Chianti Classico is among the world’s most venerable wine regions, with a history dating to the medieval era. Its sangiovese-based red wines are chameleons, displaying a greater range of colorations than most of the world’s other noble grape varieties. The best are wines of harmony, grace and power, with firm acidity but sufficient fruit to balance it. These attributes make Chianti Classico a quintessential food wine, and not simply to accompany beef or pasta. They are also adaptable to a wide range of well-seasoned poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes. These three all originate in different villages in the vast Chianti Classico subregion.
Villa Nozzole Chianti Classico, 2014
From near Greve in the northern part of Classico, this is textbook Chianti: ripe, with tangy red cherry flavors, tobacco notes and hints of dried herbs and earth. This medium-bodied, elegantly styled wine incorporates 5 percent of merlot in the blend and is matured for 12 months in French oak casks. It’s quaffable and works beautifully with lighter fare.
$22, Charles Street Liquors
Rocca Della Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva, 2012
Located in the vicinity of Castellina in the region’s south, Rocca delle Macìe Riserva also has 5 percent of merlot, as well as an equal percentage of cabernet sauvignon. This wine is more ripe and has more floral scents, with moderate tannins and bold, smoky, spicy and tea leaf notes on the palate. Aged for two years in barrels, it is medium-full in body and goes great with grilled meats.
$19, Whole Foods, Ink Block
Castello di Bossi “C. Berardenga” Chianti Classico, 2012
Berardenga is situated in the warmest, southernmost part of the Chianti Classico area. Layered with rich black cherry flavors, it has savory, stony, mineral characteristics, with some of the woodsy, mushroom-like elements that make sangiovese so intriguing. This is a harmonious wine with great versatility for food, and it’s very enjoyable with an herb-rubbed chicken breast.
$25, Wine Gallery, Brookline
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.