Chianti Facts and Trivia! 3 Things you may not have known!
Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker
Chianti is the most written about, talked about and consumed Italian wine in history. It is the perfect food wine and is an essential to Italian Cuisine. There is a true romance about a tart, spicy, herbaceous Chianti paired with prosciutto or pasta with red sauce.
Pronounced "Key-Arn-Tea" rather than "Che-anne-tee", An everyday quaffer exhibits red fruit characters, bitter herbs and gamey notes on the palate. In more premium Chiantis, you will taste dried oregano, sour cherry, salami, coffee and tobacco. Delish!
Here are a few things you may not know.
1) The "Fiasco" isn't just a fancy novelty. It actually serves a purpose! Did you know it was the original "stubby holder" as we would call it in Australia? As it was so hot in Tuscany and the Tuscans wanted to drink Chianti at 'room temperature', they would wet the straw baskets, cool them down in their ice chests and when it was cold, they would put the bottle of wine into it to keep it cool! Genius! Want to experience the old time 'fiasco' for yourself? Try the Sensi "Dalcampo" Chianti Fiasco DOCG.
2) It is now predominantly made with Sangiovese grapes grown almost anywhere in Tuscany even though the town is only a small region. It is blended with a native grape called Canaiolo but in the old days, it was blended with two White Wine Grapes as well; Malvasia and Trebbiano! This made the wine light, fruity and easier to drink. It was only around the 1960s that rebel winemakers started to exclude the white wine varietals from their blends. (If you want to try the old school style of Chianti, try the Sensi "Vegante" Chianti Superiore DOCG.
3) The truest examples come from Chianti Classico which can be identified by the "gallo nero" or Black Rooster on the label. How did that come about though? You have to love a good Medieval Story. When the provinces were trying to create state lines, they would have 2 horse riders start from their 'hometown' and ride until they met. The line at which they met would become the state line. When Siena and Florence were trying to work out state lines, the Fireze' people would starve the rooster that had the job of waking the horserider to ensure it got up earlier than the rooster in the Siena township. By the time the horserider in Sienna caught the horserider from Florence, it was only 4kms into the ride! Thus, Sienna today is such a tiny town compared to Florence! To commemorate and signify the Chianti Classico 'line', the black rooster is used thanks to that terrific (yet cruel) medieval story.
Best Food to pair?
Chianti is quite savoury and has high acid and coarse tannin which makes it perfect with food. The acid cuts through fatty, rich dishes and balances tomato sauce based dishes. Pizza, Pasta, Ragu, Steak...go for it all!