Up Close with Chianti
Chianti is one of the world’s best-known and well-loved typical products of Tuscany.
The Chianti region stretches between the provinces of Florence and Siena, in an area so large that, depending on the exact location of the wine’s production, they are given different names of Chianti, such as Chianti Classico (the most well-known), Chianti dei Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina and Chianti dei Colli Senesi.
The difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico is notable in terms of flavour and aroma, though it is fundamentally based on the type of grape used in the wine production, in that Chianti Classico contains no white grapes and is made up of 80% Sangiovese and 20% other local varieties of red grape, such as Canaiolo Nero or Malvasia di Candia.
The Chianti Classico vineyards are located in the province of Siena, in predominantly hilly countryside surrounded by thick woodlands of oak, chestnut, maple and cypress, stretching as far as Monte Argentario, on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Amongst the Sienese hills, the Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino vineyards are spread like artwork across the hillsides below the more mountainous landscape above; the ordered rows of vines and olive trees thriving in the rocky, mineral-rich terrain.
Chianti Classico is characterised by a clarity of colour, ruby red, which can be more or less intense depending on the origin of the grapes. It has a floral aroma, with hints of irises, violets and red fruits. The flavour is soft and velvety, making it suitable as an accompaniment to all kinds of food.
Sangiovese, the main component of Chianti Classico, is a grape that is very sensitive to external conditions and has the feature of absorbing the characteristics of the soil and changing its perfume according to the terrain in which it is grown. Unsurprisingly, the Sangiovese grape really thrives in only a small number of areas in Tuscany. Chianti Classico thus carries the floral aroma of irises and violets of the sandstone terrain of the region, which is the wine’s characteristic sensory quality, with the aroma of red fruits coming from the limestone element.
Chianti is a DOCG product (of guaranteed quality and origin) and, as such, all of the wine making and bottling processes must be carried out in the DOCG region, with absolutely no exceptions. One of the most highly valued Chianti Classico labels is that of the Agricola San Felice. The San Felice estate is located in the Castelnuovo Berardenga district, in the southern part of the Chianti Classico region. The property stretches for around 650 hectares, of which 140 are dedicated to specialised vines, and is home to around 17,000 olive trees.
The balance of microclimate and soil is perfect for promoting the growth of Sangiovese grapes of the highest quality, partly thanks to the large difference in temperature, between day and night, and to the rocky, mineral-rich terrain.
Chianti Classico, Il Grigio and Il Pugnitello are the pride of the San Felice estate, as well as being leading wines in the whole of Tuscany.
Chianti Classico San Felice is a ‘democratic’ wine, as at home on the table for everyday meals as for special occasions. Classic, amiable and obliging, round and elegant, medium-bodied, young and fruity, is a fitting way to describe the Sangiovese character. It is a wine that resembles the terrain from which it is produced, harmonious and adaptable, yet never predictable, and even capable of surprise.
Grigio is a more structured wine, part of the Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG.
It is a noble and proud wine, produced from a selection of Sangiovese grapes. Il Grigio is the most elegant of the typical Chianti Classico. It takes its name from Il Grigio, the proud and robust legendary Renaissance leader, who features on the wine label.
Il Pugnitello is the pride of the estate. Produced through the rediscovery of an ancient Tuscan vine, it takes its name from shape of the bunches of grapes that remind you of a small fist (pugnitello). It is far more than just a label: it is a red wine that is the product of an ancient, local vine and that, after a long period of experimentation and selection by San Felice, has proved itself to be of the very highest quality.
What do you think of Chanti Classico? Have you ever tasted it? Please leave a comment with your opinions or suggestions!