Here’s a quick review of a Chianti Classico worthy of your dinner table. I’ll post these short tasting notes as I run across interesting wines from time to time. Be sure to subscribe for the latest updates. — Michael
It was serendipity when I ran across this little gem at Pastaworks in Portland while shopping for the evening’s meal. I plan to visit Savignola Paolina next week in Chianti, and I’ve been curious about this tiny producer of artisanal wines. Ludovica Fabbri and her husband Antonio produce a tiny amount of artisanal wine from their high-elevation vineyards deep in the Chianti mountains.
With just 7,000 bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva produced in a typical year, it’s unusual to find this older vintage (as of this writing, the Riserva 2008 has just been released). No matter, you can find a few bottles of Ludovica’s wines hiding out in wine shops and online for not much money.
What you’ll taste
Violets, raspberries and a handful of red currants hit you as you breathe in this Sangiovese classic. This is an aromatic wine, and it follows through on the palate with black cherry, pipe tobacco, and some tartness of rhubarb.
There’s a hint of smoke on the finish, and a very distinctive and pleasant minerality of crushed gravel (go with me on this). Some Chianti wines tend to be a bit thin, but this is medium- to full-bodied with the characteristic acidity you expect in a Sangiovese wine. Two thumbs up.
What’s in the bottle
90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino di Toscana. Colorino is a native Italian varietal often used in Chianti blends.
What to eat with this
Chianti Classico has tried-and-true pairings with game meats, grilled steaks (think Bistecca Fiorentina grilled rare over hot coals), sausages, pasta with bolognese ragu — anything with a little fat in it will pair well.
Savignola Paolina is a tiny producer, so you’ll have to hunt a bit for this one. There are a few Riserva 2005 bottles still around in wine shops and online for $20-30, but if you can’t find it, pick up a bottle of Ludovica’s other vintages. Her 2006 Riserva also shows well, and the 2008 should arrive in stores soon. If you can’t find a Riserva, check out her Chianti Classico normale — you’ll get the baby brother vino for $5-10 cheaper.
I bought this bottle for about $22 from Pastaworks at City Market in northwest Portland; Call and see if they can get you a few bottles, their number is 503.221.3002.
Savignola Paolina will let you taste their latest vintage and take a few bottles home with you at their cantina in Chianti, just book an appointment for a tasting visit. Contact them at +39.055.854.6036, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They’re just south of the Chianti wine town Greve in Chianti, located at Via Petriolo 58, Greve in Chianti, Italy.
Ludovica has a nice website at savignolapaolina.it with decent English explanations of their wines, the vineyards and the history of this interesting producer.
What’s on your dinner table tonight? Are you a fan of Chianti? Have any other vino recommendations? Share your favorites by commenting below.