Nice, Young Chianti

June 1, 2009

Silence of the Lambs was released in 1991. I think enough time has elapsed since Hannibal Lecter shared his decision of what protein and vegetable he would choose to accompany his Chianti was proclaimed throughout this country’s movie theaters. Enough time has elapsed so that we can objectively discuss the merits of a “nice, young Chianti.”

I’m sure that a great majority of our readers have turned their attention away from the mass-produced Chianti in the straw-covered fiaschi that at one time adorned every table in cheap Italian restaurants. Unfortunately, it seems that even the high quality Chianti is being ignored. The subregion getting the most attention these days is the Chianti Classico region. To be sure, this region makes excellent wines. These wines are the more serious and darker-colored; they also have longer aging requirements before their release than the Chianti.

The Chianti region in Tuscany is divided into subregions. The above-mentioned Classico is one of them. I really enjoy some of the simpler, fresh Chianti from the other subregions such as Colli Senesi, Colli Fiorentini, and Rufina. These wines are at their peak when released. We can usually find the new vintages of these Chianti in our local retail stores and restaurants in the spring. The best of them are made by excellent producers and should be less than $15.

The 2006 Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi is an excellent example of this type of wine. The highly acclaimed producer Fattoria di Felsina in Castelnuovo Berardenga owns this winery. Castello di Farnetella is located in the commune of Sinalunga, which borders on the production area of Montepulciano – the home of Vino Nobile.

This simple Chianti is made of 92% Sangiovese and 8% Merlot. It’s fairly deep ruby color is darker than most simple Chianti wines. The wonderfully fresh taste of berries is quite evident. This wine has been recognized for its quality by the prestigious Gambero Rosso organization. That’s quite a feat for a wine that retails for less than $15!

Have some fun trying to find these young Chianti from Colli Senesi, Colli Fiorentini, and Rufina. As spring edges into summer, it’s a perfect time to taste a lighter and fresher wine. Forget about Hannibal.a young Chianti DOES go perfectly well with fresh fava beans and pecorino cheese!

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