During my recent trip to Tuscany, I spent several nights at the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino, near Castellina, in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone. The hotel had a decent albeit short wine list with about six to eight Chianti Classicos, another six to eight Riservas and about a half-dozen Brunellos di Montalcino.
Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined me for the early part of the trip. The night we arrived at the Belvedere, we ordered the Chianti Classico 2007 from Isole & Olena, a reputable winery owned by Paolo di Marchi. It was 25 euros (about $36) on the list.
The 2007 vintage resulted in very balanced, elegant wines, ripe with fruit flavors but not overly powerful. The wine offered lovely cherry fruit, with earth, tar and bitter almond accents, typical of Sangiovese from Chianti Classico. It was fruity and balanced, with a pleasantly astringent finish. 90 points, non-blind.
The red went perfectly with the tagliata (a steak grilled then sliced), its acidity and bright fruit matching the texture and light char of the meat.
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