Chiaretto Roundup

My WINE OF THE DAY: 2021 MONTE DEL FRA Ridiculously light, barely any rosy glow from the almost-yellow glass. Gorgeous vegetal–quite green and briary–knocking on Sancerre-territory in delicious herbal vibrance. Beautiful melon and pear perfectly in par on the palate, tannin casting itself into the fore-front of fruit in achingly dry style. NOT FOR EVERYONE, but quite possibly one of the most beautiful, complex, and geeky Chiaretto’s I’ve had.

Runners-up in excellence out of probably 30 rosés this afternoon: Marco Ruffato ‘Le Ginestre’ 2021 Subdued nose, light savory round–then you taste it. Franco says “angular”, and he’s right. Probably why I love it so much. Fruid shielded behind shrieking acidity and tannin. Absolutely stunning wine from this newcomer.

Three complete WORK-HORSE Chiaretto’s: VILLABELLA, CAVALCHINA and LE MORETTE loyal readers will be familiar with. Some of the cleanest, best-defined examples of the region you can possibly experience: wonderful typicity, incredible brightness of strawberry, peach and apricot running down dusty, cellar-floor paths of acidic sprite and spirit while salty, savory aspects blossom. Solid; Solid; and Solid are the names of these wines–impossible to pick a favorite from their flirtatious balance and serious charisma. THESE are the rosés we’re looking for, using complex simplicity and fruity focus to go head-to-head with the finest of Provence in color and texture.

LE TENDE 2021 Classico An un-cautious addition causing eyebrows when I announced it THE most perfect marketable Chiaretto. Not because it was my favorite, not because it was my style, not because it was error-free, but because it contained something for everyone. It’s a big wine, currently showing spritz but will settle down in coming months. Almost like a blend of everything described above: generous vegetal, tinges of briar, plummy fruit coated with gentle raspberry and fleshy cocoa-salinity. Far deeper pink than most on the table, it runs Tavel or Bandol-ish in the glass while maintaining un-snobby proportions of cheery–and chubby–Corvina accomplishments. While maybe not the bottle the consorzio wants to stake their name on, this is a wine that will not get lost in a crowd.

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