Chianti Alert

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

ROCCA DELLE MACIE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #741769 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
Sale-priced until Mar. 1, 2015
Reg. $18.95
13% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Tuscany, Italy
By: Rocca Delle Macie S.P.A.
Release Date: Feb. 21, 2015

Tasting Note
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.

Chianti Classico Alert

Already 1,000 years old in its somewhat current form, this only references the
farm’s contemporary roots, a relative quantifier of fact and point of reference.
Earliest evidence of farming activity here, actually dates back much further to an
Etruscan period, preceding the very earliest, subsequent days of the Roman
age and culture. In turn, this eventually leads up to the tagging of its existence in
940AD in a registry managed under the domain of local, Medieval ruler: Otto IV.

Castagnoli is among the most celebrated estates within the larger Tuscan area,
having enjoyed the attentive development of vineyard and olive groves by noble
families such as Orlandi, Piccolomini and Tempi. Finally, toward the end of the
nineteenth century, the Ricasoli were the guiding hands before it passed into
becoming part of a 5 company consortium: Alimenta SPA, guided by Calogero
Cali. That’s quite a story – built over several millennia of compounding efforts.

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 term does demark a territorial
boundary from the outskirts of Siena, reaching almost as far as Florence.

Chianti is Vino Nobile – the king of wines, made with Sangiovese. 100 hectares
of vineyard are devoted to this variety at Rocca di Castagnoli. In this bottling’s
blend are also 5% splashes of other indigenous grapes: Colorino and Canaiolo.
Sangiovese is 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, maturation
takes place partly in oak casks and partly in Tonneaux. The latter is a 900 litre,
wood container popular in the Middle Ages, eventually made into the smaller,
¼ size version that is today’s barrel standard.

With winter being hinted at, coming around the next corner, having satisfaction
of this medium-bodied wine will also arrive. You have to get some though, for this
prophecy to be fulfilled. It won’t be on Vintage’s shelves for long.

Rocca Di Castagnoli

ROCCA DI CASTAGNOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011`
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #222810 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 17.00
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Tuscany, Italy
By: Alimenta, Spa
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2014

Tasting Note
This is a savory wine with flavours of dark cherries and stone fruit flecked with
notes of dried herbs. Try with roast veal, pork and mushroom or squash risotto.