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kirkland chianti classicoClassic Vin Ordinaire. This is another well-priced but not entirely satisfactory foray into European wine regions for Costco. It’s from the prime growing region of Chianti Classico, the original Chianti region that has higher quality grapes and more strict standards than the surrounding areas that are designated as simply Chianti. And It’s labeled Riserva which in Chianti means it spends a minimum of two years in oak and 3 months in the bottle before release. The price tag, $8.49, is extraordinary for a Riserva.

It’s produced by Villa Cafaggio, a well-known producer.

Be excited about the price but you’re not getting a lot more quality than is typical of cheap Chianti in this price range. The nose is pleasant showing dark cherry, dusty earth, and loads of licorice, certainly darker fruit than standard Chianti. The palate is typical sour cherry and has a bit of roundness up front, but turns thin and hollow at midpalate, lacking concentration, and the finish is marked by coarse wood tannin and the characteristic acidic bite. Quite rustic. This is slightly elevated cheap Chianti, no less, but no more.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth every penny and will wash down a plate of pasta and red sauce as well as the next wine but it’s not a steal despite the promising information on the label.

Any wine that brings together John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, and Ry Cooder for some “Boogie Chillun” can be rustic all night long.

Score: 85

Price: $8.49 at Costco

Alc: 13.5%

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