One of the things about wine that isn’t explained enough is that until you have a good wine, you don’t know what the wine is generally supposed to taste like. To extend the metaphor a bit, if one has only eaten industry Cheddar cheese, one doesn’t really know what true cheddar is all about. Never has this idea been better illustrated to me than when I’ve started tasting Chiantis.
The basic problem I have with Chiantis (and a fair majority of red wines) is that they contain tannins, a substance in which I seem to have a particularly sensitivity toward (probably from being a bit of a tea snob). Unless the tannins are held in check, or developed properly, most reds end up tasting simply bitter to me.
Chiantis were/are especially guilty of this. Back in college, when money was most certainly an issue when purchasing wines, I thought I’d be cool and buy one of those wines that comes in those famous chianti bottles. Unfortunately, these wines were so bitter to me that I quickly swore off reds.
Flash Forward a decade or two – I have a good Chianti at the prodding of a friend. I drink it, and have an epiphany: Wine as spice! This Chianti I was drinking was thick with tannins, but they were there for a purpose. Flavorful and spicy, this wine begged to be enjoyed with a pasta with tomato sauce.
Which brings me to this wonderful piece of work: a 2000 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva.
Eyes: Deep Violet within the glass, a dark ruby upon the rim. It quickly slips off the side of the glass when twirled.
Nose: It has the aroma of black cherry Kool-aid with a bit of a kick. It has a bit of an oaky smell to it which is not unpleasant.
Taste:Peppery is the strongest taste there, with a bit of cherry beneath it all. It holds the tongue quite well and finishes smoothly many seconds after you’ve swallowed.
Overall: From here on out, this is my baseline Chianti. Anything below this is simply not worth my time (as I am not a huge fan of reds). Are there better Chianti’s than this? Most Likely. Are they worse? Absolutely. On my scale of 1-3, I’d give this a three (Would buy again).