The first thing you notice is that this Chianti Classico verses just Chianti. So what is the difference? The explanation is long and detailed, but the Reader’s Digest version is that Chianti and Chianti Classico are separate appellations. Chianti Classico has to be made with 80% Sangiovese grapes and a maximum of 20% of other red grapes such as Colorino, Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. White grapes were banned in 2006. For Chianti only 70% needs to be Sangiovese and the balance can be Colorino, Canaiolo, Cilegiolo, Mammolo and other international varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The DOCG designation is for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita which began in 1984 and represents the higher quality of wines in Italy. In 1996, Chianti Classico departed ways with Chianti DOCG and formed it’s on DOCG. Also, Riserva must age 24 months. Chianti Classico are distinct with strong acidity and predominant flavors of violet and cherry are present.
Pulled this wine tonight from the cellar. The wine on the eyes was bright and brilliant red in clarity. Dark cherries plums were key on the nose. On the palate, two very different experiences. First by itself, an almost bitter cherry emerges (the vintner also calls it with “menthol”), but with the meal, the wine has a wonderful and soft cherry with a beautiful finish in the mouth.
This wine was paired with a pasta called Bucatini (buco in Italian, meaning “hole”), with tomato, garlic and mushroom based sauce. Ground pork & beef were also added. One of the more dramatic taste changes a food and wine pairing can produce verses just tasting the wine!