Why Chianti really is classico | David Williams

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The Guardian Chianti classico’s variety of styles suits every palate

M&S Classics Chianti, Italy 2018, £8.50, Marks & Spencer Producers of chianti classico have a long-running beef with wines labelled simply as chianti. The classico wines come from the original, superior winegrowing lands between Florence and Siena, recognised as far back as 1716 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici. Chianti, by contrast, comes from a much larger neighbouring area. Classico producers argue that if you want the real thing, you need to look for the trademark black rooster on their bottles; simple chianti can never match up. After spending a few days visiting chianti classico growers earlier this summer, I found plenty of wines that support the argument, made by many an Italian wine importer, that chianti classico is one of the best-value “fine” red wine regions in the world, certainly when set against its Tuscan rival, Brunello di Montalcino I agree up to a point. But I would still put a word in for good humble chianti, such as M&S’s excellent own-label, as an affordably refreshing, just-tart-enough tomato pasta partner.

Fontodi Filetta di Lamole Chianti Classico, Italy 2019, from £25, AG Wines The Chianti Classico Consorzio has been looking to play up the nuances of its different sub-regions. The hope is chianti drinkers will soon be able to savour the variety of styles on offer in the 11 ‘additional geographic units’ spread across chianti classico’s 70,000-hectare vineyard. One of the driving forces behind the move is Giovanni Manetti, who is both the president of the Consorzio and one of the region’s best winemakers at his family’s organic estate, Fontodi. Manetti’s transparent style, with its emphasis on purity of fruit, is well suited to expressing the character of different zones. With its fragrant floral notes, fine texture and racy cherry and raspberry, the Filetta di Lamole, for example, is a pristine snapshot of the steep-sloped, high-altitude zone of Lamole.

Continue reading… July 24, 2022 at 10:51AM David Williams

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