Sunday, February 27, 2011

2007 Felsina "Berardenga" Chianti Classico

My usual treatment of a pork shoulder involves apple wood, a spice rub, many hours on a smoker and a bottle of Central Coast Zinfandel. Seeking some variety, I decided to switch gears tonight and do a little Italian thing. I pierced the shoulder all over with a sharp knife and then rubbed it down with a paste of grated garlic, olive oil and Italian herbs and spices. Roasted in a moderate oven for 6-7 hours, it took on a wonderful flavor and texture that was accentuated by a sauce made from the pan drippings, some crushed tomato and red wine. Side dishes were a polenta casserole (polenta squares layered with tomato sauce and cheese and baked) and steamed broccoli.

The 2007 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico is a Chianti of exceptional tradition and breeding. Deeper in color than most Tuscan Sangioveses, the nose is a complex witch's brew of coffee, anise, tar and wild berries. The palate shows the beautiful Tuscan dust, tar, herbs and dark berries that one would expect from such a noble Sangiovese. The acid is quite high; so high it's not particularly pleasurable to drink on its own. But it really shines with the appropriate food. Tannins are sufficient to warrant a few years aging. Pleasantly bitter (think: orange pith) on the finish Simply put, it would be hard to find a better Chianti in the low $20 price range.

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