A Taste of Tuscan Wines at ‘Chianti Lovers’

At the weekend, both the general public and enologists can be the first to sample some of the most recent regional vintages at Previews (Anteprime) held in Florence and throughout Tuscany.

For aficionados and those simply curious, the February anteprime present an opportunity to participate and share in the passion of each wine estate’s desire to create a unique connection with other enthusiasts. The term “Preview” means that the wines are offered for tasting just before the official release of each vintage on the market.  These wines are still very young but are able to give an idea of their quality and mature characteristics.

One of the first events, “Chianti Lovers,” will preview two notable red wines—Chianti DOCG and Morellino di Scansano DOCG—on February 16 at the Fortezza da Basso.  Enologists and other wine professionals are granted entrance from 9:30 am to 4 pm, while wine lovers have access between 4 and 9 pm at an admission cost of €15 per person.

This fifth edition of “Chianti Lovers” will offer tastings of 488 wines representing 119 estates in the Chianti Consortium subzones of Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, (the hills around Florence), Colli Senesi (the hills around Siena), Colli Aretini (the hills around Arezzo), Montalbano, Colline Pisane (the hills around Pisa) and Montespertoli in addition to another 24 vineyards appertaining to the Morellino di Scansano Consortium.  Chianti DOCG (both 2019 and the 2017 Riserva) will be presented along with Morellino di Scansano DOCG (2019 and the 2017 Riserva).  In this manner, guests will have an opportunity to savor two important expressions of the Sangiovese grape due to the diverse areas of production and the winemaking methods used by vineyards.

The strongly distinctive, yet refined nature of Chianti DOCG, perhaps Tuscany’s most representative wine, reflects varying types of soil and other factors influencing cultivation along with the varying harvest and aging techniques utilized by each producer, succeeding in maintaining its firm, dense body, aspects of Chianti that have always created a generous, complex bouquet.

Standard characteristics of Chiantis are: ruby red in color, changing to garnet with aging, distinguished by a pleasing varied nose of ripe cherry, currants, red and black berry fruits and punctuated by spicy notes.  The flavor is equally fruity, harmonious with crispy tannins that tend to soften with aging and a lingering aftertaste—precisely the qualities for which Chianti has become famous.

The wine cleanses the palate and allows for a progression of flavors throughout a meal, making it a wonderful companion to Tuscan fare. Chianti pairs with well with Tuscan hors d’oeuvres, salami, cheese and ham, in addition to game and grilled red meat.

“The Chianti Lovers fair has undergone a positive growth phase, which has contributed to consolidate the wine’s prestige both on the national and international market,” said Giovanni Busi, president of the Chianti Consortium, noting that sales of Chianti DOCG have increased by 1% worldwide, corresponding to an additional one million bottles purchased.

(sommeliers martina palmiero & ellen santucci masi providing additional reporting)