Chianti vineyard in the heart of Tuscany, Italy
Chianti is a blend of Italian red and perhaps white grapes, produced in Tuscany in northeastern Italy. The major component is usually Sangiovese Over the years there has been a change in the grapes required and it is no longer usually produced in straw-covered bottles. Flavors include cherry, leather, and tobacco. Suggested food pairings include Beef Bourguignonne and Flank Steak, and lots of Italian food including Veal Parmesan, Chicken Cacciatore, and Pasta.
Chianti DOCG starts at about $12 a bottle and goes up from there. For starters buy a Frescobaldi Remole Chianti Ruffina at about $12. This medium-bodied, acidic fruity wine is a bargain, if you like it. For about $5 more try the Castello di Rapale Chianti Riserva tasting of mature red fruits. For about the same price you can get the organic version. Think about moving up to the usually more expensive Chianti Classico DOCG. Be careful, while a lot of Chianti is well worth drinking much of it is not. Most Chianti can be aged for 3-5 years.