Published on May 8th, 2012 | by Greg0
Italian Chianti From Monte Bernardi and Villa Pomona
Chianti is mostly Sangiovese (at least 80%, and sometimes up to 100%). That's the first thing to know, which surprised some of the people we asked. The name also, of course, refers to the officially recognized area of Italy, a very old wine-growing region. We've tried quite a few of these wines over the year, and today have three wines from two different producers. These wines are generally fairly inexpensive, and pair well with regional cuisine, and are medium-bodied and drinkable at any age.
We'll start with Monte Bernadi and their 2008 Reserve Chianti. This was the best of the three in this pairing, as it offered the most complexity and was well-balanced. Classic Tuscan character and color we liked that all of their wines are organic and biodynamic. Earthy, cherry, but also a little sour, it held up against some strong salamis and cheeses. Tasters mentioned that it caught the nose and carried through. We first became familiar with the winery at the Slow Food tasting held earlier this year, and Monte Bernardi received honors for embodying the Slow Food philosophy, which is clear in the wines. $23.
We weren't quite so enamored with the 2009 Retromarcia Chianti Classico. It was tart, bright, and though it came on strong, it lacked the complexity we wanted, or a strong single character. Still easily drinkable, it's a good deal for a handsome bottle, at $19 or so. Available at the Chambers Street Wine shop in Manhattan, it might be hard to find elsewhere, but is certainly worth trying.
The Bandini villa Pomona Chianti Classico 2010 was more divisive. No one loved it, with most folks considering it "just fine", "unexceptional", and simply "nice". The label definitely draws you in, and the initial aroma and appearance are positive. It also offered a nice first fruity note, but quickly settled- simple and somewhat flat, it's also the least expensive of the bunch, running around $13 if you can find it. No one will be disappointed by this one- but it's unlikely anyone will be excited either.