Fredric recently spoke about the joys of bargain Chianti. I've had good and bad Chianti over the years, and while it's not something I drink on a regular basis, sometimes you want it with a bowl of spaghetti, a slab of lasagna, or a slice of pizza. That southern Italian, American-influenced style of cooking isn't as popular these days in high society, but it still stands as comfort food for much of this country.
First up, the 2004 Ruffino "Il Leo" Chianti Superiore . 100% Sangiovese, $12. I'll spare the details here, but elsewhere you can read about the relatively new Chianti Superiore designation. This lion was a solid Chianti, which is to say that it was easy drinking and tasted exactly like an Italian red should. No real unique aromas or flavors stand out, but it's a good, basic wine. Goofy side note: Ruffino wines got a lot of product placement in last year's The Devil Wears Prada. You know how some movies do that with Pepsi or Coke, where the label of the can or bottle is always turned towards the camera? That's what they did with Ruffino wines.
Next, we have the 2004 Villa di Campobello Chianti, a great bargain at $8. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo. This one is a cherry fruit bomb, quite fun and refreshing. In fact, I'd go ahead and set aside a bottle or two of this for Thanksgiving, where it should match well with the wide array of dishes and fruit-loving palates.