Attack of the Killer Closeouts — Episode 2 (of 3)

Attack of the Killer Closeouts — Episode 2 (of 3)

Posted on Sep, 30. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

Chianti is quickly becoming my favorite red wine for under $15. It helps that the majority of Chianti I am drinking is normally priced at well above $20. I don’t know if it is because of an onslaught of small producers in this region since the late, great 1990’s creating a glut in the market and thereby providing an almost continuous “price reduction” on great Chianti Classico or if the stigma of wicker basket bottle swill still hangs so closely over this wine for the American market, but finding great Chianti at implausibly reduced prices is becoming standard practice.

Saying this out loud has me knocking on wood, however, as I have grown so attached to great Chianti Classico that were the price reductions to end I would still find myself paying full price to keep this wine in my asenal at arms reach. Heck, I pay full price for the best wines of this region anyway — I have “verticals” (multi-vintage collections) of the top bottlings from Fontodi and Felsina in my cellar and I cherish them.

Generally speaking, I split Chianti into two flavor profiles. There is the acidic, sun dried tomato, brick colored Chianti that is what I think of as more classic — soft and a bit spicy, it’s the perfect pizza and spaghetti wine. And there is the deep velvety purple, elegant medium to full wine with a hint of the spicy notes from the former but much more refined style that I believe put Chianti back on the map in the mid 1990’s. Both have their place.

The second style though is what continues to captivate me and it is this style that we have found in the 2006 Setriolo Chianti Classico in the current batch of price reduced wines from our recent tasting. It is fantastic Chianti from 100% Sangiovese. We have not had a better deal on Chianti since the ’97/’98 Terreno offer of years past. This is another of those baby Brunello-style Chianti Classico’s; not to take anything away from CC, I say this merely to give you flavor context.

It started out slow — my first thought was that it was adequate but not compelling. Ten minutes later I was intrigued, the wine fattens becoming fleshy and full, all velvet in texture, all deep purple fruit and dark depth in flavor. Twenty minutes later and I am a devotee. The finish is so long and unchanging, this is a lock yourself in the office with a glass kind of wine. I’m hooked, I’m sold, where do we build the church?

A classic! You can not have too much in your cellar and we will not be able to get this vintage again or the wine again at this price. Setriolo is a small estate that has much great press in the Italian wine Journals but has not really hit the American scene hard yet; it is truly an under the radar wine. Gambero Rosso loves this estate and gave the 2006 Chianti Classico ‘Two Cups’ (out of three) Due Bicchieri -great press for a wine in this price class.

2006 Setriolo, Chianti Classico
[Retail – $23.40, Grand Cru – $13.19, Premier Cru – $13.79]

2006 Setriolo, Chianti Classico
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $13.19 • Premier Cru: $13.79 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $23.40
Buy Now!

After last year’s debut in the Guide, this year the Soderi’s family winery conquers the the big scene with an excellent performance, which brings the Chianti Classico 2006 to the finals. Enthusiasm and will are the ingredients that allowed them to start a wine project, which has its origin in the past. Symbol of the winery is the olive tree that survived the frost of 1985. It now stands right in the middle of the vineyard to testify that when there’s a strong will you can bravely face any difficulty and find a new beginning..
Only few hectares, mainly sangiovese, and a bit of merlot, an important part dedicated to the carefully cultivated olive grove, and finally a farm holiday house: all this confirms a life experience close to nature that keeps one busy all year long.
The “finalist” has convinced for its winning nose of black cherry and plum, the light spicyness and the great drinkability, balanced by fine and soft tannins. -Gambero Rosso

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