29 Feb Chianti Classico Collection Chianti Classico celebrates is first 300 years of history at the preview tasting held at the Stazione Leopaldo in Florence
On February 15th and 16th 2016, the special preview tasting of new releases, a press and wine trade only event, was held at the Stazione Leopaldo in Florence. The Chianti Classico Collection, 1716-2016, featured the most recent vintages of the Black Rooster – with 165 wineries present, for a total of 587 labels available for tasting. This event always is an amazing opportunity to get to know the latest trends from one of the world’s most famous wine territories, Chianti Classico Docg. This year, 2016, commemorates 300 years of history of this incredible wine territory. It on the quite distant date of September 24th in 1716 that Granduca Cosimo III de’ Medici decided to introduce a decree, that for marked for the first time in the history of Italian wine zones, the demarcation of several territories in Tuscany particularly well suited for the production of high quality wines – and one of these mentioned areas was Chianti – today which corresponds to the area designated as Chianti Classico. Today Chianti Classico features about 600 wineries distributed amoung the following areas: San Casciano Val di Pesa, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Barberino Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi, Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga. During the event, about 7000 bottles were opened and served by a team of 50 sommeliers, with about 250 journalists present coming from 30 different countries, and more than 1500 wine trade guests (by invitation only), as well as over 70 different labels of the Gran Selezione available for tasting. Once you know the main differences between Chianti Docg (with its preview tasting held on February 14th) and Chianti Classico Docg, these are the major differences between the different Chianti Classicos available on the market. There are three possible quality levels: · Chianti Classico, most recent vintage, represents the base wine, which is released not long after the harvest (usually about 1 year after harvest). This year, the preview featured Chianti Classico Docg 2015 · Chianti Classico Riserva, in this case ageing takes place for at least 24 months in the cellar, with 3 months bottle refinement. This year Chianti Classico Riserva Docg 2014 was showcased at Chianti Classico Collection. · Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. This represents the top of the quality pyramid. Here the quality level is very high and very few wines may sport this new designation. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines must come from a single vineyard or from a selection of the best grapes in the winery and need to age at least 30 months in the cellar, with again three of these at least, of bottle refinement. Therefore, as you can see, these wines are very structured and produced in only a few, rare labels. These wines are able to make up to max 10% of the total production. For the Chianti Classico Collection, 2013 were the wines featured for the preview. The Chianti Classico Docg wine law dictates the use in prevalence of the Sangiovese grape, at least 80%. To this, the wineries may choose to add only red, approved grape varieties. Some of the traditional ones include for example, Canaiolo Nero and Colorino. For international varieties, usually Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are used for blending. Chianti Classico sales are increasing as seen from the sales figures for 2015, up 8% for international markets and 2% for the Italian market. Right now, approximately 80% of the Chianti Classico wines produced are exported. The United States accounts for about 31% of total sales, followed by Italy at 20%, Germany 12%, Canada 10%, UK 5%, Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Japan 4%, Benelux, China and Hong Kong 3% and finally Russia at 1.1%.