A Tuscan classic. This Italian red is a classic with a lot of versatility but also a lot of versatility in styles. It has relatively high acidity which makes it great with many foods.
What you need to know
Chianti is an Italian DOCG, the area covered by the regulation is large and the terrain and climate differ greatly producing many stylistic nuances.
Chianti DOCG has to be at least 80% Sangiovese and blended with a combination of other grapes, the blends do make the flavours different but Chianti is characterised by a fragrant dark cherry flavour with hints of spice.
2 sub regions of the Chianti appellation are Classico and Rufina, both are from specific locations with the Chianti region. Classico can have firmer tannins and Rufina is from the cooler hillsides so it is known for its subtle elegance.
Chianti Riserva means that the wine has spent a significantly longer spell in oak, giving it more subtle fruit and more spiciness and nuttiness. Superiore means that it has qualified for more stringent quality rules, you get more alcohol and a drier wine with more flavours as a general rule.
Chianti proves the match local rule, it works brilliantly with tomato sauces, pasta drenched in olive oil and cold meat antipasto style. The Riservas can handle meatier dishes like sausage casserole.
Top Tip – If you want to throw caution to the wind invest in a ‘super tuscan’ the new breed of blockbuster wines from some of the top producers in Chianti – be prepared to spend a lot though!
This wine bowls in at £6.45 a bottle and makes it a great value wine to glug away a winter's evening. It's friendly, fruity but it has enough character for you to know what you're drinking with some tannins and structure. I'd wash sausages braised in lentils or tomato pasta sauces down with this very happily.