Chianti Classico ’05

Chianti. Cheap and cheerful, comes in a wicker covered bottle, which, when empty, make handy candle holders. Well, that might be the old image of Chianti, and you can probably still buy that type of wine, but last weekend we had a tasting of Chianti Classico at the shop to dispel those hoary old myths and a bit of food and wine pairing with Italian salami and mature English cheddar. Chianti is the name of the region in Italy where the wine is from, not the name of the grape. The Italians like to confuse us as much as the French when it comes to naming their wines. There are two types of Chianti, Chianti and Chianti Classico (click here for more info). Chianti Classico is the oldest region, located in the heart of Tuscany. Chianti is made up of primarily the varietal sangiovese with the local varieties canaiolo and colorino also used in the blend. Up to 20% can be added in Chianti Classico and 25% in Chianti. There are all sorts of rules and regulations governing the production and making of Chianti (click here if you’re really interested) but I’m going to focus on the three we had on Saturday. First up was a Chianti, for a bit of compare and contrast, the ’06 Veduta, a blend of sangiovese and canaiolo, spending 3 months in large oak barrels, produced by the Casa Girelli, one of Italy’s largest privately owned wineries who produce 95% of their wine for the overseas market. This was an easy, approachable red, a simple, uncomplicated, red fruit nose followed by bright cherry and lively tannins on the palate. It had a short, slightly green finish. A good guzzler to go with a cheesy Saturday nite pizza. Then we moved onto the Classicos. What a world of difference. Everyone who tried the Veduta liked it until they tried the Classico. Piave di Spaltenna ’05 was the first classico. The vineyards are situated in the heart of the oldest district...

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