Taste Chianti in the Chianti wine region
Chianti is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Tuscany. Its wide hills are very fertile and are covered with vineyards and olive groves. Throughout Chianti region you will find plenty of scenic villages, wineries and picturesque towns. Probably the most famous sub-region is the Chianti Classico region located between the two amazing cities of Florence and Siena. On the western side is the Elsa River and Pesa Valley; while on the east are the beautiful Chianti Mountains.
Chianti is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Tuscany.
The town Greve Chianti is located in the center of this region, and is well known for production of good wines. The sweet Vin Santo dessert wine is one of the most popular wines that are produced here.
The largest wine production place in the area is Barone Ricasoli, where you can visit museums and gardens in an old castle or try some great Chianti wines. Castellina, Gaiole and Rada are a few other nice places that produce local wines.
Sangiovese: red grape variety
When it comes to Chianti wines, it should be noted that they are one of the best wines that come from Italy. Chianti wines are made from the red grape variety called Sangiovese.
Sangiovese grapes have a very thin skin, purple color and they tend to stay a bit longer on the vineyards, as they need more time to properly mature and ripen. The warm region of Tuscany is the center place where large quantities of Sangiovese grapes are grown. This grape is very rich in tannins and has high acidic levels. It is also medium-bodied varietal and the wine that comes from it has medium levels of alcohol of around 14 %. There is a strong influence of oak, and often has vanilla or cedar spices. It comes in flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cherry or violet.
Chianti wine is dry red wine, medium-bodied with high levels of acidity and tighter, stronger tannins. The flavor is very rich and it can be either fruity or more rustic, depending on how the vines have been managed and depending on their exact location.
You can expect to feel a cherry-like taste – black, red or sour. It has nuances of different spices and tones of peppers. Sometimes you can even feel light taste of sweet tobacco. If served chilled, it can lower a bit the alcohol and limit the tannins, allowing fruity taste to come forward.
Important thing to have in mind is that Sangiovese is the name of the grape, but in Italy wines are usually sold with the name of the place on the bottle. Due to the fact that Sangiovese is grown in the Chianti region, the wines made with Sangiovese varietal are called Chianti wines. The most quality bottles of wine are those that are labeled as ‘Chianti DOCG’ or Chianti Classico DOCG’.
Chianti Classico DOCG
Chianti DOCG is produced with at least 80 % usage of the Sangiovese varietal and are extremely good wines, while you will easily recognize the Chianti Classico DOCG bottles by their symbol of black rooster on the bottles. Chianti Classico DOCG wines come from rich hillside regions, and are spicier, more bodied and more complex.
Chianti Riserva wines are also great wines, produced from the wine districts where Chianti Classico is made. The difference is that Chianti Riserva wines must spend at least couple of years in oak, to get a smoky character and better concentration. They are also more expensive.
Super Tuscan wines
The most expensive Super Tuscan wines are strong red wines manufactured outside of DOC labeled regions which are commonly full of Sangiovese grape. Super Tuscan wines are made by blending Sangiovese with grapes that come from France such as Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Another great representative that comes from the region of Chianti is Brunello (name of the grape) di Montalcino (name of the place). This is a full-bodied, strong, intense red wine made of Sangiovese grapes.
Tasting Chianti wine
Chianti wines made of Sangiovese grape can be paired with many different kinds of food. However, they are a perfect partner for roasted poultry, grilled beef steak, pork chops or for strong Provolone and Parmesan cheese.
Some notable producers of Sangiovese Chianti wines which you can try are Avignonesi, Castello di Bossi, La Massa, Frescobaldi, Ruffino, Leonetti or Poggione.