Marks and Spencers
£9.50 (reduced to £6)
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Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Finding a decent Chianti remains increasingly difficult. In part, the heritage of Chianti coming in cheap baskets nested in straw beds to be consumed with varieties of pizza still haunts it. In part, the heritage of ‘decent’ Chianti seeming to cost a small fortune is also still prevalent in the minds of many.
Seeing Marks and Spencer offer a Classico for a reduced price of £6 tempted me to take the plunge, though I confess, with no small measure of trepidation. The label does not give much away and the historical symbolism decked around the title does little to dispel the idea that it is trying hard to be something it’s not.
Yet the first glass is pleasantly surprising. There is an instant impression of dense fruit which assaults the taste buds, carrying a sustained feeling of weight and longevity. Berries and cherry overtones create a general lingering impression of woodland fruit with a slightly smoky haze and suggestion of mild spice as it fades away.
There is little doubt you can taste the agriculture which produced the wine. Originating in Tuscany, the wine was made at the Baroncini winery and is a collaborative effort between Marks and Spencer winemaker Jeneve Williams and Bruna Baroncini, blending Sangiovese grapes and ageing them in traditional Yugoslavian Botti oak casks.
The result is a smooth, tasty wine, enjoyable for everyday drinking and at £6 (reduced) definitely worth a tipple. It somehow does not feel like a full blown Classico and at close to the original price of £10 I’m not sure I’d indulge again. But it is certainly worth a try if you can catch it on special offer.