Chainti don’t get the love it deserves.  Though the wicker basket, spaghetti and meatballs days may be long gone, there is still not a lot of love out there for what might be Italy’s signature wine.  And while my heart may lie further north, there is no denying the place of a good bottle of Chianti and the iconic Sangionvese grape which is it’s principle star.  I have had a few nice bottles lately from legendary producers Felsina (2006 Fontalorro) and Castell’in Villa (2008 Chianti Classico) that reaffirmed my admiration for Sangiovese and Chainti.  And with the discovery of the great small producer Podere Cassanova, my appetite for Chianti was in full swing.  With that in mind I picked up a few bottles around town and tucked in over the past week.  The wines all showed a bit differently, reflecting differences in wine making styles, etc.  I personally look for great typicity; what I think a classic, pure Chianti ought to taste like, but that’s just me.  Here are the results, but look for more from this genre in the future, Chianti is back and it’s here to stay.

Selvapiana Bucerchiale 2007 Chianti Rufina Riserva ~$40.00

The Selvapiana Bucerchiale veers more towards Super Tuscan territory.  It is Sangiovese from the Bucerchiale vineyard on the Selvapiana estate, but it sees some French oak barrique treatment (I read about 10% but it seems a bit more, though it is not heavy handed) and the alcohol is a bit more extracted at 15%, thus it attains a more plush purple style with more fragrant floral notes and a more suave character than what one might expect from a Chianti.  Well made and delicious, but I would love to see a little bit more Chianti typicity at the expense of a more international style.  None the less this will appeal to some very much.  Purchased at Union Square Wines.  RECOMMENDED

Agricoltori del Geographica – Montegiachi 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva ~$21.99

The Montegiachi is a nice bottle of Chianti Classico, and a Riserva at that.  Laced with spicy red fruits and savory herb notes, there is a decided liquorish quality in full effect on top of it all.  There seems to be some hint of oak, but it doesn’t seem French, just a hint of spice and it is very subtle.  Interesting stuff.  Purchased at Heights Chateau.  RECOMMENDED

Monsanto 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva ~$20.99

Perhaps the most raw and real and most interesting of this bunch, the 2008 Monsanto Chianti Classic Riserva delivers on the goods.  There is a green pepper meet liquorish element here that I really like, and the fruit is spiced and red, and there are some grippy tannins and it is tart with a moderate acidity.  Drinking well now, I think this one will age for a good five years plus with improvement.  Impressive stuff at a decent price.  Purchased at Heights Chateau.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – GOOD VALUE