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I'm beginning to really despise my local liquor store. Never mind the rather limited selection, or the surly New Hampshire state employees that lord over the place is if it was their own little fief--they actively try to cheat unsuspecting customers. If they've got some older wine from a crappy winery they haven't sold, they'll fill up the bin with it and charge the same price as younger, probably better wine. And if it's wine from a good winery, they'll raise the price for all the bottles on sale, even the younger ones that may not be nearly as good. I almost got tripped up by this last night in my search for a good Chianti Classico, nearly buying the almost certainly dead 1996 at an inflated price. Oh well, I guess I'm whining.

I've been keeping my eye out for the 1997 Volpaia for a while, and I thought it would go well with the night's meal (fancy food: a pepperoni calzone with mozzarella sticks). My overall comment: the wine was good, not great, and perhaps the best way to express my opinion is to say that the wine was "characteristic"--if you want a no muss, no fuss Chianti, you can't go wrong here.

The color was a little thin; a good middle-of-the-spectrum red, but pretty transparent. There was a good amount going on in terms of aroma, offering perhaps some cherry with a bit of a smoky edge, but scents were hard to distinguish with accuracy. The taste was nice and smooth, offering the typical Chianti splash of acid that helped the wine work very well with the sharp taste of the pepperoni. The tannins were present but unobtrusive, lending character but not harshness. It was a nice, easy drinking, medium bodied wine. I can't help but think, though, that for $15 I could have gotten much more out of, say, a 1997 California Cabernet or 1998 Rhone wine; but then again, they wouldn't have stood up to the acidity of the meal.

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