Feb 082012
 

Chianti ClassicoChianti.  Chianti Classico.  If you are confused, welcome to the club.  Over the years these two appellations have evolved in ways that are confusing to anyone who doesn’t study wine for a living, or live in Tuscany.

The good news?  It is getting easier.  Chianti Classico is the heart of Tuscany—the very center of the region between Florence and Siena, and home to some of the most amazing wines in the world.  And their project 2000 has been a revelation; changing just about every element of the growing of grapes and the making of wines in the region, all for the better.

So when we were there in December, we went to the Monastery of Santa Maria al Prato, a lovely spot that is the future headquarters of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico.  In the refectory, where monks once ate their meager meals, we tasted through a broad selection of current vintages and library wines from Chianti Classico.  (The walls were decorated with exhortations to enjoy the satisfying riches of faith, which will sustain you even when there is little food.  We didn’t have to make that choice.)

What a revelation.  Consistently lovely, rich wines that express the true beauty of Sangiovese:   bright cherry fruit, elegance, balance, and fresh and lively acidity all at once.  Delicious.

And yes, we do this for a living!

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