Since I do a lot of cooking, I’m always on the lookout for a value Chianti. Made from the Sangiovese grape in Italy’s Tuscan region, Chiantis are arguably the best of all food wines. The problem is that there are a lot of overpriced, subpar efforts priced cheaply on the market these days (and deservedly so), while many of the better reserve wines exceed the $30 range– a fair price for their quality, but not exactly what I would classify as “value.” Nevertheless, every year we see a few really nice entry level wines from the Chianti region, and this year I stumbled upon a great one from Stefano Farina, who also produces more expensive Nebbilio-based wines in the Piedmont region to the country’s northwest. What struck me about this wine is its depth and thickness at this price point, as it shows great fruit presence for its youth and nuanced minerality consistent with the style,  and stays full-bodied through the finish.

Stefano Farina Chianti La Ginestra 2009, 90 Points, $10, 10,000 Cases Produced- Lovely nose of floral violet, black cherry, mineral, smoked meat and tobacco. Silky mouthfeel with strong mineral flavors of graphite and well-water that combine with and juicy blackberry and cherry fruit and finish on a spicy notes. Very smooth for its youth.

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