(Pronounced ‘Key-an-ty’) Strictly delimited area in Tuscany, in Italy, producing what is possibly the best-known of all Italian red wines. It is important, however, to realise that it is only since comparatively recent legislation and the D.O.C. that the region has been strictly delimited and that there are some good red Tuscan wines that cannot use the name because they are produced outside the Chianti area or have not chosen to join the Chianti Classico consorzio, or the other Chianti regional associations. The great producers Brolio and Antinori recently withdrew from the Chianti Classico association. Nor can the white wine of the region now be called ‘white Chianti’, the term ‘Tuscan wine’ or a regional name must be used. The grapes mainly used for Chianti are Sangiovese (which predominates), Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia. although different producers may vary the proportions.
Chianti which is meant to be drunk while it is young and fresh is, when intended for sale in Italian markets, made with the governo all’uso toscano. This gives it a slight ‘prickle’ on the tongue, almost as if it were a petiUant wine. Some people like this, others do not – but it is wrong to reject an ‘Italian style’ Chianti because it is ‘working’, as some Anglo-Saxon drinkers do. Chianti of the finer qualities, that is intended to gain from slow maturation in bottle, is never subjected to the governo. A Riserva is matured in wood for 3 or more years. The wicker-covered globular Chianti flask is likewise only used for wines meant to be drunk while they are young; the finer wines are laid down in bottles which are like the square-shouldered Bordeaux bottle in shape, although in fact they have a very slightly shorter neck. Chianti of this quality can have a long life and develop great charm and subtlety.
Chianti classico :
Wine from an area defined within the Chianti region bearing a label showing a black cock on a gold ground. Other areas bear the names of the regions within the Chianti district, each one bearing a special label. The other regions, in addition to the Classico area, are: Putto, Montalbano, Rufina, Colli Senesi (Sienese Hills), Colli Aretini (Arezzo Hills), Colli Fiorentini (Florentine Hills), and Colline Pisane (the smaller-scale hills around Pisa. It should be stressed that the wines, although individual, should be appraised according to the personal taste of the drinker. By the term ‘Chiati Classico’ no degree of superior quality is intended. In one recent judging, a Chianti from outside the Classico region was put first.
Chianti Rufina has confused some drinkers, but this region is nothing to do with the great establishment of Ruffino; its label carries a device of cherubs. Possibly the most famous of quality Chiantis is that of Brolio, and the estate of the Barone Ricasoli. whose family have been influential in the Italian wine world for many generations, is impressive. The Ricasoli family own other estates as well. Some other famous producers are Melini, Antinori and Frescobaldi, who make the Nipozzano wine. It is always important to be precise about the house that produces a Chianti. as each has its own style and will, therefore, vary.