The image many Americans had of insipid Chianti in a straw covered bottle full of low grade juice took a long time to recover from.
For too long a period, most of the Chianti in the United States was cheap and barely drinkable.
The past decade or so, changes in wine making technique and stricter control of what is classified as Chianti have dramatically improved the wines of this important region.
Chianti, especially the higher quality designations known as Classico or Superiore, is something every wine lover should revisit.
Chianti is in the heart of Tuscany and its wine sub-zones were created way back in 1716. The primary grape of the region is Sangiovese and to be called a Chianti, a wine must contain at least 80% of it.
The wines of Chianti are aged for different periods before release. Six months for simpler wines, a year for Classico and Superiore, 2 years for Riserva and 2 1/2 for a relatively new designation known as Gran Selezione.
Focus on Classico, as quality is high and the wines are readily available. There are a wide range of prices but excellent wines can be had in the neighborhood of $25.- Many of these wines are age worthy and its an inexpensive way to build a little collection on the cheap.
The time is now. The vintages of 2015 & 2016 are outstanding and provide a wonderful time to explore these important, tasty wines.
Factoid – The Black Rooster that appears on many Chianti Classico bottles is a symbol of the peace between Florence and Siena, who had been bitter rivals for centuries.