Tradition in the wine world is claimed more than it is observed, but you can find it in a glass of the 2008 Piccini Chianti Classico.
Tuscany is no more exempt from the clash of New World and Old World wine styles than anywhere else. Fighting for a place in consumers’ wine shopping baskets, retailers’ shelves, and restaurant wine lists is as much a full-time job for wineries as tending the vines and making the wine.
Noble families with centuries of winemaking, nouveaux riche with inflated egos and freshly purchased wineries, and down-to-earth grape growers are all making wines that they think are either what the critics and public want, or what they have always done. But when the wine comes from Tuscany, there are thousands of years of winemaking history shadowing it.
Eight centuries before Christ, Etruscans were making wine and shipping it in amphoras to southern Italy. In the Middle Ages, monks made and sold wine, and Florence had a flourishing wine market with a wine guild and regulations.
In modern times, Tuscany has modified its rules about which grapes, and in what percentages, can be used to make Chianti Classico, and an entirely new wine was created called Super-Tuscan, partly in respone to wine styles coming from California.
In 1882, Angiolo Piccini founded his wine company near Siena. Forty years later, his son Mario expanded its reach, shipping Piccini Chianti throughout Italy and abroad. Today, the fourth-generation of Piccinis are producing 15 percent of all Chianti Classico wine and preserving its traditional style.
The 2008 Piccini Chianti Classico is made from 90 percent sangiovese and 10 percent merlot. The use of merlot or other French grape varieties like cabernet sauvignon and syrah has only been permitted in Chianti Classico since 1996. Its inclusion is Piccini’s nod to modernity. Other than that, Piccini ages the wine in traditional large oak casks, bottles and ages it for a few more months and sends it to the marketplace.
The 2008 Piccini Chianti Classico has a translucent red color and a vibrant cherry, cranberry and sage bouquet. Piccini has captured sangiovese’s tart cherry and cranberry-like flavor; and in eschewing new French oak barrels, preserves sangiovese’s natural tannins and acidity.
Chianti Classico’s world-wide fanbase comes from its ability to please the senses and compliment a range of foods. The 2008 Piccini Chianti Classico does both.
Enjoy a glass with roasted chicken, grilled steak or lamb chops, pasta with meat sauce, roasted beets with goat cheese, or grilled tuna with black olive tapenade. And save the last sip to savor its classic style.
The 2008 Piccini Chianti Classico retails for approximately $17.