Tuesday Tipplers

January 10, 1989


The group me at Trevor's, all were present except for Peter who was away at a conference. Opening remarks, conversation, and business relating to dues and the state of the treasury, were accompanied by a light antipasto and a glass of chilled Pinot Bianco from Trentino (Vintages $9.35), a region north of Verona, Italy.




The group then tasted six Chianti wines. Chianti is a wine region in Tuscany between Florence and Siena, a landscape of stoney hills, villas and vineyards scattered amongst olive groves. It's central most portion is given the Classico denomination as well as the "black rooster" on the bottle's neck.


The wines of Chianti make use of four grapes varieties, Sangiovese, Cannaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia, which are mixed according to the traditional formula. Typical 'Chianti' has a dried must added after vinification for gusto, comes in the well recognized straw covered flask, and is called by some "the Italian Beaujolais". Wines from the Classico region are then the "Bordeaux", coming in amber coloured Bordeaux-style bottles with the "black rooster" neckband. The Riserva on the label indicates wine that has spent 3 years in oak prior to bottling. These wines are supposed to represent some of Italy's better efforts.


The wine tasted:


1. 1979 Castelgreve Classico Riserva (Vintages $12.05)

    "revolting" bitterness - "diet wine"

    "Marechal Foch?"


2. 1974 Nipozzano Riserva (Vintages $18.70)

    "thin" - "old" - "better than the first"


    (supposedly one of the grand wines of the region)


3. 1982 Villa Antinori Classico Riserva (LCBO $11.90)

    "better" - "smoother" - "more mature"

    "younger, fresher" - "Cotes de Rhone?"

    "Chianti?" (Black) - "Chateuneuf du Pape?"


4. 1982 Fonterutoli Classico Riserva (Vintages $14.65)

    "sulphurous" - "nicest taste so far" - "terrible"



5. 1982 Brolio Classico Riserva (Vintages $13.90)

    "barnyard" - "liked #4 better" - "not bad"



6. 1983 La Massa Classico Riserva (Vintages $10.40)

    "definitely Canadian!" - "thin" - "ugh"


Everyone seemed genuinely surprised to learn that they had been tasting the so-called "better" Chiantis. Most felt that number 2, 3 and 4 were more pleasant, but weren't too sure what to do with them. They certainly didn't compare with bold Australian wines we all seem to prefer for straight drinking, and would possibly fare better accompanying food. The evening concluded after an Italian Cheesecake, coffee and conversation.


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