For a long time many people thought that Chianti (key-on-tee) wine only came in a strange shaped bottle in a straw basket called a fiasco (fee-as-co). These bottles were very popular in the early 1970s. Today this classic Italian red wine is the most popular Italian wine in America.
So what is Chianti wine? It is a red that has a reputation for tasting best with food. It ranges in price from $10.00 to $65.00 per bottle. The straw basket is pretty much gone and Chianti is now bottled in standard wine bottles. There are two primary wines: Chianti and Chianti Classico. I believe these are the most popular.
Chianti is known as a very dry wine that ranges from tight-bodied to almost full-bodied. Chianti wine is produced in central Italy’s Tuscany region. The Chianti region of Tuscany is a large wine zone; all of it is controlled by DOCG standards. The zone includes seven subzones.
The most important of the seven subzones are Classico and Rufina. Although the other five zones produce good wines, these two wine zones are the most popular. It is the general belief that the best wines of the Chianti region are made in these two zones. Chianti Classico is produced under the supervision of Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico. This is a union of Chianti Classico producers in the subzone that supervise the wine’s production to ensure the highest standards and quality. There are four primary Chianti wines produced and all are subject to governmental aging requirements (DOCG). The aging requirements are as follows:
- Chianti – aged six months
- Superiore – aged one year
- Riserva – aged two years
- Gran Selezione – aged 2.5 years
You can tell which Chianti Classico wines are under the control of the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico as each bottle has a seal featuring a black rooster.
Chianti is made from the thin-skinned Sangiovese grape. By law Chianti red wines must contain at least no less than 80% Sangiovese. Otherwise, it cannot be labeled Chianti. The Chiantis that are not 100% Sangiovese generally contain other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.
Chianti typically has a very earthy and rustic taste, high in tannins (the ones I have tasted tend to dry your mouth out). The aromas are of cherries, strawberries or red fruit. The wines are generally also high in acidity which makes the wine go well with food. While most people pair Chianti with classic Italian food it also goes well with many other foods such as veal, grilled chicken, beef, and especially richer fatty steaks.
Chianti wine producers have worked very hard to shed the dusty low-end image that was associated with Chianti wines early on. The quality of Chianti and Chianti Classico has never been better. I highly recommend you taste some soon and consider adding a few of your favorites to your wine collection.
Italian Wine Dinner at LEX 530 on March 19th
The first LEX 530 Wine Dinner which will take place on Tuesday, March 19, starting at 6 pm at the new LEX 530 event center, 530 E. Lexington Avenue in Elkhart. The theme is Italian and Executive Chef Chad Coryn has prepared an amazing five courses that are guaranteed to delight. The evening is priced at $80 per ticket unless you are a LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Member. Tickets are going fast so: Click here to take a look at the courses and wine pairings and then go here to buy your tickets! If you are a LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Member, reach out to Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your discounted tickets.
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you are reading this blog for the first time please consider subscribing while you are on the website. This way you’ll get our reviews and articles in your email. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- April 17 – International Malbec Day
- May 3 – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
- May 9 – World Moscato Day
- May 23 – International Chardonnay Day
- May 25 – National Wine Day
- June 8 – National Rosé Wine Day
- June 20 – National Lambrusco Day