I actually miss studying. Studying for my WEST Level 2 exam last year that is. I decided to continue taking wine tasting notes here on the blog so I can have a more digital organized note system that I can refer to as I study for Level 3, as well as share my reviews with others.
About Chianti Classico Riserva
Classico & Riserva are two important wine terms on the label that describe certain qualities of the wine.
Chianti is synonymous with Tuscan wine; however, there are many sub-regions of Chianti (view Wine Folly map of Chianti), Chianti Classico being one of them.
The hills between Tuscany and Sienna are designated as Chianti Classico, the historic heart of Chianti dating back to the time of the Medici. Chianti Classico benefits from hilly terroir and clay & sandstone soil to produce the highest quality wines with more aging potential among all the Chianti sub-zones.
While Classico indicates the Chianti sub-region, Riserva indicates the classification. Chianti Classico Riserva benefits from a longer aging period before bottling (typically 24 months, often in barrique) and a higher alcohol content (above 12.5%) compared to other Chianti wines (with Gran Selezione above Riserva in the quality tier).
DOCG, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Controlled & Guaranteed Designation of Origin) is the top designation of the European Union quality scheme that indicates traditional production methods in a specific geographical region. It’s a way of protecting the uniqueness of place & history regarding certain food & drink.
“EU quality policy aims at protecting the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.”–European Commission
Chianti Classico Riserva Requirements
According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, Chianti Classico Riserva must meet the following requirements:
- Grapes: 80-100% Sangiovese
- Minimum alcohol content: 12.5%
- Aging before bottling: At least 24 months (often in barrique – a small French oak barrel)
- DOCG status: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (geographical indication that wines are from a specific region made according to specific laws)
In a nutshell, Chianti Classico Riserva is made of primarily Sangiovese grapes grown in the historic region of Chianti between Siena and Florence, and aged at least 2 years prior to bottling with an alcohol content of at least 12.5%.
Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Riserva Docg 2014
The black rooster, or Gallo Nero is the symbol of Chianti Classico depicting the medieval rivalry of Siena and Florence for Chianti territory, which is located between the two cities.
“Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Riserva comes from the area of the Sienese municipality of Castellina in Chianti. It carries the tradition of winemaking from the famous Tuscan hills. Aged for a minimum of 24 months, it shows aromas of violets, cherries and hints of earth and spices, coating the palate with supple tannins, balanced acidity, along with notes of oak and leather, with flavors of ripe plums and cherries, with a long lingering finish. Enjoy it with pasta, cheese, grilled meat or on its own.”
Cost: $6.99ish from Trader Joe’s
This wine had beautiful delicate floral aromas upon popping the cork. I wanted to linger in its blissful scent, imagining I were in Tuscany.
The tannins were smooth and pleasant, with medium-high acidity, finishing with notes of tart raspberry, and hints of leather. I suspect that this wine would only improve with age.
It paired well with pork (softened tannins further), but did not pair well with the pear & gorgonzola salad (the sweetness of the pears made the wine seem more bitter and alcohol more apparent).
The bottle was already open and I hadn’t intentionally planned the food pairing. However, I believe you can learn just as much form things that do not go together.
This is a well balanced wine with aging potential that pairs well with meat dishes. I would also like to try it with a tomato-based pasta dish, as suggested by Wine Folly.
According to Vivino ratings, 2014 is the top rated vintage of this wine and it has consistent 3.5 (out of 4) stars.
This is a wine with aging potential, I think that time is on its side. Compare to this review from 2018, I think that it has improved because I did not pick up on any sourness, a little tartness, yes, but not unpleasant in any way. I would definitely buy it again, and probably drink it in a few years time.