Wine: DaVinci Chianti
Grape: Sangiovese (90 percent), Merlot (10 percent)
Region: Tuscany, Northern Italy
Price: $9.59 per bottle
Availability: Vons and other retailers
In the glass: This DaVinci Chianti is a firm ruby red color with a semiopaque crimson core, going out into a bright vermilion to light garnet rim definition and has medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: There is immediate classic red and black fruit with crushed red cherries, red currant trifle and cranberry crush, then some interesting star anise, dry flint and mineral undertones with a touch of lightly dusted herbs.
On the palate: The wine is clearly medium-bodied, which is perfect for immediate drinking, but shows nice character on the palate with fresh tasting crushed red berry fruit, predominantly strawberry and red cherry, then wet stone and slight hints of acidity and of wood in the background. The wine is easy on the midpalate and goes through to a nicely balanced finish that seems rather uncomplicated by most Chianti standards. Although not the most complex of wines, it is an excellent and enjoyable drinking wine that loves good food.
Odds and ends: DaVinci wines are made by a cooperative out of Tuscany that pools resources from about 200 small growers and producers and “runs” a number of good brands, where DaVinci (both red and white) is its flagship brand. This type of operation is an excellent way to make an impact with more than 500 hectares of vineyards, not just to produce bulk wine. It is common to find several vintages of DaVinci’s excellently classic Chiantis in the market and I am focusing on the 2010 vintage, since it was a spectacular one for Chianti, but there could be both 2009 and 2011 as well found in the marketplace and depending on the retailer you prefer shopping with. The good news about DaVinci is that it is widely available and although I found it at Vons on a special, it is to be found in many other stores as well. As for 2010, it was probably one of the most successful vintages for vintners — universally speaking across the globe — and not since 1990 has every region produced such superb wines from the top all the way down to the bottom. Try this Chianti with a classic pasta dish like Bolognese or Alfredo. Drink through 2015.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.