2006 Donna Laura Bramosia Chianti Classico

2006 Donna Laura Bramosia Chianti ClassicoPrice: $14.99 @ Vintage Wine & Spirits imported by Banville & Jones

What They Said:

Per Banville & Jones “With a deep ruby color and intense aromas of cherry and red fruit, this Chianti Classico balances ripe fruit and acidity with well integrated accents of wood and spice. A great match with roasted meats and flavorful pastas, this wine is also delicious to sip on its own without food.”

I also found this from the Wine Spectator “This shows slightly cooked fruit character on the nose and palate, with a medium body and a simple finish. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.” – JS

What I Think:

On Saturday we decided to make pizza and headed down to town to grab the makings. Being in the mood for an Italian wine other than what I had in the house I decided to cross the street and grab a bottle from the local wine store. I walked in and asked them for their favorite everyday Italian, when they handed me this one I had my reservations (given the price point) but decided to roll the dice anyway…

How did it go? Cherry and herb notes greet you on the nose and welcome you on the palate as well. Good acidity emerges to deliver a balanced, food friendly wine. The finish is short with hints of cedar on top of soft tannins. This is a simple, easy drinking wine. At the end of the day I got exactly what I asked for when I walked into the store. While I found it enjoyable, for $15 I also found it to be overpriced. Lesson learned! Next time I need to do a better job communicating my expectations…

Rating: Pricey

2003 Gaetano D’Aquino Chianti Riserva

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by D’Aquino Italian Imports

What They Said:

Per the winery “With a vinous bouquet of good intensity that refines with aging, a Riserva is barrel-aged at least two years. It consists of a full, dry, slightly tannic, harmonious flavor and is best served with grilled meats, game and seasoned cheeses. Serve at room temperature and open one hour before serving.”

What I Think:

Given my lackluster experience with Trader Joe’s Chianti I was enthused to find a recommendation for this one. Most of the other chatter in the blogsphere was much less glowing so I open the bottle cautiously optimistic.

Now onto the wine. .. A search of the importer’s site showed that this one has some Canaiole Nero and Trebbiano blended in with the Sangiovese. On the nose you are greeted with notes of cherry. The palate starts a bit off with some barrel type flavors up front that give way to a nice light fruit and lead to a minty, slightly tannic finish. This one didn’t work for me but most Chianti’s haven’t historically. Anyone think they have one that can break the spell?

Rating: Skip It

2006 Aquila d’Oro Chianti

Price: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Santini Fine Wines

What They Said:

Per corkd.com, via my fellow amateurs as no professional input is available: “Aficionados of dry Chianti may stop reading now, assuming any actually are. Which I doubt. Anyway, this inexpensive Trader Joe’s offering most likely won’t win any awards, but it certainly is a pleasant, easily-drinkable wine. I served it with a pleasant, easily-eatable meal, which was a pleasant and easily-enjoyable experience for my family. The nose has some blackberry and pepper, maybe a little anise, which went well with the fennel in the meal. The taste is at first grapey and slightly fruity-sweet; the finish more tannic and peppery. I like it a lot, but if you read my other reviews, you’ll find that I tend to like nearly EVERYTHING.”

What I Think:

After enjoying a few bottles of the Toscana I thought I would give this Chianti a go to see if it could match the performance. Alas, no was the answer. It wasn’t all that far off. At the end of the day this wine ending up coming off as thin or better said short on fruit. Not bad, but not worth trying unless you love Chianti. Otherwise grab the Toscana or try one of these Epicuro offerings.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Badia di Morrona I Soldi del Paretaio Chianti

Price: $8.99 @ The Wine Club imported by Vinity Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “According to the Wine Spectator: “A soft, fruity red, with juicy plum and berry on a light mineral bed. Simple. Drink now.” (Web only, 2006) 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.”

What I Think:

Are Italians stubborn? Because I know when it comes to their wines I am. If I were smart I would stick to areas that I am more able to appreciate. That said as friends and the world sing the praises of these wines I feel like I am missing the boat! Nobody wants to be that guy, so I keep trying. Maybe you can only get the good ones if you drop a wad of cash though I don’t think that is the case. My latest strategy was only to pair Italian wines with likewise food so this one was opened to accompany a made from scratch sausage pizza. Check it out if you shop at TJ’s. You get a bag with a ball of pre-made dough, a little bowl of sauce and with the cheese and sausages you are off to the races. I know, not quite made from scratch but that is as close as I am getting. To boot the crust comes in whole wheat crust for those that are more health conscious. So with that in the oven this finds its way into my glass.

Taking a look at the wine it looks medium bodied and colored, the upfront fruit seems to initially be that of black cherries and plums before it gives way to what I think of as the barrel characteristics. I’d describe these along the lines of minty, spicy and tannic. On the palate this wine seems almost backwards. It starts with a heavy mouth of closed tannins that gradually start to show sour cherries before opening up to match the initial aromas. Strange…what does it mean? I have no idea so I drink on. As I put the cork in and grab a bottle of Carmenere from the rack I find myself wondering, why do I keep trying?

On day 2 I pull the cork out and am greeted with the same nose but as the wine meets the tongue it is a whole different story. This is a much better wine. Rich, dark fruit has come to the fore and the wine now seems well integrated. The sour notes of the cherries have disappeared and the mint and tannins appear more pleasantly at the end (which is where I always thought they belonged). Perhaps it need more time in the bottle…

This led me to two new thoughts on Italian wine; maybe they are like left over spaghetti. I always enjoy it more the second day after the flavors have had some time to meld in the fridge. The second going back to my thesis at the top is that these wines should only be had with very authentic Italian food; I am thinking more the sweet savory type. When I tried that with the Nero d’ Avola and the Rubino a few weeks back I was pleased with the result. Being the stubborn man that I am (and I’m not Dr. Suess) I’m sure we will see how this revision effects my results. We won’t be doing so with this bottle though, if you have any ideas of which to try do let me know.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Il Tarocco Chianti Classico

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by American Beverage Group (could be wrong on this price, I’ll check next time)

What They Said:

Per the winery “Grapes: selected grapes Sangiovese (90%) and black tuscany Canaiolo (10%) coming from vineyards more than 20 years old; bottled since 1992.

Characteristics: Intense ruby colour. Elegant smell of beautiful mature red fruit with floral notes and balanced taste, full, intense and persistent.

Il Tarocco conserve his own characteristics for 10-12 years.

Combinations: tasty pasta, white and red meats, stewed meat, matured cheeses and rich plates of flavour and substance.”

What I Think:

I think I have had most of the Chianti that has come through TJ’s. They are usually drinkable but not memorable. This one certainly matches that profile. I did notice that the blend was 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero. It seemed like they were going with the truly classical style of a balanced wine but they didn’t quite hit the mark.

Rating: Skip It