Wine of the week: Benedetto Chianti 2014

Benedetto ChiantiOne of the problems with really cheap wine — the $3, $4, and $5 labels like Trader Joe’s Two-buck Chuck and Whole Foods’ Three Wishes — is that they don’t always taste like the grapes they’re made with. That is, they’re not varietally correct. The merlot tastes like the pinot noir, the pinot tastes like the cabernet sauvignon, and so on and so forth.

Which is not the case with the Benedetto Chianti ($5, purchased, 12.5%), a really cheap Italian red wine from Aldi. It tastes like Chianti — not “this Chianti is so good it made me cry” Chianti, but that’s true of wines that cost three or four times as much as the Benedetto. Call this the “man, this Chianti is better than I thought it was going to be” Chianti, which is never a bad thing for $5.

The Benedetto Chianti is simple and juicy, with a little tart cherry fruit. It’s softer than many Chiantis and doesn’t have the burst of telltale acidity, but there’s enough of the latter so that you can tell it’s Chianti if you’re forced to do a blind tasting. In this, it’s fairly priced at $5 — just enough less interesting than the $8 Melini, and obviously not as interesting as the $10 Caposaldo and Straccali.

And, for those of you who want to tweak the wine snob in your life, the Benedetto Chianti is DOCG, the second highest rung in the Italian appellation system. That it can be DOCG and only cost $5 says a lot about how the Italian wine business works, and why it’s as well made as it is.

3 thoughts on “Wine of the week: Benedetto Chianti 2014

  • By JoHn - Reply

    All I must say is wow , my wife and I attend wine and cheese tasting. THis chianti shine with crisp and a wonderful smooth ahhhh from the aroma to the taste to the end ! Great buy ! We have spent 200+ for a taste or bottle and I think we spent 8 bucks I’ll go back and grap a few lol it great with sweet English cheddar

  • By JAMES HENLEY - Reply

    The first few bottles we tried were as described. But now what we are getting is distinctly unChianti. It looks and tastes like a Merlot. I almost think they mislabeled it. My wife likes it because she likes Merlot. But to me it doesn’t have the easy drinkability of Chianti. Instead of that easy finish, now it dries my mouth out.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Check the vintages. Some of the older may have gotten put in, or the newer vintage may be different than the older. Or vice versa.

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