We are proud to introduce a wonderful Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva into Australia.
Villa Cigliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 and Villa Cigliano Chianti Classico 2009 are now available in Australia through sole importer Italian Wine Importers.
The last decade has seen a improvement in the quality of Chianti Classico and these wines such as Villa del Cigliano must be regarded in the top echelon of Italian wine.
The Villa del Cigliano has been in the Antinori family since 1500. The Villa is situated in the Chianti Classico area, near the village of San Casciano in Val di Pesa, in the tuscan countryside, 20 km from the center of Florence.
It was built in the second half of the 1400 on existing medieval buildings. Alessandro di Niccolò Antinori bought it at the end of that century, and it still belongs to the descendants of Eleonora Antinori, recently deceased in 2001.
Not all the wine produced in the Chianti zone is Chianti Classico.
To have the right to a denomination is not sufficient. In fact, the provenance refers to a given territory but also all the rules stipulated in the production regulations must be respected. Those rules determine the conditions and the requisites that permit a wine to be decked out with the name Chianti Classico DOCG.
The rules provide for a minimum ratio of 80% for Sangiovese, the great red grape of Italy. Along with the Sangiovese, other red grapes of the area can be used in a maximum percentage of 20%. These grapes include natives like Canaiolo and Colorino as well as “international” varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, all recommended and/or authorized for the production zone. Among the principal sensory characteristics indicated by the production rules, there is the ruby red color that can become at times intense and profound, depending upon the wine’s origin.
The odor offers floral notes of violets and irises combined with a typical character of red fruit. The flavor is harmonious, dry and sapid with a good level of tannin that fines in time, becoming soft and velvety. Other requisites requested include a minimum alcohol level of 12 degrees for young wines and 12.5 degrees for the Riserva. Minimum net dry extract amounts to 24 g/l, while total minimum acidity is registered at 4.5 g/l. In addition, the production rules require important factors. For example, it is stipulated that the yield of grapes per hectare cannot exceed 75 quintals four years after the vines are planted and that the yield of wine from grapes cannot exceed 70% or 52.5 hectoliters per hectare. In addition, the regulations note that the processes of vinification, preservation and bottling must occur exclusively in the production zone. And the wine may not be released for consumption before October 1. Minimum required maturation for the Riserva is 24 months including three months of bottle fining.
As far as the label is concerned, the regulations contain some terms that are added to those already stipulated by the specific rules in effect in the sector. In the first place, the label must contain the indication “Chianti Classico” with the more specific identification, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita and display the year when the grapes were produced (vintage). The name of the wine can be identified in connection with that of the estate or with a brand name or it can be a fantasy name or indication of the name of the vineyard of provenance. In any case, terms like extra, fine, select, selected, superiore, old and similar may not be used.
Sangiovese, the soul of Chianti ClassicoThe minimum permitted ratio of Sangiovese grapes used in the production of the wine is 80%, a percentage that can rise to 100%. Sangiovese is the real soul of Chianti Classico. The Sangiovese grape is extremely sensitive to external factors, especially terrain and climate, and it is truly difficult to identify another variety that is so well able to interpret the characteristics of the soil and modify its aromas in accordance with the terrain in which the vine grows. Flowery bouquets are derived from sandy soils, while scents of wild berries are suggested by limestone and the aromas of tobacco are fresh with hints of tufa. But always, whatever may be its zone of origin, there is that scent of violets that the production regulations identify as the characterizing and specific element of Chianti Classico.
Young and Riserva Chianti ClassicoIn the first years of its life, Chianti Classico is odorous, fruity and rounded and the wine features a brilliant ruby red color. But Sangiovese is a grape of medium-long aging capacity and it is used in extremely high percentages or alone as is foreseen for Chianti Classico. This can result in products with big bodies and substantial complexity that can withstand many years of aging.
Naturally, various factors concur in the establishment of the final quality of the product. Seasonal conditions are of great importance. In the best vintages those conditions assure perfect and uniform ripening of the grapes. But work in the vineyard whether during cultivation or during the harvest is also vital.
Of the entire production of Chianti Classico, about 20% is now devoted to Riservas, wines with dark red colors tending to garnet and aromas of spices and wild berries. They also offer imposing structures and are elegant and velvety. The best grapes are selected at the time of the harvest for the production of Riservas. Their qualities are further enriched when they are exposed to wood during maturation. Huge casks of chestnut and oak were once used but today producers prefer containers of oak with smaller dimensions, which accelerate the evolutionary processes and permit greater transference of their aromas to the wines. The wine matures in the wood for a more or less prolonged period, depending upon the dimensions of the container. There is, then, a further pause for bottle fining before the wine is sent to the market.