Even in warmer weather, some occasions cry out for a red. This Tuscan wine is a gorgeous expression of sangiovese, with many excellent producers.
By Eric Asimov
June 7, 2021
Here’s my wine for the summer: Chianti Classico.
I know, it’s not what people usually imagine as a summer wine. It’s red, for one thing. Sunny days, sweaty nights and poolside tables are the regular haunts of rosés and whites.
I’ve always resisted the notion that seasons alone dictate what’s best to drink. It’s the food at least as much as the weather.
The weather influences the weight and heft of what we cook and the sorts of ingredients that are available. The heavy stews and casseroles of winter give way to glorious salads and food cooked outdoors over coals. Even in the summer, certain dishes call out for reds, and the one I often want now is Chianti Classico.
Le Boncie Toscana Le Trame 2017 $60
Giovanna Morganti farms her small estate outside Castelnuovo Berardenga biodynamically. While her wines qualify as Chianti Classicos, she stopped using the appellation a decade ago, rejecting the bureaucratic details required. Regardless, her wines are pure, bright, fresh and juicy, with bracing acidity and lingering flavors of red fruit and flowers. They are almost entirely sangiovese, with tiny amounts of mammolo and foglia tonda, a rarely seen local grape, in the mix. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York)
Montevertine Toscana 2017 $68
Like Le Boncie, Montevertine, near Radda, does not use the Chianti Classico appellation, though it would qualify. Its reasons are more historical, though. In the 1970s, Montevertine decided it could make better wines without following the blending rules that then governed the region. In rebellion, it stopped using the appellation. Chianti Classico has come a long way since, changing its rules to accommodate wines like Montevertine. But Montevertine persists in its independence. This superb wine, 90 percent sangiovese and 5 percent each of canaiolo and colorino, is rich yet tapered and precise, beautifully balanced and elegant, with stony flavors of red fruit and flowers. It will gain complexity and nuance with aging. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant)