Perhaps the most well known appellation in all of Tuscany is that of Chianti. And while there are many appellations that can produce bottles with the word Chianti on their label, the best of these is Chianti Classico. Representing the original heartland of Chianti, the more specific appellation of Chianti Classico also has stricter rules of grape production, vinification, and aging.
While the first and second place wines exhibited good depth, ripeness, and body, the tasting was slightly disappointing, with tasters not noting a great deal of complexity or enjoyment on many entries.
Andy's first place wine was also the night's greatest value, at only $13.
First Place: Donna Laura Bramosia Chianti Classico 2004. Smelling heavily of coffee, along with smoked meat, dark chocolate, and stinky cheese. Heather was reminded of "old basement". Chewy and round in the mouth, and featuring flavors of juicy black fruits and wet dust. Much darker in color, and rich in profile. Andy noted that "this makes me want to bite". Received 28 points. Andy's bottle. About $13.
Second Place: Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico 2003. Creamy/buttery on the nose, with notions of crème brulee, flowers, and nutmeg. Visibly thicker than most, with strong aromatics. Full-bodied, smooth, and relatively long. Tasters found black licorice, espresso, and a burnt quality on the finish. Received 22 points. David's bottle. About $20.
Third Place: Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2003. Aromas of sweet cherries and smoke. A solid mid-palate containing pepper, plums, smoke, iodine, and vanilla. Finishes slightly short, which Tom described as "the back of my tongue is being ignored". Ali and Andy thought this wine could be described as "liquid cubism". Received 13 points. Tom's bottle. About $20.
Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico 2004. Exhibiting a green/floral quality, suggesting fennel. Ali felt this was "not giving as much", and that "this is a straw-covered bottle". A little bright cherry fruit, but as Kristin noted, it "doesn't have a lot going on". Ali decided that "it's dead to me". Received 8 points. Heather's bottle. About $15.
Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2001. Offering scents of black cherries, blueberries, dust, dried herbs, black licorice, cream, and herbs. Dry, and not as rich in the mouth, with an unbalanced tannic, black tea quality. Hints of bitter chocolate. The creaminess of this one reminded Ali of "Wisconsin", and "just dairy". Received 4 points. Ali's bottle. About $28.
Tiziano Gold Chianti Classico 2001. Blueberries, spices, black pepper, and wood aromas, without any creaminess. Relatively round in the mouth, more tannic, with an olive note. Ali felt that "it goes away before I can taste it". Finishes with a hint of fennel. Received 3 points. Kristin's bottle. About $14.