I’ve been buying up Chianti lately and found some really good ones.

On the recommendation of Ashley at Cork & Cracker in Indy, I recently picked up a bottle of Il Fiorino 2008 Chianti. It retails for around $13.

This was a really satisfying and easy-to-drink Chianti. There are lots of Chianti wines in every wine shop and even grocery stores. It’s difficult, unless you really know your Italian wines, to pick one.

I think I’ve learned a few things in the past month. The Il Fiorino is the classic and traditional blend of 90 percent Sangiovese with 10 percent Canaiolo. The winery Poggio Romita ages the wine in stainless steel instead of oak. They keep it in the tanks just six months and then bottle.

That does two things. First the wine has very mild tannins for that smooth drinkablility new wine drinkers are always seeking out. Second, the Canaiolo is one of many native and traditional blending grapes for Chianti. In recent years, more and more wineries use Merlot to soften the Sangiovese grape.

Simply put: Yuk! It’s sort of like dumbing things down.

I’ve clearly noticed with the traditional blends you seem to get a richer, and more interesting flavor. The natural cherry characteristics of the Chianti jump out of the glass, onto your palate and down it goes for a great wine that pairs well with simple Italian dishes.

What do you serve with pizza? Here is a great wine for that and for newbies to Chianti! By the way, I went back two days later and bought all 11 bottles left in the shop. I have a pizza party in two weeks where I was asked to bring the wine! That’s what I thought of this juice!

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