There are many lovely images that spring to mind when we think of Tuscany – rolling countryside with stunning views, ancient hilltop villages, Renaissance culture and olive oil.
But did you know it’s also the home of the wine region of Chianti?
Formerly associated with the distinctive bulbous, straw-covered bottle, Chianti is a wine with a long history that retains its distinctive character today.
For our online wine tasting in April, I selected a 2018 Chianti Classico from the Barone Ricasoli estate. Let’s look a little more closely at the Chianti region where the 2018 Chianti Classico wine is exclusively produced.
The wine region of Chianti, Tuscany.
Tuscany is home to some of the world's famously known wine regions.
Within the Tuscan region, the Chianti region of northern Italy spreads from the Adriatic in the east to nearly as far as the Mediterranean in the west. The wine region is divided into seven areas with the city of Florence at the centre.
With its climate being hot and dry, it favours the cultivation of the Sangiovese grape which makes up almost the majority of the wines of Chianti. With thin skins, a light colour, high acidity and fruity tannins, this grape variety thrives on the limestone soils. Some wine producers blend the Sangiovese with other grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Trebbiano.
The main classifications of Chianti
Each Chianti classification holds their own characteristics and requirements for ageing, grape varieties used and area of origin.
These classifications are:
- Standard Chianti – a blend of a minimum of 70% Sangiovese grapes that are aged for a minimum of three months.
- Chianti Classico – which is made with more than 80% Sangiovese and aged for at least 10 months. The famous black rooster adorns the seal.
- Chianti Riserva – aged for at least 38 months
- Chianti Superiore - which is produced using grapes from beyond the Classico region that are aged for over 9 months.
Chianti Classico Barone Ricasoli
For our April wine tasting, I have chosen a Chianti from the largest producer in Tuscany and one of the oldest in the world: the Ricasoli family.
The Ricasoli family dates back to the 7th century and has been settled at Brolio Castle since 1141 with an estate covering approximately 1200 hectares, including almost 240 hectares of vineyards and 26 hectares of olive groves.
The remainder of the estate is covered in woodland and Mediterranean scrub resulting in a rich biodiversity. The family is dedicated to viticulture without the need for chemical weed killers, pesticides and fertilisers.
Exclusively made from red grapes
What many people don't know is that Chianti wine used to be made from white grapes, until the mid-20th century. In the early days, Chianti was actually considered a type of white wine. It wasn't until winemakers started using red grapes that the wine began to take on its characteristic red colour and flavour.
These days, Chianti is made exclusively from red grapes, and it has become one of the most popular types of red wine in the world.
This award-winning wine is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon organically grown grapes. The wines produced are fermented in stainless steel vats, followed by 9 months in oak barrels. The wine is then aged for three to six months in bottles.
With an intense ruby red colour, it has been described as having the aroma of violets, red fruit and balsamic, providing a soft, smooth, well-balanced flavour with tannic, mineral notes.
For lovers of Italian cuisine, the 2018 Chianti Classico is the perfect match – pair with Italian meats, pasta dishes and lamb for the optimal tasting experience. This wine is a great gift for any lover of Italian cuisine.
Care to join our wine tasting sessions?
If you are seeking the authentic taste of Tuscany, join me on April 21st and discover 1,000 years of wine-producing history whilst enjoying Chianti Classico Barone Ricasoli.
Aside from the Chianti wine, we also host several tasting sessions featuring different wines throughout the year.
To join our future tasting sessions, click the link here and simply find a time that suits you. Enjoy these fine wines hand-selected by wine experts from the comfort of your own home.
We love to share our wine knowledge with others, so be sure to come along and discover new wines in the company of fellow wine lovers.