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Cafaggio Villa Cafaggio 1997 Chianti Classico ($13.99)
A classic Chianti? Actually it's a Chianti Classico, but the principle is the same. In Chianti, as in many of the legally defined Italian wine regions, the vineyards that lie in the central portion - in this case, north of Siena and south of Florence in Tuscany - are believed to produce the most traditional examples of the wine of the country and thus add the adjective "Classico" to the regional name.

It's a clear, dark ruby in color, with ripe black-cherry and spicy oak aromas, "classic" Chianti indeed. Full, fresh tart-cherry fruit flavors are framed with soft tannins and tart, lemony acidity. Black fruit and zingy acidity persist in a long finish. Clean and fresh, enjoyable now, but this is one Chianti that will reward time in the cellar. U.S. importer: F.W.I., Rutherford, N.J. (Nov. 26, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Good match with an autumnal dinner of duck sausage with fennel tossed with brussels sprouts in a little butter.

Clock This wine was featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor, my free weekly E-mail bulletin of quick wine tips, advice and tasting notes. Click here to join the E-mail list!

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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