Chianti Classico is one of the greatest wines in the world, and it bears the name of the land from which it arises, in compliance with strict standards that protect and guarantee the quality.
It is produced in 70,000 hectares of land between the cities of Siena and Florence, in an area that embraces 8 municipalities: Greve in Chianti, Barberino Val d’Elsa, San Casciano Val di Pesa San Casciano in Val di Pesa in the province of Florence; Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole, Radda, Castelnuovo Berardenga and the municipality of Poggibonsi in the province of Siena.
The production of Chianti Classico is regulated by the last production regulations (18 September 1996) with the publication in the Official Journal of the ministerial decree on the recognition of the Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed – D.O.C.G.
The Chianti Classico DOCG wine is bright ruby color, with garnet and deeply vinous. The taste is dry, fruity tending over time to the soft velvet. The maximum quantity of sugar should be 4 grams per liter of reducing sugars, the minimum total dry extract 2.3% and the minimum total acidity 5%. Chianti Classico must be aged for at least 11 months (may be admitted for consumption only on 1 October of the year following the harvest) and have a minimum alcohol content of 12°.
The salt content to 12.5° for the Reserve, which requires a minimum aging of 24 months, of which at least 3 of aging in bottle. Compared to Chianti Classico, Riserva is a noble wine, has a greater subtlety, prolonged odor and cleaner taste. About the choices grapes that compose it and the aging. It depends on both the vintage and the harvest and the cultivation of the vine. Only 20% of Chianti Classico Riserva becomes: to him will be allocated the best grapes. Deep red garnet, has fragrance of spices and berries, important and velvety texture. The best grapes are destined for the reserve from the beginning and are aged in oak small oak that release their aromas to the wine. Therein for a period which varies depending on the size of the barrel, before proceeding to the aging in the bottle The reserve is a perfect match with roasted red meats, game and great cheeses: traditional foods gastronomy of this territory since ancient times.
Chianti Classico is the undisputed champion of superior quality Sangiovese, present in percentages that can go from 80 to 100%. other red grapes are allowed for a total amount of up to a maximum of 20%, Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Are also admitted two white grapes such as Malvasia and Trebbiano, who alone or together can reach a maximum total of 6% (only up to the 2005 harvest).
Cultivation and vinification
In order to maintain the typical characteristics, the specification of 1996 regulates not only the production of Chianti Classico but also the cultivation of the vines: each hectare of land can produce up to 75 quintals of grapes equivalent to about 52.5 hectoliters of wine; each plant can produce up to 3 kg of grapes and planting new vineyards must pass five years from the last harvest.
The vineyards must be on land places at altitudes not exceeding 700 meters s.l.m. The traditional form of farming is represented by the collector Tuscan, derived from the Guyot technique. In recent years it has spread the “cordon”, the form that lends itself to mechanization without sacrificing quality. Between May and June the vines bloom in mid-June and the flower becomes fruit, a process that goes by the name of “allegation”.
The grapes gradually begin to change color betwee July and August beginning the phase of maturation, which will bring the necessary substances to grapes for wine production and will reduce the acidity content. In September, due to fluctuating temperature changes, the process ends making it possible to harvest in October.
Once in the winery, the grapes are crushed and de-stemmed to obtain the must. It will rest in barrels where the alcoholic fermentation takes place for about 2 weeks: the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast pushes upwards the skins which form forming the so-called “hat”.
Scrambling the oft hat he is released from the skins the polyphenols that give color and resistance to wine, in addition to the aroma. The “racking” then separating the skins from the wine, which undergoes “malolactic” fermentation. This is followed by decanting, the last of which coincides with the flowering of the vines. At this point the reserve will be directed to the maturation in oak barrels, while the Chianti intended to stop sales in barrels for a few more months.
How to drink Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico Medium Low body tannin suited to accompany grilled red meats. The more elaborate dishes, however, such as venison, require more structured Reserve.
Chianti is oxygenated before tasting: the bottle should be opened some hours before, otherwise it shall be decanted and should be served at a temperature of 16/18 degrees and to enhance it you need a tulip glass.