What Makes Chianti Classico Such a Special Wine?

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My first trip to Tuscany is one I'll never forget. It got me hooked on Chianti Classico wine. The Chianti region is at the heart of Italy. It's in the center of Tuscany... which is also in the center of Italy. I spent a few days in a villa enjoying the picturesque greens, oranges, and yellows of the landscape... and of course sampled some (okay... okay... a ton) of the tasty wine the area produces.

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The wine is renown for several reasons according to this Chianti tourism website...  Chianti Classico wine is of course produced from grapes in the region. But it goes a lot further than that... Chianti wines were originally known for their traditional squatty bottles encased with straw... today they display a special seal of approval that you can't miss.

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Chianti Classico wines exhibit the famous black rooster (Gallo Nero in Italian) symbol. It is said the logo honors the centuries old land dispute truce between Siena and Florence (previous bitter rivals). Labels with this distinction are also certified as 'Chianti Classico' because they contain 80% Sangiovese grapes (the common red grape of the area) and 20% of other grapes native to the region or international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They are known for their ruby red color, being dry, and having a good bit of tannin. Although everyone experiences the wine differently... many say they find it spicy with earthy cherry (or other red fruits), tobacco, and/or vanilla flavors.  

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I am certainly not someone who puts on knowing an insane amount of intricate info about wine... or pretends to be training to be a Master Som (I wish!)... But I definitely know what I like and don't like. One bonus about Chianti Classico I've found... is that it's built for pairing with food. So if you're having some nice lamb, grilled chicken, veal cutlet, pasta primavera, or grilled eggplant... I believe if you buy a bottle (particularly the Reserva) you will not be disappointed. And if you ask a lot of honeymooners about Chianti wines... they are known for bringing about some romance too!

Below are a few Tuscany tours you may be interested in... Renting a car and lining it all up yourself is a great idea... but these tours may help you get a little more local flavor than if you just use a guidebook or your smart phone. If you check one of these out... Please... Tweet me your thoughts!