Chianti. It’s not just for Hannibal Lecter anymore.

Chianti. It’s not just for Hannibal Lecter anymore.

Tasting cheap wines, so you don’t have to! I’m your guide to good wines under $10 a bottle, most of which can be found in your local grocery store.

A lot of people look horrified when I pull a bottle of red wine out of my refrigerator, so I thought I’d briefly discuss wine temperature. (Not storage – I don’t store wine. It’s better to drink now, yes?)

Centuries ago, wines were stored in cellars and served room temperature. However, you must consider the times – “room temperature” could very well be 54 degrees F. During the summer, my kitchen temperature tends to hover in the high 70’s low 80’s. So the all-thinking wine gurus have made this pronouncement: A bottle of red wine should be chilled for 20 minutes prior to serving. A bottle of white wine should be well-chilled, but taken out of the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. Makes sense when they put it that way.

Anyway, I’ve got two different Chianti wines for you today – two more to come later. (I’ve discovered a broken leg and wine don’t really go together. Makes me a bit too tippy, if you understand! So my wine consumption has been scaled back. Sorry!)

D’Aquino Chianti Product of Italy Bottled by Vltra-Firenze-Italy  12.5% Alcohol by volume $6.99 at Vons

The label was uninformative, just the way I like ’em. The bottle is straw-wrapped – what you expect from an Italian wine. It remains one of those feel-good bottles wrapped up in not only straw, but memories of young love. But enough about the bottle. What about the wine?

The epitome of bland. If you want a red wine but don’t want to have to think too much about it, don’t want it big and bold and in your face, then this is your wine. It’s quiet. Inexpensive. A good bottle for beginning wine drinkers. An easy bottle for a picnic.

We’ve had it a couple of times now, once with chicken, once with fish. See? It goes with just about everything. Chianti isn’t just for Italian food any more. And…that’s about all I can say about this wine.

My Rating: ~Drinkable~ but kind of boring. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Castello di Gabbiano Chianti 2009 Product of Italy Denominazione de Origine Controllata e Garantita 12.5% Alcohol by volume Under $9 at Vons

On the Label: “The 12th Century Castello di Gabbiano Estate is located in the heart of renowned Chianti Classico region. The Gabbiano Knight, or Cavaliere, protected the Estate and embodies the tradition of winemaking excellence. Today, the Cavaliere vividly symbolizes the robust charm and tradition of the Chianti region, which has been recognized through the centuries as the birthplace of fabulous wine and cuisine. Gabbiano Chianti has invigorating flavors of cherry and spice, and complements a wide variety of cuisine, including pasta dishes, grilled meats and pizza.”

This wine is more of what I think of when I think Chianti. Bigger, but not off-putting, with nice fruit on the tongue. It adds to the meal rather than merely complements it. It’ll stand up to the more robust dishes of autumn and winter, but goes perfectly well with pizza (which is how we had it). If you’re looking for a nice Chianti, Gabbiano has several different ones in varying price ranges to fit your purse or your gift-giving needs. This is the least expensive, and I know it was on special for around $7 but I don’t have my receipt with me, darn it. Usually runs $9.99.

My Rating: ~Very Drinkable~

Regarding Hannibal; I haven’t seen Silence of the Lambs, but I’ve heard way too many impersonations of Hannibal talking about “a nice Chianti”. Privately, I suspect that movie caused more than one person to avoid the wine for several months – if not years – afterwards. I don’t know why I’ve avoided it, but it was past time to search it out again. Two more Chiantis coming your way in a few weeks.

As usual, this is all my opinion. Wine ratings depend on the phase of the moon, what kind of mood the cat is in, and which stringed instrument the hubby is playing as I type. Your taste buds will vary.

~ Thanks for dropping by, and remember – Drink Responsibly! ~