Tag Archives: Chianti

2000 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva

One of the things about wine that isn’t explained enough is that until you have a good wine, you don’t know what the wine is generally supposed to taste like. To extend the metaphor a bit, if one has only eaten industry Cheddar cheese, one doesn’t really know what true cheddar is all about. Never has this idea been better illustrated to me than when I’ve started tasting Chiantis.

The basic problem I have with Chiantis (and a fair majority of red wines) is that they contain tannins, a substance in which I seem to have a particularly sensitivity toward (probably from being a bit of a tea snob). Unless the tannins are held in check, or developed properly, most reds end up tasting simply bitter to me.

Chiantis were/are especially guilty of this. Back in college, when money was most certainly an issue when purchasing wines, I thought I’d be cool and buy one of those wines that comes in those famous chianti bottles. Unfortunately, these wines were so bitter to me that I quickly swore off reds.

Flash Forward a decade or two – I have a good Chianti at the prodding of a friend. I drink it, and have an epiphany: Wine as spice! This Chianti I was drinking was thick with tannins, but they were there for a purpose. Flavorful and spicy, this wine begged to be enjoyed with a pasta with tomato sauce.

Which brings me to this wonderful piece of work: a 2000 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva.

Eyes: Deep Violet within the glass, a dark ruby upon the rim. It quickly slips off the side of the glass when twirled.

Nose: It has the aroma of black cherry Kool-aid with a bit of a kick. It has a bit of an oaky smell to it which is not unpleasant.

Taste:Peppery is the strongest taste there, with a bit of cherry beneath it all. It holds the tongue quite well and finishes smoothly many seconds after you’ve swallowed.

Overall: From here on out, this is my baseline Chianti. Anything below this is simply not worth my time (as I am not a huge fan of reds). Are there better Chianti’s than this? Most Likely. Are they worse? Absolutely. On my scale of 1-3, I’d give this a three (Would buy again).

Chianti – The Tuscan Wine

When you talk about wines in the Tuscan region, one varietal dominates: Chianti.

For me, everytime I hear “Chianti”, I think of Hannibal Lector and his penchant for red wine with beans. Those of us who may be a bit older, may think of Chianti as the wine that is bottled with wicker adorning the bottom of the bottle. It’s due to this image that some folks think that Chianti is on the lower end of wines.

But Chianti is far more complicated and esteemed than that. It has a history that goes back to before 1000 AD. The territoy of Chianti starts just south of Florence
and ends just north of Siena. This is the Chianti Region, and many wines come out of here claiming (rightfully or wrongly) as Chiantis. But as with most wines, it’s not that simple.

To be qualified as a true Chianti, a wine has to be more than made from the grapes within the Chianti region. The wine has to be comprised from at least 80% of the Sangiovese grape, and the rest of the composition has to meet with the production standards set by the Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico. Once these standards are met, the wine can be called Chianti Classico, and wear the seal of the Consortium (pictured above). If you don’t see that seal, you’re probably taking a leap of faith.

Chianti, as with most Italian wines, is best when paired with food. That’s its raison d’etre (or should I say “motivo essere”). Below are some some basic tips when dealing with this most Tuscan of Tuscan wines.

Colour: bright, ruby red.
Bouquet: good grapey with a perfume of violets.
Flavour: dry, smooth and velvety.
Temperature: serve at 64°F.
Suitable with: almost all foods and meats.

Chianti Riserva(Riserva indicates a wine which has been aged in the barrel at least three years.)
Colour: deep red.
Bouquet: full bodied and subtle, with a hintof violets.
Temperature: serve at 68-72°F. The bottle should be opened an hour before serving.
Suitable with: roast meats, duck game and hard, mature cheeses.