I was absolutely delighted to be invited to the Consorzio Chianti Seminar and Grand Tasting Event held at The Standard Highline in NYC on April 28th. Hosted by Giovanni Busi and the Consorzio Vino Chianti, it was a truly amazing, all day tasting event. The Consorzio Vino Chianti has guaranteed Chianti quality since 1927. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, ensuing that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena.
The highly informative seminar discussion and tasting panel was led by Joe Campanale [Beverage Director and Co-Owner of Epicurean Management’s L’Artusi, dell’anima, Anfora, and L’Apicio], Anthony Giglio [Journalist/Author Food & Wine Magazine Wine Guide] and Costas Mouzouras [Wine Director, Gotham Wines]. The panel employed a unique format of presenting detailed information on each of the six wines, from varietal percentage to winemaking processes to ageing specifics, only leaving out the name of the producer. The wines were all 2010 Riserva, and the majority still in need of a US importer.
• Value. Value Value. It’s all about the $10 wine, and there is phenomenal value in Chianti [as opposed to mass produced, commercial California wines at the same price point].
• There is a Chianti for every palate. The Chianti DOCG covers such a large area that there is a diverse range in styles, from light and traditional, to plush, concentrated expressions crafted with international grapes.
• 60 degrees is the perfect temperature, in order to truly appreciate the bright, refreshing qualities of Chianti, it needs to have a slight chill on it, much in the same manner as Beaujolais.
• Chianti is meant to be enjoyed with food, and is incredibly versatile, from vegetable dishes, all types of cheese, pastas, pizza and even steaks. With its good structure and bright acidity it lets even the heartiest of meat dishes shine, rather then competing with them.
Wines: [From left to right]
1. Sorelli Chianti Riserva 2010
Trebbiano was used to soften up the final blend, and is rarely seen today in high quality wines, making this a rather distinctive, traditional Chianti. An “archetypical” riserva, with aromas of tomato leaf, cherry and woodsy resin. Cherry, floral and wild herb hints, along with a bright acidity lead to dry tannins and a lingering earth and black pepper notes.
80% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 10% Trebbiano
2. Tenuta di Morzano ‘Il Quarto’ Chianti Riserva 2010
The new style of Chianti crafted with the addition of “International” grapes. Velvety and soft with sweet cherry, plum and floral elements, whilst pleasantly contrasting white peppercorn, earth and traces of sweet caramel comprise the lengthy finish.
80% Sangiovese, 15%Merlot, 5% Syrah
3. Bellini Podere ‘Il Pozza Riserva’ Chianti Rufina 2010
Bright and herbaceous with aromas of cherry and eucalyptus. Black cherry, tart red currant and a vivid acidity, finishing with hints of peppery spice and vanilla.
90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino
4. Castello di Oliveto Chianti Riserva 2010
Merlot contributes a velvety softness to an otherwise classic blend. Radiant aromas of tomato leaf and wildflowers, with cherry, olive and forest elements supported by a fresh acidity and smooth, dry tannins. Wonderfully easy drinking.
90% Sangiovese, 5% Coloring, 5% Merlot
5. Tenuta Cantagallo Montalbano Chianti Riserva 2010
Straightforward and easy going with bright cherry, earth and hints of oak merging into a clean dry finish.
6. Castelvecchio Vigna La Quercia Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva 2010
My favourite of the six wines, and the “best in show” according to the general consensus of my fellow writers at the seminar. Highly aromatic with dark fruit, cigar box spice, licorice and floral aromas. Cherry, blackberry and fresh herbaceous notes were supported by dry tannins, whilst tobacco, white peppercorn and hints of oak comprised the clean finish. Well balanced, elegant and easy drinking, it doesn’t show the higher alcohol content.
90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Rated 89 points by Wine Spectator
Media event sponsored by Consorzio Vino Chianti