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Sure, the classic Chianti food pairing is anything smothered in tomato sauce — and yes, ideally on top of pasta. After all, it goes with the territory, it marries with the romanticism of Tuscany, and the two together are darn delicious.
However, it’s the peak of summer and there is another way. Save the tomato sauce for fall; it’s time to turn up the grill and cue the Chianti. The thing is, Chianti also pairs remarkably with smoke and charcoal, not to mention al fresco dining.
Rocca delle Macìe 2020 Chianti Classico, Italy
The same traits that make Chianti a great partner with tomato sauce also play into pairing Chianti with the grill. Sangiovese, the predominant grape and heart of Chianti wines, is known for its bright red fruit and higher acidity. These characteristics also work to cut through rich, greasy or fatty foods while also nicely contrasting smoke and char. To test the hypothesis, craft up a batch of burgers and crack open a bottle of Rocca delle Macìe’s Chianti Classico. Featuring red fruits and herbs, in a zesty medium-bodied stance overall, this red will stay lively alongside juicy grilled burgers with all the fixings.
Bottom line: B, Classy burger wine
Istine 2019 Chianti Classico, Italy
Chianti is truly a fascinating wine region with significant wine history. From fiasco-festooned bottles in the 1970s to more complicated contemporary denominazione regulations, Chianti continues to catch the attention of a wide swath of wine drinkers. It’s certainly worth exploring. As a learning stop, consider Istine’s latest vintage of Chianti Classico. This is the winery’s main offering, featuring organically grown Sangiovese grapes sourced mostly from vineyards located in the Radda and Gaiole subregions. Sporting cherry cola vibes with red fruit, earthy notes, and herbs, this mid-weight Chianti brings great texture and acidity overall.
Bottom line: B+, Bring on the rotisserie chicken
Brancaia 2020 Chianti Classico, Italy
($42.99, available at select private wine stores)
For a fun full-on Chianti experience consider cracking the cork on a bottle of Brancaia. The winery’s Chianti Classico is 100 per cent Sangiovesev — specifically grapes grown in Radda and Castellina — and sees zero time in oak, instead enjoying 12 months of aging in stainless steel and concrete. The wine brings the liveliness and acidity expected of Sangiovese, with dusty red fruit aromas and a balanced, juicy and engaging stance overall. For maximum enjoyment keep things simple: serve this buoyant red with a sunset and a friendly gathering alongside grilled lamb or pork chops.
Bottom line: B+, Easy all-round enjoyment
The Swirl: Chianti Classico at B.C. liquor stores
If you feel like there’s more Chianti swirling around, it’s no accident. During August,Chianti is the theme region at B.C. liquor stores, with a number of special bottles available. And from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17 at B.C. liquor stores’ 39th and Cambie Street location, Chianti Classico Ambassador Jason Yamasaki will lead An Evening with Chianti Classico. The two-hour tasting features a guided tour of curated wines paired with light fare from Bon Vivant Catering. Tickets are $35, for complete details head to bcliquorstores.com.
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