A Wine Lover’s Near Weekly Guide To $15 Wines – A Kosher Italian Chianti

Today’s wine is a Kosher Chianti. An increasing number of Italian wine producers are entering the Kosher wine market. Chianti is traditionally a Tuscany wine, carrying the sometimes prestigious DOCG wine designation whose G stands for Garantita. Life offers only two guarantees, death and taxes and the DOCG designation does not run a close third. This Chianti was bottled in the neighboring region of Latium, not an outstanding contender for Italian wines. On the upside it is 100% Sangiovese, a fine Italian red. Old-time Chiantis were required by law to contain a minimum of questionable Italian white grapes. Don’t get me wrong, I love some Italian white wines. But they have no connection whatsoever with Italian white “Chianti” grapes. Today’s was bottled by a family winery; one featured in my bargain wine column a mere two months ago. The companion wine is a Sangiovese from the nearby Abruzzi region at half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Cantina Gabriele Chianti Kosher 2009 12 % alcohol about $14.

We can start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Medium-bodied, soft and succulent, this need make no apologies for its kosher status. I love the chewy-cherry core and dry, silt-like tannins. Very Italian, and proudly Jewish. Maztoh pizza, anyone? Score – 88. (Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail, Feb. 23, 2011)” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine presented dark fruit and slightly sweet, round acidity along with light tannins. I started with Japanese rice crackers that cut its acidity. The initial meal centered on barbecued beef ribs. The wine responded with dark cherries and a trace of acidity. It was sweeter than necessary. The side dish was a favorite of mine, potatoes roasted in chicken fat. The libation was somewhat rather in acidity. It partially rebounded upon facing a spicy tomato-based salsa.

The next meal was a too dry, honey-garlic barbecued chicken breast. The mouth-filling Chianti was lightly spicy, offering pleasant acidity and dark cherries. When it met the couscous side dish dark cherries were the wine’s dominant characteristic. A cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad rendered this liquid round with light tannins. Fresh cherries for dessert muted our wine; it was not flavorful.

My final meal was a baked ziti siciliano that I freely doused with grated parmesan cheese. The Chianti became very long and multilayered with soft, silky tannins. Dessert was a no-no from the wine perspective; Haagen-Dazs Maya chocolate ice cream including a touch of cinnamon. The wine was sweet with a tinge of chocolate.

When paired with a Swiss cheese this wine was roundly acidic, offering dark cherries and a bit of burnt toast. When paired with a brushetta-covered goat’s milk cheese it was syrupy and long, accompanied by slightly unbalanced acidity. Final verdict. This was a close call. If you want a kosher wine and watch the pairings it is worth the price. Barely.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but definitely prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his Italian wine website www.theitalianwineconnection.com .

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