Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chianti Classico and the Panzano Wine Festival

Vino al Vino

Each year for the past 19 years the 20 or so wine producers from the area around Panzano in Chianti gather in the main square of the town to introduce their labels to the public. For the modest sum of 15 euros the taster acquires a glass (plus a glass-holder to hang about the neck and a handy booklet for taking notes) and is free to taste any of the local wines on display.
representatives (in no particular order), from the vineyards below

CandialleCasaloste, Castello dei Rampolla, Cennatoio, Fattoria La Quercia, Fattoria Rignana, Fontodi, Il Molino di Grace, Il Palagio, La Massa, Le Fonti, Le Cinciole, Montebernardi, Panzanello, Renzo Marinai, Tenuta degli Dei, Vecchie Terre di Montefili, VignoleVilla Cafaggio

I wrote on the Wine Festival here  but this current post intends simply to summarise what is on offer and describe the characteristics of this particular wine-producing area.

The Union of Winegrowers of Panzano (Unione Viticoltori di Panzano in Chianti - nice site but mostly in Italian) consists of 19 wineries covering 300 hectares ( 740 acres) of vines situated between 350 and 500 metres above sea level on the hilly slopes surrounding the township.

 The local earth is characterised by marl or lime-rich mudstone and temperatures in the area vary considerably between winter lows and summer highs. An extremely interesting and unique point about these wineries is that about 70% of their vines is cultivated organically and some are even biodynamic.

the wineries participating in this year's festival
The festival is a great chance to meet the producers, enjoy the convivial atmosphere and get to taste local wines all in one place, but if you are not lucky enough to be in Panzano the third weekend of September, there are three good wine shops (enoteca) in Panzano which carry most of the wines all year round. Prices per bottle at the Festival range from 7 euros to 43,50 euros this year.

So how are these wines? I can only quote connoisseurs who have written about some of them. Without naming names, which would be unfair, I have plumped for a description of one of the Chianti Classicos from the area (my own translation):

Chianti Classico DOCG

grape: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet
aging: 10-12 months in the barrel, then 3 months in the bottle

A perfect Chianti which abandons the sharp, racy Sangiovese temperament to focus more on a wine linked to tradition but less rustic and more refined and elegant. A composite, delicate and long-lasting nose, full and savoury with  good body and a brilliant ruby red colour. The aroma rises slowly and delicately to the nose, like a whisper.
The alcoholic content is not overwhelming, almost as if seeking not to disturb the characteristic floral notes of Chianti with its earthy hints.
Very elegant and balanced with gentle tannins which surround the palate leaving a pleasing sensation of warmth, roundness and overall harmony.
Character and structure are not lacking, leaving one with the impression of a wine of a certain importance.
At the end there is a considerable persistence, not extremely long, but truly pleasant. 
(It is tricky to be objective when it comes to wine tasting! I hope something can be made of this poetic description which will have to stand here for all the Chianti Classico wines.)

Views of some of Panzano's wineries:

Here instead is some useful background information on Chianti Classico, culled shamelessly from the internet, for those who wish to learn more:

Chianti has a very long history; its name appears for the first time at the end of the 14th century.
The Chianti Classico classification is awarded only if a wine complies with certain strict criteria:

Nature of the terrain:
Hilly terrains with maximum altitude of 700 meters (2.297 feet): sandstone substrata, calcareous-marly, clayey schist, sand and pebbles

Sangiovese from 80% to 100%; complementary red grapes recommended or authorized for the production zone, up to 20%

Minimum density of vines per hectare:
For new vineyards there must be 3.350 vines per hectare (1,356 an acre)

Start of wine production:
Beginning with the fourth year after planting

Maximum production of grapes:
75 quintals per hectare (3,34 tons an acre); 3 kilos (6,6 pounds) per vine

Alcohol level:
Minimum total alcohol level at the time of release for consumption for Chianti Classico 12◦, for the Riserva 12,5◦

Visual Characteristics:
Limpidity: limpid

Bright ruby-red tending to garnet with aging
Vinous, with scents of violets and with a pronounced refinement during aging
Balanced, dry (with a maximum of 4 g/l of reducing sugars), savoury and slightly tannic, softening in time and becoming velvety

Release for consumption:
Regular wine: starting from October 1st of the year following harvest

Riserva: after at least 24 months of aging including at least 3 months of fining in the bottle

Vinification and bottling:
Vinification, preservation, bottling, fining in the bottle and aging must be carried out within the production zone

To have the right to the Chianti Classico DOCG, each consignment of wine, which must come from registered vineyards, must pass a chemical and sensory evaluation

Regarding this attractive emblem of the Chianti Classico: from the early 18th century the wine produced in our area was called Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) - that is, until the end of the 20th century, when the Californian wine producer Gallo procured the patent to the name; since then Gallo Nero has become Chianti Classico but has maintained the Black Rooster emblem.

For further information on Panzano's wine festival, look up the Vino al Vino

Cin Cin!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome but will be checked before publishing.