Chianti is a wine that needs little introduction among lovers of Italian vino, but how many people really know what they are drinking when they order a glass of Chianti and why its reputation has stood the test of time? Read on to learn all about this tremendous tipple! |
Why So Special?
This stunning red made in the rolling hills of Tuscany is made from a minimum of 80% Sangiovese grapes. These grapes are relatively thin-skinned, and so the finished product can often appear slightly translucent. While this may give the impression that the product is one dimensional, we can guarantee you that it is anything but.
Try to conjure up the smells that you are greeted with when you enter an Italian deli and this will give you a very real idea of what Chianti is like. In essence, it is Italy in a bottle. Earthy herbs, tangy balsamic vinegar, dry salami, grainy parmesan and nutty coffee aromas are among the base notes, while red fruits, sour cherries and sweet tobacco linger and produce a decadent finish on the palate.
Sangiovese is often blended with Canaiolo or Cabernet Sauvignon and sometimes Merlot to give its unique features.
Flavours with Food
All good food deserves an even better wine as an accompaniment, and this glorious red wine, with its savoury flavours and string tannin notes is a match made in heaven for game dishes, fattier meats, rich tomato sauces and peppery olive oil; great news for Tuscany, as the cuisine here relies heavily on these ingredients!
There are many different classifications of Chianti; as the different blends age, the taste changes dramatically. A basic bottle is aged for six months and is a simple wine, with fresher, tarter notes. A bottle aged for a year is called ‘Superiore’ and has been given the time for the acidic notes to mellow a little and for the feature flavours to deepen. An older bottle, aged for 2 years, is known as a ‘Riserva’ and many producers are proud to feature this classification as their top vintage.
The finest Chianti is aged for at least 30 months. While many believe that aging is a sign of quality, it really depends on personal taste and the food with which you are drinking the wine. All true Chiantis are produced to a high standard and even an inexpensive bottle can get your taste buds singing.
Try It Yourself
If a local tipple is on your agenda when you visit Italy, why not book onto a Chianti wine tour? These wonderful tours will arm you with all you need to know about choosing local beverages and there will be lots of tasting opportunities too. Chianti wine tours are run by expert guides who are on hand to answer all of your questions.
Italy is very proud of its food and wine heritage and, when you read more, taste more and discover more about this world famous tipple, you will understand why.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable day trips from Florence including Vintage Vespa tours, cooking classes and Chianti wine tour experiences. Wherever and whatever you want to explore Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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