This is a very smooth, medium bodied, and traditional Tuscan wine. I say traditional because Chianti Classico falls within the original Chianti designation they drew up back in the 1700s. This small sub-region of Chianti has more restrictive wine laws and more traditional winemaking practices than the rest of Chianti. Il Tarocco bears the black rooster symbol of the Chianti Classico Producers Association and is made up of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero.
The wine was aged in small French oak barrels for 12 months and the label says 6 months in the bottle to acquire smoothness – but given the vintage is a 2008 and I bought it this month, I suspect it’s aged in the bottle for a bit longer than that…
I often find Sangiovese too rough and tannic to truly enjoy. But not so with this one. I suspect the Canaiolo Nero and bottle aging have smoothed this wine out into something that rivals my favorite Syrah or Zinfandel but without the chewiness and alcohol burn. The wine was dark cherry in color with a salmon halo. When I first smelled it, I laughed because in short, it smells like a man: leather, wood smoke, and a hint of black currant and spice. The wine itself reminded me of dried black cherries and blackberries with a pleasant tartness from the acidity and light tannins.
My suggestion? Cook pasta with sausage and mushrooms in red sauce, break out dark chocolate for dessert, light some candles, and keep the glasses full.