Chianti is infamous for its wide variation in quality, due primarily to the highly variable soils and expositions of the vineyards but also because of the varying diligence of the producers. If one is stepping outside the Chianti Classico zone, as we are now, then one must take care. A great strategy for doing that is to find a pleasing Chianti Classico producer, like Lanciola, whose Chianti Classico Riserva we had last summer, and then try their less costly bottlings. Voila! The grapes for this bottling come from the part of the estate located in the hilly area just to the north of the Chianti Classico zone and just outside the city of Florence. Indeed, the words Colli Fiorentini mean “hills of Florence.” Wine has been grown on this property from at least the 13th century and the current guardians, the Guarneri Family, organically farm their grapes with future generations in mind. This blend is more than 90% Sangiovese, with the remainder composed of a typical Tuscan field blend, primarily Canniolo and Colorino. Flavors of fresh cherries, orange blossoms, gravel and fennel bulb with a lightness on the palate that belies the14% alcohol listed on the label. Chianti is the quintessential partner for meaty pastas with tomato sauce, but good ones are light and fresh enough to accompany many summery dishes, like hamburgers, sausages and even grilled chicken. It’ll even take a little chill. 10-15 minutes in an ice bucket or 20 minutes in the fridge should do it.