It’s been a while since we spoke at any length about Chianti.
Many an Italian wine enthusiast will tell you that this is a crime. Of all of the remarkable reds that the country produces, Chianti may be among the most prestigious and respected. It certainly has that reputation in Italy and the sales numbers suggest that people all over the world love this wine.
But maybe you’ve never tried the wine before. As much as you’ve heard of this Florentine classic, you’ve never actually tried a glass yourself.
Maybe it’s about time that things changed in that regard.
XtraWine maintains a fine collection of some of the best Chiantis in Italy. Now, let’s look at the tips that you need to follow to find the best bottle for you.
Tip #1 – Always Check for Legitimacy
Forgery is not an issue that you’ll need to worry about when shopping with xtraWine. We work with the most reputable vendors in Italy to ensure that every Italian wine that we stock is as legitimate as they come.
However, you can’t guarantee that all stores will take the same precautions. And with Chianti being one of Italy’s most popular red wines, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of counterfeiters out there trying to make some money off the backs of legitimate producers.
That’s why it’s so important to check that you’re getting the real deal before you spend any money.
Here are a few things to look for:
- The Black Rooster, which has been a symbol of Chianti for centuries. If the bottle doesn’t have it, it’s either a fake or a poor attempt at Chianti.
- Florence and Siena are the only places that are allowed to produce Chianti Classico. If you see any other location listed on the bottle, you’ve likely found yourself a fake.
- Misprints on the label are always a dead giveaway. Look for any spelling mistakes and make sure that it carries the DOCG certification. Chianti is one of Italy’s most prestigious wines and it’s very rare for a legitimate producer to make mistakes on their own label. Counterfeiters aren’t always quite so careful, especially when producing bottles to sell to the mass market.
This may seem like a strange tip to kick things off with. But with forgery being such a major issue for the Italian wine industry, it’s a good idea to run some checks before you buy your bottle.
Tip #2 – Look to the Ratings
This one may seem like an obvious tip.
But we mention it because of how beloved Chianti is among the wine community. That fact alone makes it one of the most reviewed types of wine to come out of Italy.
The point is that you won’t ever have to look too far to find an opinion about the vintage that you’re considering buying. That means you never have to make an uninformed decision with Chianti.
If you find a bottle with no reviews, you’re either buying something that’s so brand new that even the reviewers who get advanced samples haven’t had the chance to try it. Or the more likely situation is that the wine wasn’t considered worthy of the time and thus may not be a great example of Chianti.
Tip #3 – Don’t Worry About the Fiasco
For those who don’t know, the Fiasco is the traditional basket that bottles of Chianti used to come in. To accommodate this basket, the bottles themselves would often be round.
The simple point here is that the Fiasco, while not a thing of the past, is nowhere near as popular as it was many decades ago. Most Chianti producers use normal bottles now, both for transportation and cost reasons.
That means you shouldn’t discard a Chianti just because it doesn’t come in a Fiasco. To do so might mean that you miss out on a truly wonderful wine that’s worth adding to your collection.
Tip #4 – Check for Red Berries and Violets
If you have a chance to taste-test the wine before you buy it, pay special attention to the bouquet. Chianti Classico has a couple of prominent notes that almost all great varieties of the wine exhibit.
Specifically, you’re aiming to spot notes of red berries and violets. Both should be fairly dominant notes in the bouquet, though they’re rarely the only ones that you’ll come across. That means you may need to do a little bit of fragrance searching to pick them out.
In fact, the DOC looks for these specific notes themselves when testing Chianti Classico. If the wine doesn’t have them, it may not get to carry the special Black Rooster that we mentioned earlier.
Tip #5 – Don’t be Afraid to Try Different Vintages
It may seem like the rules surrounding Chianti Classico are so strict that there’s no possibility for variety in the wine.
That’s not the case. Every single producer adds their own twist to their wine just by virtue of the techniques that they use.
That means you don’t have to give up your search if you end up with a bottle that doesn’t take your fancy. Try a vintage from another producer and you may just get a pleasant surprise.
The Final Word
With these tips, you should be able to find a Chianti that’s both legitimate and suitable for your taste.
The question now is where you can find your perfect bottle.
Let’s be honest…we already gave you a pretty heavy tip at the top of the article.
XtraWine maintains an extensive collection of Chiantis of all varieties. Plus, we stock several of the Super Tuscans that applied a twist to the traditional formula way back in the 1970s.
Check out our store to find the Chianti that’s right for you. We’ve even collected reviews from around the industry to help you to make your choice.