With this installment of Best Wine Under $20, we are reviewing a Chianti Classico DOCG, from Banfi, in Tuscany, Italy. Our focus is to share some of the history behind the Chianti region, how Chianti Classico differs from regular Chianti, Italian laws and classification systems around this wine, and everything else you need to know about this wonderful wine region!
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The Chianti region is located in central Italy. It grew very quickly in popularity in the 1970s, and because of it’s rapid growth, quality suffered. Italy has worked to reverse this reputation in this region with stringent regulations for their wines.
Chianti DOCG is the main appellation, and it varies from the Chianti Classico DOCG, which is in the heart of the broader Chianti region. DOCG being the highest classification of wine in both regions. Chianti Classico requires their wines to have 80% Sangiovese, where normal DOCG only requires 70%. Chianti Classico also cannot contain any white grape varietals, where DOCG can have a maximum 10%.
The emblem of Chianti Classico is a black rooster, or gallo nero. It’s related to a legend of border disputes between Florence, who had the black cockerel as their symbol, and Sienna, who had a white cockerel as their symbol. It’s clear who won that dispute.
Chianti Classico DOCG are usually refreshing and acidic, since the region is slightly higher elevation from Chianti DOCG. Based on the quality tier of wine from this region, it can be aged anywhere from 12 to 30 months before release.
About Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG:
Fermentation takes place with a traditional skin contact of 8-10 days. A short wood aging in large casks of French oak follows. Bottling is carried out in the summer following the harvest.
Bouquet: Intense with notes of cherries, plums, and violets.
Taste: Rich flavors of cherry and leather. Supple tannins and good acidity.
Perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of foods, including red-sauced pastas, grilled meats and roasts.