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Piccini’s regular, bog-standard Orange Label chianti was in Sainsbury’s at £6.59; but the better Superiore, normally £7.99, was reduced to £5.32; and the top of the range Riserva, normally £10.99, was reduced a staggering 50% to just £5.49. For the top of the range! An eleven quid wine for half price! And – here was the clincher – it had a security tag!!
Well. Once I got home, I did some research, as we who have a little knowledge of wine are wont to do. Am I in good company amongst the reviewers?
And here, in November 2008, is Jane McQuitty in The Times recommending the Piccini Riserva 2005, a “a bright, beefy, leather, truffle and spice-laden chianti” – reduced to £4.99.
In December 09, here’s the York student website recommending the 2006 Familae Piccini Chianti Reserva: "Rich and fruity. Good with lamb. A bottle for that Sunday roast with the housemates, perhaps?" – £5.49 was £10.99, Sainsbury’s.
And in April 2010, here’s Tim Curran in the Mirror : "Sainsbury's has superior Italian red Familae Piccini Chianti Riserva DOCG 2007 with its cherry flavours that go with red meat and game (half-price at £5.49 until Tuesday)."
So, what we are actually talking about here is a five quid wine. Not a security-protected, £10.99 bottle, unless you are unfortunate or stupid enough to buy it during the rare periods when it is not reduced. A wine which every year sells for £5, or thereabouts. A little knowledge which, frankly, changed my whole perspective.
As a five quid kitchen wine, this is perfectly good; fresh, light, inoffensive, moderately fruity and with a slight spiciness on the palate to give it some grip.
But as an eleven quid cellar wine, it is shallow, lacking in depth or complexity, with no richness or depth. It disappears in the mouth, with too little aftertaste.
Take your choice as to which is an appropriate response. The wine’s the same, it’s the expectations which are different – driven by price, and a little knowledge. Oh, and a security tag.
Oh, and read the full article on www.sedimentblog.com.
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