Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wine Tour of Chianti

Certainly popular – a tour of a few vineyards of Chianti is on most to-do lists while in Tuscany. This region consists of over 180 wineries just in the Chianti Classico region – Chianti (these days) is made up of at least 80% Sangiovese grapes which must be grown in this region in order to print the name on the label. These wines are heavily controlled by the DOC and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata and Garantita) – which tightly regulate the quality of wines that are produced here. The official seal at the cork signifies that the wine has passed inspection. Since the recent regulations, these wines have continued to earn world class status – no longer just for spaghetti night and a pretty candle holder! The recent releases of IGT’s or Super Tuscans (a nick name that stuck given by one journalist) has allowed for the creativity of the wine maker to blend other grapes such as cabernet and merlot and without the restrictions producing some very fine wines which are also recognized world-wide. The competition between all these winemakers is fierce and fun as most everyone knows of each family and their secrets!

We all stopped for lunch in the charming town of Radda in Chianti in the heart of the Chianti Classico Region denoted by the Black Rooster. Here we sampled typical Tuscan cuisine such as crostini, various cured meats, pecorino cheeses served with marmalade, rich tomato and bread soups, risotto salad, and pasta. With meals such as these, it is no wonder the afternoon siestas are an important part of the day!

Chianti continues to allure pleasure seekers, wine enthusiasts, cyclists and general back country travelers with its stunning views along winding roads over looking fields peppered with wineries and traditions which date back centuries - A Benedictine monk once wrote over 1000 years ago that the red wine of Badia a Coltibuono in Gaiole in Chianti (the Abbey of Good Culture) is of high quality and the white is quite good too!

1 comment:

Connie said...

Oh, how I wish I were there, eating, drinking, and celebrating the local bounty, but your descriptions and pictures are the next best thing. Grazie mille, Gina!