Magazine article Sunset

Adaptable Chiantis for Any Circumstance

Magazine article Sunset

Adaptable Chiantis for Any Circumstance

Article excerpt

The old question came up at a companionable dinner table the other night: Which red wine would you want if you were a castaway on a desert island? We all gave the same answer: Chianti, especially Chianti Classico.

The pickiest of our would-be castaways specified Chianti Classico normale if prospects were good for a rescue within three years, riserva if he were going to be abandoned for longer.

Chianti won because it comes closer than any other wine to being a year-round red and because it has indelible flavors, but not such strong ones that the wine wears you out even when you have it with dinner every night.

In balance, Chianti is a middleweight, gentle enough to go with roast chicken on a muggy September night, yet forceful enough for a platter-size steak on as bleak and cold a rainy November afternoon as ever was. Young, Chianti has an almost floral flavor--the hallmark of its principal grape, Sangiovese. After two to five years in the bottle, the wine develops a spicy note that might remind you of the smell of cedar. Normales make this flavor shift quicker than firmer, richer-flavored riservas. …

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