Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011

Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011: Dark ruby-red color; black cherry nose; black cherry, plum, spice, sour cherry, leather on the palate;

rich, smooth, medium body; tame tannin, good acidity, some earthiness and tang on the finish; primarily sangiovese, with small amounts of canaiolo and cabernet sauvignon to add complexity. The wine aged for two years, with at least one year in slavonian oak, then spent six months in bottle before release—which is how it earned its Chianti Classico Riserva designation. As most people know, wine labels, especially in the Old World, can be confusing; Chianti is no exception. There is Chianti, Chianti Superiore, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Classico, and Chianti Classico Riserva (and those are merely the most common). The names represent variations in grapes used and locations of the vineyards; they also reflect quality in most cases. Chianti Classico is designation for wines that meet certain quality standards in production, and Riserva reflects even more quality requirements—the two years aging and time in bottle before release. The DOCG rating is another mark of quality in Italian wines. This is good quality-for-price example from one of the best makers in Tuscany; it very significantly improves with air and decanting is recommended. Pair with sausage pizza, pasta with rich tomato and meat sauces, roast beef and other flavorful red meats. See my review of Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio Toscana for more information about the Castello Banfi operation and winemaker Cristina Mariani-May. $19Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva