Last week during his Utah visit, I had the pleasure of chatting with winemaker Roberto Stucchi while sipping his terrific Chiantis. His winery, Badia a Coltibuono, is located in Tuscany on the edge of the Chianti Classico zone. I'll soon be devoting one of my Drink columns in City Weekly to Stucchi and the Badia a Coltibuono wines. For now, I just wanted to single out one of them for your consideration.
Roberto Stucchi isn't fond of the trend in Italy towards making New World-style or Bordelaise wines. He believes Italian wines should be Italian. In that sense, he's somewhat of a throwback. He doesn't aim for high alcohol in his wines and prefers making them with traditional, indigenous grape varieties over international ones.
Therefore, his Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 ($35.98) is a traditional blend of Sangiovese (90%) and Canaiolo (10%).
The wine is made from organically grown grapes that are hand-picked. It spends 24 months in French and Austrian oak, followed by a minimum of four months bottle aging.
Much Chianti is unremarkable: cheap, easy-drinking wine that is rarely memorable. This one is different. Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 tastes terrific right now, but it's also age-worthy. Dark berry flavors combine with spice and tobacco in this intense ruby-red wine. Intense, yes, but also soft, with abundant acidity making it an exceptional wine to pair food with.
This Chianti absolutely killed with a plate of Pago's Wagyu bavette-cut steak salad with charred romaine, blue cheese, fingerling potatoes, green beans and shallot vinaigrette.