Is Chianti Italy’s Most Famous Wine?

Chianti is an Italian export as famous as pasta and espresso. It is a wine even most non-wine drinkers have heard of. I mean, who doesn’t like their Italian meal washed down with a delicious Chianti?

Chianti DOCG is a large area that covers much of central Tuscany. It surrounds the smaller Chianti Classico – the heart of the Chianti wine region and the traditional and longest-established viticultural area. It is home to probably the best-known of all Italian wine districts, closely associated with red wines based on Sangiovese. Chianti Classico is the hilly area, with the best wines typically coming from 200–500m above sea level. The elevation contributes to cool nights, lengthening the growing season and promoting full ripeness and high acidity. The wines must have a minimum of 80% Sangiovese, though in practice most wines are around 90% or more Sangiovese with a wide choice of supplementary varieties, both local and international. The Chianti Classico hierarchy has three tiers: Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione. Any Chianti to be released as Riserva must be aged for two years before release, and Gran Selezione – must be made from a single estate and have been aged for a full 30 months.

There is a range of styles of Chianti Classico, but generally speaking, the typical Chianti Classico has bright ruby color and aromas of cherries and violets, perhaps a hint of earthy spice, supported by racy acidity and well-structured tannins. The recent trend has been towards a more “traditional” style: paler color, sour cherry fruit, restrained new oak.

This Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 is a richly textured expression, intense ruby color with slightly garnet reflections. Beautiful nose of raspberry, ripe cherry, blackberry with a hint of floral notes. Warm and generous palate with more thyme, Asian spice, cedar. Excellent structure and balance.

What would you pair it with?