I don’t know whether it has more to do with palate boredom on my part or disappointing performances on theirs, but my usual sub-$10 Italians (Banfi’s “Centine,” Falesco’s “Vitiano,” and Lucignano’s Chianti Colli Senesi) just haven’t been cutting it for me over the past couple of vintages. Hence the following audition for a new house red.
Poggiotondo “Palladio” Chianti 2004
Semi-clear medium garnet with red-orange glints. Woodsy red-fruit scents with a hint of bacony smoked meat. Medium-bodied with muted red flavors marked by acidity and modest tannins. Notably hollow in the middle. A passable five-buck Chianti that happens to sell for $10. 12.5% alcohol.
Fattoria Galiga “Codirosso” Chianti 2005
Since it’s a Kysela Pere et Fils import, I thought it’d be worth a shot. Medium ruby, clear but a little dusky. Dark-cherry nose, with some dust and earth and whiffs of alcohol and spice. Light-bodied. Crunchy-crisp acidity dominates the cran-grape notes. Gains a bit with air. Rough edge to the finish. The nose holds some promise, but this is a gawky young’un with an unpredictable future. Still, a decent five-buck Chianti that happens to sell for $7.50. 12.5% alcohol.
Vecchia Cantina Chianti 2004
Bright, clear medium ruby. Freshly washed red cherries on the nose, with faint hints of sandalwood and hard candy. Light-bodied, the palate is more about snappy acidity than fruit, but there’s a pleasant bit of depth to the red plum and light spice flavors. Soft tannins on the clean finish. The producer is a Montepulciano-based coop with a mostly unimpressive (IMO) line of more up-market Tuscan DOCG wines, including a Brunello and a couple of Vino Nobiles. But this is a charming, honest little quaffer. A dandy five-buck Chianti that happens to sell for $7. 12.5% alcohol.
FEAR THE TURTLE ! ! !