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The second of my "flight" of wines from the other night. See 1996 Gabbiano Chianti Classico for a lengthier introduction--I'm not in the mood to retype/rewrite it here.

This had everything I'm looking for in a red wine. I loved it completely and unreservedly. I did a little background checking on the winery--it seems that the Clemente VII (named either after the Pope who lost England to the Anglican church or the earlier antipope, I'm not sure which) is their signature offering; but, in many years, they can't deliver the goods tastewise--1997 seems to have been the exception.

Rich, deep redness; subtle, spicy scents; generous but not overwhelming fruit flavors; a moderately drying but not sharp acidity; and firm, ripe tannins that have turned the corner from harsh and are just becoming smooth. This is a young, vital wine--not in the sense of an 18-year-old right out of high school, but like a 22-year-old graduating from college and about to embark on a profitable career. Most of all, the wine retails for $16 a bottle--clearly a steal--although our state wine store (whose website says it's an item they carry) does not have it in stock. I give this wine my highest recommendation.

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