I ordered this wine on sale from Grail Wine Selections for $10 (normally $20). I found it to have a pretty nose of sweet cherries with a touch of fresh earth. It's color was brick red around the edges. In the mouth, the cherries turned sour, which were supported with some green veggies, and moderate tannins take this wine through the finish. Good acidity. I also got a lot of baked fruit and raisins throughout.
The wine was aged both in steel tanks and oak barrels, and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol. Lanciola Winery is in the Tuscan countryside a few miles outside of Florence, according to its web site. About half of the estate's total of 200 acres is planted with grapes, and the other half olives, from which they make an extra virgin olive oil.
From what I can gather from the site, it looks like the wines are only distributed by seven firms worldwide, with two in Japan, two in Europe, and two in California, including Grail Wines.
Napa-based Grail Wine Selections focuses on Italian wines, and my contact there, Erin Martin, is very friendly and knowledgeable about vino, as I discovered when she put up with my numerous and probably annoying questions about this bottle and others. She said this wine, which is 90% Sangiovese with a little bit of Merlot, is "just more dirty and harsh (in a good way), more of a food wine, a little more masculine" than a Sonnino Chianti that they're selling (I purchased the Sonnino as well and plan to review it when I get around to drinking it).
Grail Wine Selection contrasted the two wines in their e-mail, saying: "Stylistically you can compare them to those gorgeous Italian men in the fashion magazine advertisements. Sonnino is more delicate and slightly androgynous; the Lanciola is more ruggedly handsome with a slight 5:00 stubble. Beauty is all in the palate of the wine drinker... We think the Lanciola is a bit more of an appetizer or first course wine than a sipper. We like to serve it with the antipasti or pesto bruschetta. It also works well at the end of the dinner, when you need that "one more little glass". You want something good, but it doesn't really make good sense to open that $75 bottle in the cellar."
This was definitely a nice wine that went well with a bunch of different meals I had this week, and I'm looking forward to trying the Sonnino to compare the two.
I've sort of avoided Chianti for years now, based on some bad cheap bottles I had a long time ago, but this opens a new door for me, and I'm glad I tried this.