An Italian Nods Toward the Past

November 6, 2019

I’m something of a curmudgeon when it comes to winemaking traditions that are going through an adjustment to the “internationalization” of the marketplace. I’m a lover of tradition, but also an enthusiastic supporter of the disruption that a generational shift frequently brings. The Felsina 2016 Pagliarese Chianti Classico manages to navigate the territory nicely making a wine that honors its historical tradition, but that also works here in America.  Felsina’s purchase in 2015 of the old House of Pagliarese allows them to continue with some of their other, more modern bottlings, while at the same time, honoring the traditional methods as practiced by Pagliarese.

As is typical of traditional chianti, the 2016 Pagliarese is still fairly rigid in its character. The typical cherry, coffee and “umami” aspects are here, but blanketed by the high acidity of a young chianti. Though the wine is somewhat forbidding in the mouth, when paired with food (Pasta Bolognese springs to mind) the hard edges come off the wine pretty quickly. The wine is so structured, that it wouldn’t be too risky to open the bottle a day before you intend to drink it to let it sort itself out. But the potential for development over a period of time is huge here, so if you can, and you have the space for proper storage, pick up a few bottles to put away until after 2021 or so.

2016 Pagliarese Chianti Classico
$20 to $25 at many fine wine stores