Much has changed in the wine world over the last 70 years. This wine is not one of them.
Do you want an old-fashioned, "this is the way Italy used to make cheap wine" wine? Then look for the d'Elsa (about $10, sample). My Italian wine expert tells me that Melini has been exporting this wine to the United States since at least the end of World War II, and probably did it before then as well. So what will you find? A simple, satisfying, well-made wine that is about as Old World as wines get these days. That means tell-tale Italian acid, some red fruit and more tannins than we're used to from this kind of wine. In fact, the d'Elsa is still made with the traditional Chianti grapes -- a mix of sangiovese, canaiolo, and the white grapes malavisia and trebbiano. Drink this with anything remotely resembling Italian food, and especially spaghetti and meatballs or sausages, peppers and onions with tomato sauce. Highly recommended, especially for those of us who are tired of Old World wines that have abandoned their birthright in an attempt to appeal to the so-called American palate.