Friday, September 2nd marks National Chianti Day. I think we can all embrace a pseudo-holiday that involves wine! This wine-oliday was inaugurated in 2020 by Santa Margherita, in order to highlight and showcase the Tuscan’s star wine, Chianti.
Chianti is a wine region located in Toscana (Tuscany), Italy, and known for producing red wine based on the Sangiovese grape. Sangiovese became the famed grape in the region back in the mid-1800s. Prior to that time, red wines in the region were often Canaiolo Nero and Colorino. We have Baron Ricasoli to thank for the Sangiovese.
The amount of Sangiovese in a wine labelled as Chianti varies based on classification, but, in general, ranges from a minimum of 70 percent up to 100 percent. For classifications, there is Chianti Classico Annata, Chianti Classico Riserva, and Chianti Gran Selezione. The higher the level, the increased alcohol level requirement to balance the longer barrel aging time and other requirements.
The iconic straw covered round bottom shaped bottle, called a fiasco, was adopted for stability when standing upright, to protect the bottles during shipping, and perhaps for a bit of kitsch. I, personally, have memories of these straw covered bottles on the center of Italian restaurant tables, with a candle in it that had dripped down the neck and even onto the straw. Anyone, else?
Wine has been produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany for many, many centuries. The first recorded use of the name related to wine dates to the 13th century, but it was only a white wine in those days. The switch to the red grapes seems to have come in the 15th to 18th century timeframe. Chianti was one of the first designated wine zones in the world covered by the 1716 edict issued by Grand Duke Cosimo III de Medici.
In 1924, the Chianti Classico region selected a black rooster as a symbol of authenticity. The rooster ties back to the story of a land dispute in the 13th century. The city-states of Florence and Siena couldn’t agree on the division or boundary between. They decided to have a race where a horse would start out from each city at the sound of the first rooster’s call and where they met would be the boundary. The people from Florence chose a specific black rooster and deprived him of food for a few days before the race, ensuring that he would call out way before dawn giving them a head start in the race. The plan worked and the riders met only 20kms from the city walls around Siena much to the advantage of the denizens of Florence.
City Vino invites you to join us Friday, August 26th, and Saturday, August 27th, to taste a Chianti Classico and a few other Italian wines. We will be featuring the 2018 Casa Vinicola Triacca La Madonnina Bello Stento Chianti Classico which is a blend of 85 percent Sangiovese, 7 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 percent Colorino, and 3 percent Merlot. Its compatriots on our tasting table will be the 2019 Impero Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano, 2014 Poggio Nardone Rosso di Montalcino, and the 2021 Fracchia Voulet Malvasia D'Asti.
Let your black rooster sleep in after a big prior night’s dinner and join us!