianti, the wine has an appetizing, lip-smacking quality that cries out for food.

This isn’t your basic pizza wine. Try it with dishes such as chicken cacciatore, stuffed peppers, cannelloni filled with spinach and ricotta, or a mushroom risotto.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 05/15/2006

Northside Wine & Spirits is located in 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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