Or at least that is the message the producers wanted to send on this Saint Valentine’s Day, when surely an extra bottle or two was uncorked to celebrate! Because this week of Anteprime Toscane – the new wine releases in Tuscany – coincided with that most romantic of holidays, and everything was red passion.
Held at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Sunday, February 12 was dedicated to Chianti DOCG (not Chianti Classico, that was Monday!) and was superbly organized.
Can you name the 7 areas that make up Chianti DOCG? (Answers below!) Here’s the map; only problem is, the colors used to distinguish these different zones would make better lipsticks… while beautiful, it’s kind of hard to decipher!
Chianti can be confusing, let’s face it. Chianti and Chianti Classico are both DOCGs and governed by different regulations. There is also Chianti Superiore – a distinction which can only apply to Chianti DOCG wines and not the Classico variety, and there is Chianti Classico Gran Selezione which is a distinction only for the Classico variety. Both Chianti and Chianti Classico can boast the ‘Riserva’ variation, which means the wine has aged longer.
The Consorzio of the Chianti DOCG producers did a fine job of communicating, however, with their maps, their brochures, and the splendid welcome for press as well as the general public of wine-lovers who entered after 4 p.m.
The Anteprima tastings were often purple and raw, but somehow intriguing in their promise. Marked with the big red label with the C (a happy face if you turn it on its side), the 2016 vintage is promising. Easier to judge were the new bottled releases.
I started out my day with the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, one of the oldest producers of Chianti (they’ve been at it since the 1300s!)
Who doesn’t know Nipozzano Chianti Rùfina? What can we say? When they’re rubies, they’re rubies. Throw a little Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malvasia Nera into the mix – and don’t forget the Colorino! – and this may be a Super Tuscan in disguise… Two years in barriques puts the finishing touch on.
I am also fascinated by wineries that are known for another wine, like the Tenuta di Artimino, best known for its Carmignano – another Tuscan DOCG – but here sporting its Chianti. Did you know that when the Granduke Cosimo de’ Medici designated the area for Chianti Classico some 300 years ago, he also designated the areas for the Carmignano, Pomino and Valdarno di Sopra wine regions? There are only 12 producers of Carmignano, which if you haven’t sipped lately, you should hastily go find a bottle. Artimino was also a Medici hunting lodge.
The Chianti Lovers theme was played to the hilt, but it worked!
Somehow I managed to walk to Santa Maria Novella and take in the fabulous Leon Battista Alberti architecture. Love that Renaissance! And that’s all folks! Until tomorrow….
Answers: Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli, Rùfina