Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2012

Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2012: Translucent ruby color; cherry, raspberry nose; dark cherry, sour cherry, plum, raspberry on the palate.

Smooth, full-bodied with fresh acidity and boldness to play well with tomato-sauce-laden Italian foods like lasagna, also with pizza, sausage, red meats. Made with 90% sangiovese and dashes of merlot and colorino, this delicious, savory wine does not pretend to be more than a huge, tasty, major value.

A moderate use of oak and devotion to the classic method for making chianti means you get a true expression of fresh, fruity sangiovese grape with appropriate tannin. The folks around Castello di Gabbiano have been doing wine since 1124, so you can say they have the requisite experience.

Chianti is any wine made in the Chianti region in central Tuscany; the name entered the wine world in 1716. Today’s rules mandate at least 80% sangiovese grapes. In the 1960s and 70s, chianti wines were typically associated with cheep wine, rustic flavors, a straw basket (fiasco), and munchy-driven drinkers eating take-out pizza and singing Kumbaya (hey, I was one of them).

Tuscan wine makers pulled their act together during the past 30-plus years, as this widely available pour easily demonstrates. The chianti region produces more than eight million cases of wine a year, the largest volume of DOC/G wines in Italy. DOC and DOCG are designations that ensure rules were followed and generally they are a signal of quality; look for them on a paper label on the neck of the wine bottle.

It should be noted, however, some Super Tuscan, Brunello, and Montepulciano makers eschew the rules and produce world class wines. This being Italy, some Brunello and Montepulciano makers do chose to earn the DOCG labels. As said, this is Italy. In any event, try this bottle and you will not be disappointed. $8-10 Gabbiano Chianti Classico