Monday, June 01, 2009

Retasting a Tried-and-True Favorite from Chianti

The first Chianti I ever bought was a bottle of Marchesi de'Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva. I knew nothing about Chianti--not what grape it was made from, or what the words "Chianti Rufina" meant on the label. Since then I've learned the answer to the first question (Sangiovese) and the second (Chianti Rufina is a particular sub-region of Chianti that is north and east of the main wine-producing area. You can find out more about Chianti Rufina from these articles I found on AbleGrape).

And I've also had a lot more Chianti. I like Sangiovese, with its lighter body and earthy flavors. But Chianti prices skyrocketed a while back and I drink less of the wine than I'd like. But wines from Chianti Rufina represent some of the best QPR in this prestigious wine region--as I was pleased to rediscover with the latest release of my tried-and-true favorite.

The 2005 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Nipozzano Riserva (available for $17-$28) is an excellent QPR Italian Sangiovese. It had wonderful cherry aromas and flavors that were both fresh and rich. The wine picked up some additional complexity in leather, oak, and spice notes. There was a luscious, juicy aftertaste and the wine had excellent acidity which made it a terrific partner for food.

If you're looking for a meal to pair with your Chianti Rufina, try this pasta dish with arugula-almond pesto and meatballs. The arugula and almond pesto will save you some money (at least until the summer basil comes in), and has a wonderful flavor. The meatballs are made with a dash of red wine and two kinds of ground meat. I made the recipe twice--once with the lavender the recipe calls for and once without--and preferred the version without the lavender. Either way the herbal pesto and the cherry fruit in the wine work well together, and the meatballs pick out the leathery, spicy aspects of the wine.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.


Anonymous said...

This wine has gotten lots of pub in the mega-publications and frequently can be seen listed in the company of top wines of the year lists. Frescobaldi's Nipozzano Riserva is one of those wines that lives up to the hype. Ridiculously delicious, slick and refined from one vintage to the next, these wines represent one of the best values in Chianti Rufina. " Terrific partner for food " agreed.

AJ said...

If you can still find some the 04' is showing very well now.

AJ said...

Do you know if there's any Merlot in this wine? If so how much? The taste profile is similar to Luce albeit with less depth and concentration.