Taste of the Week – February 1-7, 2009

I had always favored the 1985 vintage of this wine from one of my favorite Italian winemakers. Previous samplings from the 1995 vintage of Monsanto's Il Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva were tight and closed. In fact it had been some time since I cracked open a bottle.

Now 14 years into the vintage, it has opened up and is drinking at what I believe is its peak. The color is a lovely brick red, the nose still full of fruit with plenty of cherry among its complex flavor profile playing out on the palate. The finish is long and clean.

My wife and I polished off the bottle a couple of nights ago. I paired it with orrechiette with cubes of lamb shoulder (left over from a roast), red kidney beans, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, grated pecorino, some of the wine, olive oil and crushed red pepper. The wine drank beautifully on its own and with the pasta.

Despite drinking some truly excellent wines in Spain and France recently, this is the most I have enjoyed a wine so far this year.

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