Chianti wines are historically associated with a shorter bottle with a round base enclosed in a straw basket called a fiasco, however the fiasco has slowly gone away and is now used only by a few wine makers in the region.
Chianti is a small region within Tuscany, but a wine calling itself “Chianti” is allowed to be made almost anywhere in Tuscany
Baron Bettino Ricasoli* who later became the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, created the Chianti recipe in the middle of the 19th century.
The recipe consisted of:
15% Malvasia Bianca
Since 1996 the blend for Chianti and Chianti Classico has been
up to 10% Canaiolo,
up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.
Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano have been prohibited in Chianti Classico.
Chianti Classico must have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% with a minimum of 7 months aging in oak, while Chianti Classico’s labeled Riserva must be aged at least 24 months at the winery, with a minimum alcohol level of at least 12.5%. For basic Chianti, the minimum alcohol level is 11.5%.
Sangiovese is Italy’s most commonly-planted red grape variety and is particularly common in central Italy. In 1990, almost 10% of all Italian vineyards were planted with some form of this grape.
The Sangiovese grape is a thin-skinned grape, so it makes very translucent wines. Sangiovese is slow and late to ripen, which gives a rich, alcoholic and long-lived wine (which means it will age well). In your glass it displays a ruby red color with flashes of bright burnt orange.
Chianti has high acidity and coarse tannins which makes it an incredible wine with almost any food dish. Chianti is one of those wines that goes well with whatever you feel like eating. It’s as much a pizza and pasta wine as a grilled cheese and fries wine. Ideal with dishes that use olive oil or highlight rich pieces of meat such as Steak, and Roasted Pork.
From simple $10 to $15 Chianti to the more substantial Chianti Classico (generally between $15 and $25), Chianti remains one of the wine world’s great values. Chianti Classico Riservas are a bit more costly, ranging from $28 to $45 per bottle.
* Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809 – 1880) politician, researcher and wine entrepreneur, was the promoter of the most famous wine in the world today: Chianti.