Ahh... Chianti - Italy's claim-to-fame. The one and only pasta-loving wine. Chianti Classico, produced primarily by the Sangiovese grape, is a light- to medium-bodied red wine with bright red fruit character and a crisp acidity. It's that acidity which goes so well with equally acidic tomato-based sauces: part of Italy's prime cuisine!
I should note that Chianti Classico is different than the ever-popular, made-to-compete-with-high-alcohol-California-wines Super Tuscans, which use Sangiovese as a base and then blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and/or Cabernet Franc. Super Tuscans have much greater body, usually a higher alcohol, and a bigger incorporation of oak compared to the traditional Chianti.
2009 Chianti Classico by Casalino
The D-2010 Scale
2009 Chianti Classico by Casalino (Italy)
Appearance (10 points possible): Light red with slightly brown-tinted edges. Clear. - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Lots of red fruits with a complex hint of leather, earth, and a sensual smokiness. - 15 points
Taste (10 points possible): Light-bodied red wine with crisp acidity. Red fruits and leather on the palate. Slightly astringent with a lingering smoky finishing. - 7 points
Balance (5 points possible): The acidity made this wine a bit thin, but it's traditionally made in this style. I wish it was integrated together just a bit better. I'm surprised the wine is at 13% alcohol because I didn't pick up on this too easily. - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible): Lengthy and smoky with a hint of astringency and lingering acidity. - 5 points
Quality of Package (5 points possible): Heavy glass bottle with the DOCG seal indicating that it's a real Chianti. - 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible): Nice large label, but I did over-look this originally because the label was a bit dull to me. For some reason, I'm not overly big on Italian labels and understanding them, so I'm slightly biased against them. Eventually I chose this label (over lots of others) because there was a note below it indicating it's quality and because it was a DOCG wine, as opposed to the other which was not. - 8 points
Other (5 points possible): No big extras on this one. - 3 points
Total Points: 88 points
Overall Thought: This is a wine I'd probably buy again if I was in a bind for an inexpensive Chianti. The quality is good enough that it was worth the $11 for me. But I wasn't overly impressed with this wine when I had it. That being said, this wasn't the only wine of the evening, so in my head, I'm comparing it to another wine that I was more attracted to. Hahaha. I guess no wine is created equal! Regardless, it's definitely a good example of a Chianti Classico, and one that I think is worth trying.
Food Pairings: This is your ultimate pizza and pasta wine. Any time you have a red-based sauce, I'd grab a wine just like this! I had it with baked zitti... yum!
Cost: I think you'll find this around $11.
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 1... Definitely a good wine for under $20.
Where to buy: I purchased this at Total Wine. (Actually, I lie. I picked it out, but my grandparents bought it.) :) Cheers!