You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

The second grueling day of Wine&Siena found yours truly participating in a tasting – here called Wine Master Classes – of 8 Chianti Classicos, starting bright and early at 11 a.m. in the stunning Palazzo Sansedoni located right on Piazza del Campo.


Is every room in Tuscany A Room With a View? (Is it time to watch that film again?)

No, I am not making this up! This WAS the view from the tasting room!

And if you weren’t seated near the window (as I was), you had only to look up:


The Master Class tasting was led by Sergio Zingarelli, owner of Rocca delle Macìe as well as the President of the Consortium of Chianti Classico.

Sergio Zingarelli explaining his Chianti together with enologist Luca Francioni

I hear you: how redundant is that? A Master Class on Chianti in Siena? But what I want to know is: just how much do you know about Chianti Classico? Can you name the three types? (Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, and Gran Selezione which was created in 2013!) And did you know that it can be made with grapes other than the famous Sangiovese (including international varieties), as long as they are red? Do you know the grape Colorino? No? Well then you could have brushed up at this seminar and tasting. No better time to taste than the morning – your buds are all rested and refreshed! Here I am, hard at work to perceive aromas and flavors in the Rocca delle Macìe Gran Selezione Riserva di Fizzano 2005.

We tried the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages as well, before passing on to the Gran Selezione Sergio Zingarelli 2010, 2011 and 2012. Have to say, I loved that 2011 and understand why Wine Advocate gave it top scores!

Zingarelli is hard at work to show that makers of Chianti Classico are not leaving the most exalted expression of the Sangiovese grape to their Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano cousins. They’ve taken this extraordinary terroir and grape and made something new. Call it brand renewal, Chianti Classico is complex and surprising, not to mention deeply satisfying!

As anybody who’s been following the dramatic ascent of Chianti Classico over the years knows, there’s no straw-covered fiascos for these vintages! I pine for my Florentine days when I regularly drank Chianti Classico (we won’t name names) that I can barely afford now that I’m a grown-up! Some of the better Gran Selezione bottles are going for 50 euros in the wine stores! Move over, Brunello!

Recognized the world over, symbol of great wine!

Perhaps the most widely-recognized symbol of Italian wine, known internationally, Chianti Classico is an important voice, the voice of Tuscany, the voice of Siena. What can we say? You’ve come a long way, baby!

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