Spaghetti and meatballs: the quintessential Italian-American red sauce pasta. Chianti is this dish’s playmate, its eternal companion in our cinema, contemporary literature, and public perception. Those ridiculous straw bottles… better candle holders than wine, to be certain. Squeaking violins, bad accents, mustaches you want to remove with a weed whacker – all of these belong in the Chianti section of popular imagination.
However, it is a wine with a rich heritage, like the land from which it comes, and can have serious heft in terms of quality and value. Produced in Tuscany primarily from the Sangiovese grape variety, Chianti is an appellation comprised of seven sub-regions, including Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Rùfina. Chianti covers a significant portion of the Tuscany region, and its sub-regions are full of Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) appellations with varying legal restrictions governing grape yields, blends, and production. All Chianti and Chianti Classico must feature at least 75% Sangiovese in the blend.
No exception to the general rule of thumb for Chianti, the 2006 Banfi Chianti Classico is a dark garnet in the glass, with decent clarity, and a nose chock-full of black fruit and floral notes, mostly violet. The mouth has a vibrant cherry and plum fruit core, with hints of leather. This is backed by supple tannins and good acidity, leading to a medium finish. As previously noted, this would be great with any red sauce pasta dish, particularly spaghetti and meatballs, but also pairs well with others roasts or grilled meats. Drink now. $16.