I usually find myself not liking the Italian Chianti’s with Merlot, I prefer the Caniolo grape in my Chianti wines.

But during a Saturday morning trip to Cincinnati’s wonderful Jungle Jim’s Market I picked up a bottle of $14.99 Tuscan wine and noticed it was from Mazzei. The producer dates back to the 1400s and remains on the same property today. I had tried to arrange a trip to the Mazzei winery when I was in Italy over New Year’s but couldn’t work that out.

That alone was enough to get me to pick up a bottle. (And you thought it took more?)

The Badiola might be called Mezzei’s value label and so be it. I liked 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent Merlot blend a lot – a little too much last night, frankly.

This wine had that nice soft cherry you often get from Sangiovese-based wines but a bigger structure than some without the off-putting acidity. It was well balanced or round, whichever term you prefer!

I had it with a grilled rib eye last night and it was great! This is a great value Sangiovese wine.

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