Jul 27 , 2022
When I started in the wine industry, I did not like many Italian wines. Not only did I not enjoy drinking them, but they also seemed so confusing. They have so many different names for the same grape, and it just seemed a little overwhelming. Italians hardly drink wine by themselves, it is almost always with food. This was part of my reason for not enjoying them enough. Since I am practically incapable of cooking food, I drank most of my wine alone or perhaps with some cheese and crackers. Once I got married, and found someone who loved to cook, I began to start pairing my Italian wines with food. I also began to read more about Italian wines to help better understand what grapes grew where and to decipher all the names for the same grape. This new knowledge, and the ability to pair wine with food, opened up a whole new category of wine to me. Italian wines have quickly become some of my favorite wines to drink, right after Bordeaux and Napa Valley.
One of the most well-known regions for wine in Italy is Chianti. This probably has nothing to do with the wine in particular, but again, thanks to Hollywood. Most people probably associate Chianti with the movie "Silence of the Lambs" and the famous quote "A Census Taker Once Tried to Test Me. I Ate His Liver with Some Fava Beans and A Nice Chianti." Now, this is not exactly how I like to enjoy my Chianti, but it does show that these wines do pair better with food.
Today I want to feature a particular Chianti that I got to try a few months ago with one of my wine reps. The 2017 Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico was a standout red from a tasting we did. Chianti Classico is a more specific region within the region of Chianti. So technically this area is considered to be slightly higher quality. This Chianti Classico is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino. Sangiovese is the primary grape of Chianti Classico, and a wine must be made up of at least 80% Sangiovese. The rest can be made with other red grapes. In this case they use Colorino which is a grape known for its deep dark coloring and is used primarily as a coloring agent.
The ever-popular wine critic James Suckling gave this wine 93 points and describes it as "A rich, layered red with cherry, plum and light chocolate character. Some tile, too. Medium-bodied, creamy and beautiful." Although I typically feel Jimmy rates wines too high, I do feel that this score is well deserving of this wine. It also has to do with the great value. This wine comes in at under $20! It is a perfect wine for any Italian style meals, especially pasta dishes.
I understand many people avoid Italian wines because they are too confusing or don't taste great on their own. This is exactly how I used to feel. However, luckily, I decided to venture into the unknown and was extremely pleasantly surprised. It has opened a vast new world of wines that I never knew I could appreciate and love so much! This is just a small look into the world of Italian wines. Please give this Chianti a try, but maybe come up with your own food pairing!