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Villa Antinori Rosso IGT Toscana 2002

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Late October in Bexley is beautiful. A short stroll down Main Street between the avenues of College and Drexel makes for a perfect transition from a hectic day to a relaxing and meaningful evening. The leaves on the trees are full of bright colors and the air is chilled just enough to warrant a jacket. On this particular evening, our destination was Giuseppe's Ritrovo, a wonderful Italian restaurant that seats perhaps forty and another dozen outside when the weather cooperates. Therein, we found a blended red wine that gave us a bit of a surprise.

Feeling distinctly in the mood for Italian food and wanting to take our time about it, Niki and I wandered into Giuseppe's and were taken to a small table for two. Even on a Monday evening, the place was pretty nearly filled to capacity. After some discussion about what we've tried, not tried, and were hoping to find, we settled on a bottle of Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana 2002.

The wine is a blend from Tuscany, sixty percent Sangiovese, twenty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, fifteen percent Merlot, and five percent Syrah. Before release, the wine is aged for twelve months in oak caskets and another eight months in the bottle.

On first tasting, I immediately thought “Chianti!” This was a bit of a surprise because there was no indication of the wine actually being a Chianti. Nevertheless, it is a dry red, different from the fruity reds of California or complex blends from France. Though somewhat earthy, it differs from the reds of South America that I would describe that way; I haven't tasted so much acidity in South American wines. It was a good complement for the hearty dishes of pasta and tomato sauce.

Some further investigation later revealed that the wine is indeed largely from Chianti and that earlier vintages might well have been so labeled before the blend started to incorporate grapes from elsewhere. Because Chianti wine is covered by the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) labeling standard (the Italian equivalent of France's Appellation Contrôlée), the presence of grapes from other areas prevents the use of the label “Chianti,” even though the wine is clearly of the same character.

I'd recommend this wine to others, noting that most sources suggest that the 2002 vintage be drunk now. This is not a wine to drink on its own, but paired with food. You'll enjoy it most with dishes that have high acidity, such as those with tomato sauces, or very rich dishes.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2005-12-12 08:29 AM
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