“Good Chianti, that aged, majestic and proud wine, enlivens my heart, and frees it painlessly from all fatigue and sadness.” – Francesco Redi, Italian biologist and poet
One of the best known Italian wines and a symbol of Italian culture, Chianti wine is recognized around the world where it is appreciated for its fruit forward floral characteristics and ruby red color. In fact, nearly 70% of the production is exported to countries as diverse as Japan, Germany and the United States, as well as to new markets like South America and Asia.
Once again, on February 14, the most romantic day of the year, 350 international and Italian media and trade operators, joined by 3,000 fans, descended on the imposing 1940s era Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi in Florence, to partake in the 5th annual Chianti Lovers event, a special preview of over 100 producers pouring 450 wines including the pre-release 2015 Chianti and 2013 Reserve wines.
It was an unique opportunity to get a sneak peak of these wines before their commercial release, as well as to meet and talk directly with the producers. It was also only the second time that this important trade event, organized by the Chianti Wine Consortium, was open to the general public.
The 2015 vintage, which winemakers are lauding as the best year in recent history, will be available in March 2016. 2013, by contrast, was a more difficult year and the 2013 Reserve brings with it the added notes of complexity that comes with age.
But the fascination didn’t lie only in the vertical tasting, but in the horizontal as well, with the ability to taste wines from the different subzones of Chianti. One of the largest of the DOCG wine regions, with over 15.000 hectares (38.000 acres), the Chianti region is divided into eight geographic subzones, showing a great diversity of characteristics based on the climate and the soil. The three primary Consortia participating in the event represented this difference: from the slightly tannic Chianti of the Colli Fiorentini (Florence hills) to the intense berry flavored wines of the Chianti Colli Senesi (Siena hills), to the elegant long-lasting wines of the Chianti Rufina, the smallest and most renowned zone of Chianti.
Given this vast diversity, Chianti is not a wine easily characterized, but with this tasting #Chiantilovers (you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) could discover the various characteristics of the noble Sangiovese grape and its most famed wines.
Guests were also given signature #Chiantilovers wine glasses to take home, courtesy of Fara; while journalists received special limited edition corkscrews from Pulltex.
Giovanni Busi, Chairman of the Chianti Wine Consortium, explained “The Consortium wants to promote this wine’s culture and its territory. Our event strongly expresses a style, the #chianticool style that evokes pop culture, a new way to understand and think about wine while still sustaining the values, strong identity and story. Everyone says, ‘I love Chianti’”.