An offbeat blend of 80 percent Sangiovese from Chianti Classico near Panzano in Tuscany with 20 percent Nero d’Avola from Sicily, this wine is made by an unusual technique: drying some of the grapes separately before introducing them back into the fermenting mix, concentrating the natural grape sugars for a more intense wine, although it still comes in at a moderate 13 percent alcohol. There is a note of dried cherries in the aroma, dancing with distinct though subtle scents of licorice and dried herbs. Full, juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, rather full body shaped up by zippy, mouth-watering acidity and astringent tannins, with tart dried fruit lingering in the finish.
FOOD MATCH: It made a natural match with an old-school bowl of spaghetti with a simply, gently spicy tomato sauce. It would be fine, too, with beef or grilled poultry or cheese.
WHEN TO DRINK: I don’t see it as a cellar keeper, but its acidic balance and tannins suggest that there’d be no harm in keeping it for a few years under good cellar conditions.
It’s hard to beat a balanced, food-friendly Italian red for a penny under 10 bucks.