I spent the first weekend in December on vacation in Florence, Italy, and was lucky enough to enjoy temperatures in the high 50s that Saturday. The mild weather encouraged my traveling companions and me to ensconce ourselves at an outdoor café (with heat lamps) smack on the corner of the Piazza della Signoria, for an early-evening bottle of wine.
The timing was perfect to do some people-watching, as the Florentines enjoyed what’s known as the passeggiata, the period before dinner spent strolling with family and friends. A local bottling seemed the obvious choice when it came time to order the wine, and I selected the Antinori Chianti Classico Pèppoli 2005, which is made from vineyards about an hour’s drive from Florence.
The wine showed good kirsch and plum character, with bright acidity and subtle hints of spice and cedar. It was well-integrated and easy to drink—so much so that we had two bottles! I rated it 90 points, non-blind. At our rather touristy café, it was a pricey 35 euros a bottle (pricey because wines at restaurants in Italy rarely see the markup that we find typical here in the States). But I often see the Pèppoli in retail stores here for a more affordable $25 to $30. Regardless of the markup, it was a lovely wine to enjoy in such a delightful setting, and one I won’t forget.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Antinori Chianti Classico Pèppoli 2005 (88, $25).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated wines from Chianti.