If you’re anything like me, I lived most of my winey life without knowing there was a difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico. Before we even start, though: I feel like I need to defend the oft-maligned, sometimes wicker-basketed former before singing the praises of the latter.
Over the past 40 or so years, as the American market started asking for ever more variety, there was a flood of table wine from all over the globe, much of it of not the highest quality. Chianti in particular would frequently taste cheap, or single-note, or maybe the bottles destined for the heathen shores of the new world weren’t the best examples. This is a known phenomenon, by the way. Would you send your best product to a market that doesn’t even know what it wants? A market that was, until only recently, drinking fortified sweet wines or rot-gut jug white Zinfandel?
If you answered, “yes” you’re a more generous soul than I. I’m with the Italians here: make sure the exported fine wines ended up in the hands of people who might actually appreciate them, and then if it seemed appropriate, branch out to a larger audience from there.
And that’s what happened. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t good Chianti on both sides of the Atlantic; you just had to be a bit of a sleuth to find it. Although this bargain of the week is a Chianti Classico (I’ll explain the difference in a minute, keep your hair on), I drink regular Chianti all the time- much of it below the $15 mark, and nearly always enjoy it. Continue reading “chug this! bargain wine o’the week: 2014 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico”