Monday, 18 January 2010

Basilica Cafaggio (Chianti Classico)

Having enjoyed a deliciously chocolatey wine from Texas, made from 50% Sangiovese grapes, I challenged myself to go forth and seek out this grape for further scrutiny. And so, on a visit to M&S, I picked up a bottle of Basilica Cafaggio's Chianti Classico, made with 100% Sangiovese (a varietal, I believe they call it). I am happy to admit that my knowledge of wine is - how shall we say? - undeveloped, and my preferences rather vague, aside from a general fondness for Spanish riojas and Californian reds. So this was a wine mission into the unknown, inspired by that unforgettable line from All The President's Men: "Follow the grapes".

It soon became clear that Sangiovese, shorn of its accompanying Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and rendered as a Chianti Classico, is a very different cup of tea. This wine was acidic, dry; like tart cherries. Medium bodied and savory, rather than sweet, it tasted like essence of grape, without any of the oak and vanilla and chocolate and, well, fun stuff. I think the key word here may be tannic. To be reasonable, it did become more drinkable after a few gulps, and went much better with dinner (cheese). Still, this was unexpected.

FACT! Chianti Classico is one of eight districts of the Chianti wine region, in Italian Tuscany.

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