Fattoria di Lucignano Chianti Colli Fiorentini ($13.99) Tuscany, Italy From the distributor: "The fine microclimate and unique soil characteristics surrounding the medieval town of Lucignano, located only a mile outside the western border of the Chianti Classico zone, make it without a doubt the finest cru of the Chianti appellation. Lucignano is extremely consistent in quality, achieving delicious results in every vintage.
Vineyard Management: Integrated insect and disease control is followed. Copper and sulphur-based products are used on an as-needed basis and disease and insect control are carried out only when strictly necessary. No fertilizers are used and manure is only used when the soil is ploughed before planting. Minimal use of SO2 and only when necessary.
80% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 10% Other allowable red varieties. Traditional maceration on the skins for 12-18 days in cement vats, maturing in glazed cement vats for 12-18 months.
Medium intensity ruby red. The nose on this wine is intense, overflowing with fruity aromas of black cherry and violets. Soft and medium bdied on the palate, it balances rather present tannins with moderate acidity. An ideal accompaniment to pasta dishes or medium aged cheese."
From me: This wine's nickname is "Juicy Luci" for its forward presentation of fruitiness and softness on the palate. While some Chiantis can be quite tannic or acidic and demand food pairing, this one is more versatile. A great value for money and a good introduction to Chianti.
1. Taste with as clean a palate as possible. Try to avoid smoking or chewing gum just beforehand. If you have just eaten, drink some water to clear the flavors of the meal.
2. Keep an open mind. Try new things! We all get into ruts when it comes to our palates, but the fun of a tasting is that you don't have to commit to the whole bottle. If you don't like what you've tasted, you can spit it out.
3. Spit or swallow--it's up to you! Just make sure you use the spittoon!
4. See, swirl, smell, sip, savor. Give attention to all aspects of the wine. Here is a link that explain the process:
5. Have fun! Wine tasting has an air of elitism around it, but unnecessarily so. Your palate is your own-it's as individual as you are-and the most important part of appreciating good alcohol is knowing what you like and why you like it. You don't have to use fancy words or spend a lot of money on a bottle. As the kids say, you do you!