Chianti - The Popular Italian
Curvy roads, breathtaking hillside vineyards, olive groves, cypress trees, medieval castles, restored farm houses, and historic villages all complement the breathtaking terroir that produces Chianti, the quintessential Italian red wine that pairs perfectly with pasta, pizza, and other Italian favorites.
From grapes grown in the heart of Tuscany, Chianti is a voluminous and widely sold wine. It is made in eight district zones of neighboring areas that cover a vast territory around the original center of Chianti Classico production. Not only has packaging changed from straw-covered flasks to modern, state-of-the-art bottles, but there have also been other changes since the early 1980s. These include innovative vintners using new wine-making techniques and recent upgrades in quality assurance with DOCs (controlled designation of origin) and DOCGs (controlled designation of origin guaranteed). DOCG wines are government tasted and analyzed, and bottles have numbered government seals on the cap or cork. Produced from Sangiovese grapes, the most popular grape varietal in Tuscany, Chianti has various styles and tastes partly due to the many diverse micro climates of long hot days and cool nights, typical effects of a Mediterranean climate. Some Chiantis are smooth and round, easy to drink young; others need years to develop the aromas and flavors distinctive of aged Tuscan reds. The wines show a deep ruby-garnet color and present a light to medium body with cherry and cranberry as leading flavors, but you can find cocoa, espresso, tobacco, and oak in older vintages. These characteristics can confuse Chianti wine drinkers. Below I make some recommendations detailing varieties and distinctive traits.
Now that harvest season has arrived, it is a great time to discover and enjoy the lovely tastes of Chianti and Chianti Classico. Look for vintages three to five years old. For more intense flavors or cellaring, try wines five to 15 years old. Salute!
These wines are easy to find in retail stores around New Hampshire, including the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission (NHSLC) wine outlets. Prices range from $9.99 to $30.
2009 Biagio Chianti
2007 DaVinci Chianti
2007 Poggio Amorelli Chianti Classico
2007 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva
2007 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia
2007 Banfi Vintners Chianti Classico Riserva
2008 Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico
2008 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva