Chianti Wine Information
Ah, Chianti. In the "old days", Chianti was the basket-bottle wine, served on a red checked tablecloth, holding a romantic candle. In a modern reworking, Chianti now usually comes in a standard glass bottle, looking for a more elegant image. If you're a traditionalist, however, some brands still use the basket. The basket helped the bottle avoid breakage during transportation.
Chianti wine comes from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. Only wines from this region can properly be called Chianti, although some other areas are using the name on their labels.
Chianti was first identified as a type in the 13th century. Its primary red grapes are Sangiovese and Canaiolo, while the main whites are are Trebbiano and Malvasia. There are now seven Chianti zones, defined by the Dalmasso Commission in 1932:
- Chianti Classico
- Chianti Montalbano
- Chianti Colli Fiorentini (Florentine hills)
- Chianti Rufini
- Colli Senesi (Siena hills)
- Colline Pisane (Pisan hills)
- Colli Aretini (Arezzo hills)
The Chianti demarcations are not quite as well done as the similar ones in France. The Chianti Classico, for example, was initially set by edict in 1716. With the expansion in 1932, they were pushed to include what many considered to be inferior vineyards, and suffered as a consequence. Other areas were expanded in a more logical manner. It is still wisest to learn about the actual winery the Chianti comes from, instead of relying solely on the zone the wine was sourced from.
Chianti is a red wine, strong and bold. Typical flavors in a Chianti include cherry, plum, strawberry, spice, almonds, tobacco, vanilla, and coffee. Chianti goes well with well-seasoned foods. Chianti is often called a "fruity" wine, meaning it appeals to new wine drinkers.
Chianti, being a red wine, is best served from a red wine glass. The glass shown above is the specific glass recommended by Riedel for drinking Chianti. The glass emphasizes its fruity flavors.
Current marketing of the Chianti name includes a "Black Rooster" emblem - wineries in the Chianti Classico have started using this rooster to build regional recognition for their wines. Chianti should be served at 59F and is good for up to 10 years, for a good variety. If you can find any, 1997 was considered by many to be the "vintage of the century".
To see Chianti in its basket tourist bottle, made for tourists to bring home, here's an image from the movie A Room With A View showing a group of tourists admiring the Chianti basket-bottles!
To learn more about Chianti and baskets, visit my associated page on the topic!
Chianti Basket Wine Information
From one of my visitors: "With much attention and effort, one can notice that the most prominent wine featured on the Soprano family dinner table, is a 2002 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserve Ducale. An excellent choice for America's favorite mob boss."
Wine in the Sopranos
Chianti in Silence of the Lambs
Lisa loves pizza and eggplant parm, so Chianti is high on her list of wines to drink.
Wines of Italy
Chianti Winery Website Links
Wine Types Main Listing