Tuscany can produce wondrous pricey reds, mostly from sangiovese, and reds that are enjoyable everyday drinking at very affordable prices. These are mostly the latter, with a couple of Veronese wines thrown in for variety.
2007 Mantellasi "Le Sentinelle" Morellino di Scanasano ($20). Little funky. Dark cherry flavors, lots of barrel notes, savory finish. Takeaway: An unpolished but pleasant everyday wine.
2011 Coltibuono "Cetamura" Chianti ($11) Light, somewhat ethereal with typical sangiovese raspiness. Light cherry flavors with very modest tannins. Takeaway: Like a starter chianti.
2010 Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($15). Warm, touch sweetish light cherry fruit, almost maraschino, with some raspberries. Little light in body. Finishes somewhat short. Takeaway: Its flavors stand up better than does its structure.
2009 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($20) A little fruit-forward and grapey. Good cherry fruit but it clings to the finish. Needs more balance. Made from organic grapes. Takeaway: Note one of B a C’s better efforts.
2008 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva ($33). Lovely aromas with soft fruit on the palate and nice touches of bitters. Lots of barrel flavors in the finish with a tangy touch. Takeaway: An enjoyable chianti that straddles modern and traditional.
2011 Sant’Antonio "Scaia" Veneto corvina ($12). From the grape used for amarone. Light sweet, somewhat spicy, a little figgy, and a little grapey. Interesting, but hasn’t quite come together. Takeaway: Could pair with creamy cheeses.
2008 Sant’Antonio Amarone della Valipolcella ($50). Dark, savory fruit, peppery, ripe but not jammy fruit. Some chocolate and anise at the finish, which is just a tad short. Takeaway: Not a perfect wine but a damn intriguing one.
2011 Caposaldo Chianti ($9). Bright but lean cherry flavors with some crisp citrus notes. Little light in body. Takeaway: A very presentable basic chianti.
2009 Spalletti Chianti ($12). A touch gamey, yet still elegant and complex. Kiss of oak on fresh cherries. Takeaway: A very presentable basic-plus chianti.
2006 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino Riserva ($59). Spicy, lean, leathery, old-barrel flavors, bacon fat — yes! Impressive in its core if not in its heft. Takeaway: A heavyweight wine in a lightweight’s body.