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There were a lot of reasons why I grabbed this wine off the shelf:

OK: little of this has to do with the wine, but it got me worked up. Too bad. Had I written this review yesterday, I would have told you that the wine was bad, straight up. Today, after it's had a day to oxidize in the bottle, I would say that it's merely disappointing, but otherwise manageable.

I had a bad feeling once I poured the glass, since the color was a light red with brickish tints, quite clear--all this being a sign that it was not to be as formidable a wine as the 1996. The aromas--of oak and flowers--were quite strong, perhaps too much so. The taste was confused and out of balance: the oak was very prominent, but with little fruit, acid, and tannin to back it up. There was almost no finish, and I had to struggle to finish the first glass. After a day of moderate oxygen exposure (in the vacuum-sealed bottle), the oak flavors faded somewhat, bringing the wine closer to a reasonable balance, but it was still not the best Chianti by any stretch of the imagination. I may have to stay away from this one in the future.

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