Wine: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti DOCG.
Grapes: Sangiovese (90 percent), colorino (5 percent), canaiolo (5 percent)
Region: Tuscany, Northern Italy
In the glass: Gabbiano Chianti is a very firm ruby-red color with a semi-opaque crimson core, going out into a bright red to pink rim definition and 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 herbs.
On the palate: The wine is clearly medium-bodied, which is perfect for the hot summer months, but shows character on the palate with fresh-tasting red berry fruit — predominantly strawberry and red cherry — then wet stone and slight hints of acidity and 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. It is not a complex wine, but it is excellent for drinking right away and with food.
Odds and ends: As it goes with most great Tuscan wine estates, Castello di Gabbiano was built in the early 12th century and has been producing wine for almost that long. While not able to claim great uninterrupted lineage in winemaking like their peers, the Antinori or the Frescobaldi families, they are today producing delicious and drinkable chianti and classico riserva wines from the best lands in this prestigious winegrowing region. This is not the chianti that one used to find in a straw bottle, but a much more modern version of it, much less rustic and easy to drink. It’s also a good buy. Try it as they would in Tuscany with some pasta e fagioli, and drink it now through 2013.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.