Tuscany’s Chianti Classico is a pillar of Italian wine — a choice you can return to again and again. Produced from the Sangiovese grape and marked by naturally high acidity, Chianti Classico is from the most iconic Chianti zone and pairs wonderfully with pastas, meats, chicken, and many other dishes.
One of the best values is from Banfi Tuscany, an American-owned label with Italian roots. Banfi’s 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva is a true bargain at around $19 (especially for a Riserva) and is an excellent wine to have on hand for tomato-based pasta sauces and even pizza.
The wine is marked by a beautiful combination of blueberry, raspberry, and cherry tastes with cedar and coffee notes — all of it supported by a firm but smooth tannic structure. Chianti Classico Riservas are required to receive more aging than non-Riserva wines; Banfi’s gets a minimum of 28 months, including at least a year in Slavonian oak barrels.
This gives the wine greater dimension, but the oak remains in the background. Beyond Sangiovese, the blend includes small amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol is a moderate 13.5 percent.
Banfi Tuscany produces a value-driven line of wines and is part of a wine empire that includes eight Banfi wineries in Italy, four in the U.S., and one in Chile. With its under-$20 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva, Banfi reaffirms its reputation as a top producer of classic yet affordable Tuscan wines.