Italy: Tuscany: Chianti (Normale)
What is Normale Chianti?
One of the first ever efforts in the history of the world at delimiting vineyard boundaries occurred in 1716 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany established limits to vineyard boundaries to protect the reputation of the wines within. These wines were held in such esteem that today "Chianti" can now be legally produced in six other outlying regions. In a manner reminiscent of the Burgundian tradition of attaching the finest vineyard names to commune wines, these regions appendage their names with that of Chianti. Of these six, Chianti-Rufina is considered to produce the finest wines outside the Classico region.
Even with this early start in classifying and regulating Chianti as a region and a wine, the moniker still covers a multitude of styles that can range from a simple light ruby hued wine with unmemorable character, to a dark, rich, long-lived wine. This is confusing to the consumer, in part due to the implausibly large area using the name Chianti, but also because of the varying composition of grapes used by different producers. According to current DOCG regulations, Chianti's composition must be at least 75-percent Sangiovese, up to ten-percent Canaiolo Nero (a soft, unassertive red blending variety), and a minimum of two-percent white grapes. Recent changes to the regulations permit a maximum ten-percent of Cabernet Sauvignon (or other non-traditional varietals), which can have a significantmany would say positiveeffect on the overall structure and body of the resulting wine.
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