Chianti is very well known on the streets of the wine world. This wine, named after the region it hails from, is famous for its dynamic food pairings and notorious round bottle wrapped in a hay-like straw basket. These reds are no new kid on the block having been around forever, and by the looks of things, Chianti is not going anywhere.
Chianti as a wine can be broken down into two categories.
The most important sub-region of Chianti is known as Chianti Classico, taking up a big-ass chunk of the Chianti region. To be labeled as a Classico there are a few rules you must live by: First, at least 80% of the wine needs to be Sangiovese. Other blending grapes that can be used are Canaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Second, to be marked as a Classico the wine needs to be at least 12% alcohol and has to be aged 10 months! Chianti Classicos are always marked with a sticker that has a black rooster inside a red outer circle.
The name Chianti can be given to any wine that is from the non-Chianti Classico region. The wine laws are a tad more liberal in the other six Chianti regions. The juice has to be aged for at least six months and tend to be chuggable, cherry-laced, tart, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. These are everyday dance party kind of wines that are perfect for sprawling out on the couch and enjoying every drop.
Take one quick minute and think what Mario Batali would taste like if he was a wine. Bold-body but low tannin, big juicy bing cherries, ripe, red, freshly picked apples and cranberry. Laced with bay leaves and aromas of your grandmother’s cinnamony spice drawer.
Everyone knows the only thing that pairs better with Mario Batali than orange crocks is pasta. Chianti and pasta are a match made in the highest of the heavens. The best pairing for Chianti is anything that is slathered in freshly seasoned red sauce, loaded with salty cheese or any other pizza, pasta or Italian dish your mind can conjure up. These dishes would be an awe inspiring fit for a medium bodied, nicely acidic, perfectly earthy yet with a bright fruit component, Chianti.
If you are a college student working as a waitress in a small town somewhere who likes a non-boxed wine, a mom who has 12 screaming kids or a fancy-ass lawyer, Chianti is for you. It gives all the love of a good classy food pairing wine but also is extraordinary after a long workday sitting on your couch watching Conan. Anytime of the year, Chianti is drunkenly yours!