The root of this week’s featured wine style: Chianti Classico is the term Chianti
itself. Some evidence suggests it derives from ‘clante’: the name of a person of
Etruscan origin; some believe it’s loosely associated to ‘clango’, a verb in Latin
that reproduces the sound of hunting horns and their announcement of hunting
season in the Tuscany territory. Moreover, the qualifying ‘Classico’ demarks the
territorial boundary beginning at the outskirts of Siena and reaching almost to
Florence. Wines from this official DOCG are often designated with a little Black
Rooster on the neck of the bottle: a distinctive emblem that signals membership
in the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico – the local consortium that’s charged with
setting standards for the composition and best practices of the region’s output.
A so-called Vino Nobile (king of wines), Chianti is primarily made with Sangiovese,
though this bottling’s blend includes a 5% splash of Merlot, which hints at some
of the changes that have gradually taken hold both in the vineyard and wineries
of Tuscany. Notably, this includes the judicious adoption of a few French grapes
as replacement of less-interesting indigenous varieties and an embrace of more
stringent pruning and post-harvest selection practices. However, indisputably,
Sangiovese does remain the most widely planted, red-berried vine in all of Italy.
High in acid content and showing firm tannins, this slow ripening variety benefits
from a long growing season and relatively, delayed harvest. After fermentation,
in the hands of many producers, maturation takes place partly in oak casks and
partly in Tonneaux: a 900 litre, wood barrel popular in the Middle Ages that was
eventually made into the smaller ¼ size version that is today’s standard.
The Rocca Delle Macie winery was founded by the late Italo Zingarelli, who was
for a time, a successful film producer best known for his very popular spaghetti
westerns in the early 1970’s. Having developed and then passing on the estate
to his son Sergio and daughter in-law Daniela, he leaves behind what is perhaps
an even-more enduring legacy. Hard fought for and won, the painstaking work of
renovation and replanting on the14th-century farmstead nearby to the village of
Castellina, has evolved into the property and winery becoming one of Tuscany’s
most reliable producers of higher quality Chianti.
As with many wines, context is all-important toward fully appreciating what each
has to offer, uniquely. Chianti is decidedly a food wine and will be less satisfying
as an apéritif. So cook up a big meal, open the bottle in advance and as you’re
enjoying all, imagine: oak, pine and chestnut forests, olive groves, vineyards lined
with rows of cypresses and the distinctive Terra Cotta roofs of the farmhouses
punctuating steep hills in this charming landscape, producing charming wines.
ROCCA DELLE MACIE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #741769 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
Sale-priced until Mar. 1, 2015
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Tuscany, Italy
By: Rocca Delle Macie S.P.A.
Release Date: Feb. 21, 2015
This a savory, lively wine with flavours of dark cherries and stone fruit accented
with some typical notes of dried herbs. Try serving with heartier food fare such
as roast veal, pork, mushroom or squash risotto and pasta Bolognese.