Sometimes, you luck out in liquor stores. And sometimes you don’t. But I have learned that it is worth trying it out. And with this find, the 2005 Melini Vigneti La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva, I definitely lucked out. According to Wine Searcher, the wine retails for $25 and up. I found this lone bottle on the sales shelf for $12. There is always a good chance that an older vintage wine sold in a liquor store (instead of a professional wine store) has gone bad because of poor storage conditions etc. But it is sometimes worth a try, and it all depends on what discount the store is giving you.
Some of you know that I have made Melini’s 2010 Chianti Borghi d’Elsa my go to, everyday Chianti. It is nicely affordable and delivers refreshing, light wines. When bought in the magnum bottle, which are available at Costco, it is hard to beat price wise for a good dinner companion.
Cantine Melini is a big Italian wine producer. The winery was established in 1705 and today covers over 550 hectares of land in Chianti and Chianti Classico. The vineyards reportedly cover 136 hectares divided in 5 farms. While the Borghi d’Elsa is an everyday wine, La Selvanella is on the other end of Melini’s spectrum: It is their top notch wine which has garnered attention by Italy’s leading wine guide, the Gambero Rosso (the 2006 La Selvanella got the coveted 3 glass rating). This vintage received 2 glasses in Gambero Rosso and 4 grapes in the Duemilavini guide. The 2005 vintage was rather difficult as far as the weather was concerned (lots of rain and low temperatures from June to August), but the grapes are said to have ripened enough. The wine is made with 100% Sangiovese grosso grapes which come from 49 hectares around Radda in Chianti, one of the top villages in Chianti. The grapes were harvested in October and after 20 days of maceration it ripened 30 months in French oak. It has 13.2% ABV and the winery gives it 10 to 12 years of ageing potential. (All this information can be found on the winery’s website)
We decanted the wine for about an hour. It poured as a darker red wine with very slight browning on the edges. In the nose, I got raisins, lots of plum and some sweetness as well as herbal aromas. The medium bodied wine showed mostly plums and prunes on the palate, with good acidity and medium tannins which were nicely round. There was some spice going on and it had a medium length finish. The wine was still very, very fresh, which surprised me. It is by far not nearing its end yet.
I really enjoyed this wine. At the price I bought it, it was a steal. It also paired great with the Pecorino Toscano (a young Pecorino with delicate flavors that has none of the ripened Pecorino’s saltiness which I don’t enjoy much) I was able to secure in San Antonio and awesome different, thinly sliced bacons from my favorite sausage maker in town, Biercamp (which is right around the corner). It transported me right back into Tuscany, on a warm fall day afternoon, sitting outside, munching on Pecorino Toscano, prosciutto and panini and having a glass of wine…there is no better compliment I can make a wine.
I’m not big into Chianti, but you definitely made my mouth water with this one! (Red Wine Diva – aka: Latitude Wines
You sure do like’em bold. :)
I thought you’d want to know that your link to biercamp isn’t connecting (my knowing this proves that I read and interact with your posts, even when I’m bummed out that I can’t drink wine because of medication interaction). http://www.bier-camp.com/
Thank you for pointing this out, Tracy!! And thanks for clicking my links…:)
I hope you’ll be able to have wine again soon!
great review as always and OMG, 12 bucks?!? That’s crazy cheap! Too bad they only had one left!
Cheers to you!
If they had had more bottles, I would have opened this one the night I bought it to see whether I needed to go back. This way, the bottle rested for a while before it met its perfect companions…
I love finding those hidden gems on sale. I remember buying a bottle of Jim Barry McRae Wood Cabernet Sauvignon for about $24 (Usually $50+, not to mention the fact that the Cab version was extremely rare, versus the Shiraz one) Fun stuff…
Yes, it helps to know (or faintly remember) what might be worth buying…
A wine that can transport me to Tuscany? Sign me up! I love finding a great deal, not knowing what I’m getting into beforehand. Cheers!
You and I should hang out at a liquor store one day…:)
Done! Let me know when you’re in my ‘hood. Or I’ll give you a shout when I’m up in the chilly North!
Anywhere would be great! Let’s just keep each other posted!
I’m glad to hear that this Chianti worked out very well for you. While I haven’t had this particular one yet, I’m now looking forward to give it a try. Unfortunately, the winery is not present at VinItaly but maybe I’ll find the wine in a store or so.
For 12$ it’s definitely a steal.
I think the salty Pecorino that you don’t like is called Pecorino Sardo. Pecorino Toscano is considered milder and often eaten young.
Yes, you are right. I am not a big fan of Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Romano who are usually sold aged and quite salty. Pecorino Toscano, in contrast, is a totally different story.
I hope you can find a La Selvanella. I would love to read your notes. Thanks for stopping by, as always!
Salty pecorino is disgusting!
So good to hear that you bought this wine for little money :)
Nice review as always!
I can deal with the Sardo and Romano pecorino in pasta, but not on their own…Thanks for your kind words!
I love those special finds! Nothing beats a good deal or a good Chianti!
I totally agree.
Sounds wonderful! I love how you always include background information on the wine/winery when you do your wine reviews! Salud!!
Thanks so much! To me, the background stories do matter…
Well done. Sounds like a good find!!
Yes, it is fun when it works out!!