Friday, August 14, 2009

2005 Vecchie Terre Di Montefili Chianti Classico

This wine is around 25$ and is from Panzano, home of Dario, the famous butcher from the book Heat and a number of other media outlets. (As an aside, if you haven't read Heat, which is by Bill Buford, a former editor from the New Yorker, you ought to. It's a witty, funny book about him learning to cook in the Babbo kitchen and in Italy. It's a great read and inspiring, since he came to cooking later in life.) Anyways...this wine has a modern nose of black cherry and vanilla with just a hint of something floral in the background. Good acids, just a bit of tannin in the background, and almost a little bit creamy texture-wise. Well made, but the vanilla is off-putting. It brings up the question--what's good? My personal taste? What I know to be "technically" right, ie not plonk? I mean this isn't plonk by any means, but I don't know how much of a fan I am. I'm not that impressed. You might be. Who knows? What can i say but its ultimately personal? C


CabFrancoPhile said...

As Gary Vaynerchuck would say, "AHHHHHH, the Oak Monster!" I've kind of come back in the direction of liking oak recently. It can really enhance the mouth-feel and finish assuming the toothpick-like astringency doesn't go over the top. But at the same time, it doesn't matter whether you slather a $10 wine from Lodi in oak chips or a $40 wine from Venice in 100% new oak. It tastes pretty much the same to me.

$15 to $20 is as high as I'd go on a wine like this. These ripe oak monsters are plentiful coming out of Spain in this price range. Sierra Salinas Mira from K&L is a good example that I liked for what it was, but would have been pissed if it cost more than $19. $25 is definitely too much when all you get is international-style Millerized wine.

Jeff said...

Yeah, no kidding. After this wine, I think that I might as well cancel the K&L Italian wine club. I kind of like getting two random bottles a month, and at first, they were pretty different and engaging. The last few months though, there have been at least 3 "Internationally-Styled" wines that all tasted like, well, each other. Who would have thought that a Chianti and Nero d'Avola could taste the same? Only in the Parkerized world. I agree with you that there are some nice oaky wines that are good to drink, but it's a matter of where a line is crossed for me. For me, vanilla is it. I like some spice. I like some coffee, but vanilla is repulsive to me for some reason in wine. I really don't understand why people like this style...I mean you can get great Cotes du Rhone, good Chinon, even good entry-level Chateuneuf, and a whole shitload of stuff from Spain at this price.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Vanilla on the nose is what kills it for me. I'm OK with the creaminess in a red if there's good acid and bitter flavors, but obliteration of the bouquet is where I draw the line.

Totally agree with the K&L Club. I was jealous for a while they were sending you such interesting wines. Made me want to join. But not for Parker/Miller wines--I can get those anywhere.

Jeff said...

Yeah...I really don't like vanilla for some reason. There are a lot of other oak aromas that I actually don't mind if they're in check.

I tried to cancel it online but they won't let you. So you have to call or go into the store...blech. It's too bad, because you're right--at first, they had really interesting different wines. Not now. My theory is that there are a lot of "point-chasing" wines out there, and they sell. And right now, they're all sitting in a warehouse because they're expensive and no one wants them. Such is the power of an 88 or 89. So all the distributors want to dump them, and get them off their K&L gets a great deal, but the consumer gets the shaft if they aren't themselves a point chaser.