Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to enjoy Chianti Classico Wine

There are eight geographical sub-zones for Chianti wines, and each produces a slightly different wine. My tours are mainly in the Chianti Classico area for two reasons. The first is that in my opinion it's the region which guarantees the highest standards of quality for Chianti wines. The second, the scenery is just so breathtaking. So maybe a word on how to enjoy Chianti Classico wine would be in worth talking about.
A cellar on my Wine Lover's Special Tour
First things first. To enjoy to Chianti wine to the full, it must be paired with food. In Italian food culture, and particularly in Tuscany, wine has always been intended to accompany food, and not as as a stand alone drink. There are exceptions to this rule, but for Chianti it's not in question.

If you're used to new world wines that are big and easy to drink, your first sip of Chianti you could be disappointing. You may find it dry and sour, and frankly, drinking Chianti on it's own is an acquired taste. But add food; anything with a salt and fat content and your perception will change drastically. In scientific terms, this is due to the chemical combinations that occur between the wine and food when in the mouth. In more pleasurable terms, Chianti doesn't cover the flavour of food, but rather blends with it, and in the process becomes velvety smooth. So pair Chianti with savoury red sauce dishes (the sauce should be made with olive oil or butter), red meats, cheeses and cold cuts. You can also serve it as an aperitif, just add appetizers. Never serve Chianti with sweets, it's awful. Sauces like ketchup (sweet & sour) are not good either. Open the bottle at least four hours before serving and above all, ensure it's at room temperature (65 F). By the way, a pairing I discovered by accident is young Chianti not barrel aged, with curry...it's fantastic

Winery courtyard on my Wine lover's Special Tour
Chianti Classico general tasting notes:
Colour: ruby red tending to purple brown with maturation.

Nose: vinous, with a scent of violets, dried plum and cherries. When aged in barrels, pepper, tobacco and chocolate.

In the mouth: warm, medium bodied, quite fresh & tannic, with predominant plum flavors.

Best between: four and nine years.

Serving: always at room temperature 65°F.

Pairing: Savoury dishes, meats, cheeses and cold cuts.

You might like to look over my Wine Lovers' Special Chianti Scenic Tour, maybe come for a visit and put my opinions to the test.



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