Originally Posted by erictheobscure
Drinking some Ser Lapo Chianti Classico 2009. Not bad. Probably too young.
Potentially stupid question alert: so what, exactly, is the deal with Chianti? I know its image suffered tremendously because of those funny straw-covered flagon thingies; perhaps its name is still associated with fava beans and cannibalism. But I guess I just kind of think of them as decent, serviceable wines with a good bit of acidity. Is that about right? Or still unjustly maligned?
I'm a big Chianti fan. There are many very good bottlings that are criminally undervalued, firstly because people are used to straw bottle Chianti, and secondly, the name just doesn't carry much prestige alongside the other great Italian wines. But there's lots of great wines out there, and lots of great values from the bottom up. The best are structured and somewhat sinewy, and tend to have lots of acid and aggressive tannins- definitely not a mass appeal style. But they're great food wines and can get very interesting with some age.
Think of it this way- when people talk about Bordeaux, for the most part they're used to talking about all of the classed growths, garagistes and other sought after wines, forgetting that those are a drop in the bucket, and there's hundreds and hundreds of other producers, the majority of them making very cheap wine. I see Chianti as the opposite, I get the impression that most people think of Chianti as being bottle after bottle of cheap quaffing wine, and just can't believe that there's anything beyond that. I run into it all the time at work. Selling bottles of Brunello for $160 is easy, and that's just about where Brunello starts on our list. But offer someone a bottle of Felsina's Rancia over that, which is 155 on our list, and it's just not happening. And naturally, any 50 or 60 dollar Chianti we ever get, just sells and sells.