A typical pandemic Friday night — what to do to shake one out of the ongoing funk that seems to envelop our lives lately? Funny you should ask. Instead of meatloaf and just another nondescript glass of red, we recently reached out to a favorite local Italian restaurant, Princi Italia, to “attend” its Antinori virtual tasting in which three Antinori branded wines were paired with delicious appetizers from the restaurant. Add a couple of good friends-socially distanced, of course-, obtain the Zoom login and, voila, instant party! All three Antinori wines, a Rose, a light Red and the star of the evening were delightful and paired well with the tasty Princi Italia appetizers and fresh pasta dinners that our quartet chose to add, but without a doubt the showstopper was the Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2016. A big, bold Chianti, the Marchese Antinori Chianti was a brilliant pairing with both the spaghetti Bolognese and the lightly fried calamari appetizer. The wine had a richness to it that complemented the Bolognese sauce, yet polished and refined enough not to overwhelm the seafood appetizer. The Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 had delicious notes of dark cherry, plum and a hint of leather and baking spice, with a memorable, lingering finish. Quite simply, this beautiful Antinori Red reignited my love for Tuscan wines in general and Chianti Classicos in particular. Also, a personal shout out to Niccolo MaltintiAntinori’s US Brand Ambassador, for taking time to join the Zoom tasting and provide great background information and breathtaking Tuscan photos to entertain the virtual attendees. Retailing for $47 but available for several dollars less with a bit of sleuthing, this Worth a Splurge Wine is decidedly that, earning a strong 92 rating from Wine Enthusiast and a stout 90 rating from Wine Spectator. If anything, I would rate this Antinori Chianti Classico a bit higher. Highly recommended to brighten your Friday night!

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