The Wine Curmudgeon has always wondered how to approach Chianti, which is not only the one Italian red wine that most Americans know, but the one Italian red wine that wine snobs turn their noses up at. If I review it, I run the risk of alienating both groups — a neat trick, of course, but right up my alley. The former would think the wine was too obvious for them, and the latter would think I was naive.
But that hasn't stopped me before; there are handful of reviews and a variety of references to Chianti on the site (and, quickly, Chianti is the region in Tuscany where the wine is made, using mostly the sangiovese grape). And it won't stop me now, because the Coltibuono ($10, purchased) is well-made wine that offers lots of value.
In this, it's a simple, young, lighter Chianti with big dollop of cherry fruit (which apparently comes from a small percentage of the canaiolo grape, which also softens the wine). But there is still the telltale Italian acid, which means the wine cries out for tomatoes, pork and cheese. Or, in other words, pizza. I drank it with olive and tomato bruschetta, and that was terrific, too.