Going Organic: Tuscany’s Organic Chianti Red Wine
Tuscany’s pride, the Chianti wine, is a classic and beloved red wine produced primarily from Sangiovese grapes. It is a highly acidic, dry and medium-bodied wine with notes of cherry, strawberry, plum, tomato leaf and dried herbs flavour. It has a high tannin level and an earthy and rustic aroma. This elegant red wine got its name from its place of origin, Chianti in Tuscany, Italy.
Chianti is situated in Central Italy near Florence. It is a mountainous and hilly province where it is locally known as Monti del Chianti, which translates to Chianti Mountain, and Colline del Chianti meaning Chianti Hills. Chianti is also home to one of Italy’s famous exports, olive oil, as well as the artist Michelangelo’s legendary David painting.
This vast region has a continental climate with long hot, dry summers and cold winters. Most of the vineyards can be found at the foot of the Apennines mountains. It is divided into seven sub-zones with their own distinctive name and label for Chianti wine. These are:
- Chianti Rufina
- Chianti Colli Aretini
- Chianti Montalbano
- Chianti Montespertoli
- Chianti Colli Senesi
- Chianti Colli Fiorentini
- Chianti Colli Pisane
Types of Chianti Red Wine
Sangiovese is a native Italian grape variety that dominantly makes up the Chianti red wine. It is a thin-skinned grape with high acidity and high tannins. Aside from Sangiovese, Chianti may contain other wine grapes such as Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When poured in a wine glass, Chianti has a ruby red colour with bright burnt orange sparkle.
There are several types of Chianti with each wine having its own characteristics, grape varieties and other requirements:
Chianti - This standard Chianti is made from 70% Sangiovese. It is aged for three months or more.
Chianti Classico - This is a premium Chianti made in the Classico region, an estate-owned historical Chianti district. It's 80% Sangiovese and aged for 3 to 6 months.
Chianti Reserva – This red wine is aged for 2 years. It has softened tannins and is known to have more concentration, structure and complexity.
- Chianti Gran Selezione - This is also known as Gran Superiore. It is aged for 2.5 years. It has a smoother acidity.
The Italian wine classification for Chianti is DOCG or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the highest quality level awarded for Italian wine. The DOCG has a tighter and more restrictive criteria in order for the wine to receive the official DOCG seal of approval from the Ministry of Agriculture. Chianti is one of the first five wines who got the distinction along with Barbaresco (Piedmont), Barolo (Piedmont), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Tuscany) and Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Chianti earned its DOCG in 1984. Today, there are 73 wines with DOCG distinction in Italy.
Organic Chianti Red Wine
In recent years, the Chianti region has a growing commercial demand to produce organic Chianti red wine. Presently, there are around 50 wine producers using organic grapes. The qualifications for producing organic chianti red wine are:
- Winemakers should not use chemical pesticides and fertilisers on the grapes.
- Vinification or the conversion of grape juice into wine should be through natural fermentation and without commercial additives.
- It should have minimum sulfites.
Panzano in Chianti, a pleasant Tuscan hilltop town, produces the best organic red wine since they are the first consolidated district for organic wine production. The local winegrowers have been exploring sustainable viticulture since 2008.
We’ve all heard that red wine has many positive health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, it lowers bad cholesterol and keeps the heart healthy. Organic red wine is healthier than the standard red wine because they are produced without chemical pesticides and are free from synthetic additives. It also has less sugar and sulfites.
Rignana Chianti Classico DOCG Organic 2016
Popsy and JJ is proud to have the Rignana Chianti Classico DOCG Organic 2016 in its esteemed wine collection. True to its Chianti quality, this premium organic Chianti red wine has a balanced and elegant taste that is fruity with an earthy and spicy aroma. The Rignana Chianti Classico DOCG Organic 2016 is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 15% Canaiolo. The best food pairing for Rignana Chianti Classico DOCG Organic 2016 are pizzas, Tuscan-style sausages, Pecorino cheese, roast lamb and game such as pheasant and wild boar.