Chianti

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On one hand “Chianti” is a precisely defined term. On the other hand it has been used globally and for so long that it can mean quite different things to different people: Italianesque red wine; fiascos wrapped in straw; ukelele music dappled in the canopy of an acacia; an essential pairing with liver and fava beans.

The expansion of Chianti’s geographical limits within Tuscany in 1932 allowed for the growth of its global mass market. Supported by abundant supply, the term entered the vernacular and became a floating signifier. Chianti became a symbol for Italianness and soon bottlers in other countries would exploit the appeal by producing their own “Chianti” inspired wines.

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The success of any global brand with the longevity of Chianti is always cyclical.

Even with the generous restrictions on Chianti proper, supply of any deservedly specific wine is rigid when measured against the plasticities of demand. And so it is, since the reforms of 1996 and the lucrative exploitation of the real estate market, it has been essentially impossible to find a faithful, tasty, and reasonably priced Chianti.

But every 7th year an exception comes along.

Poggio Alla Luna is produced at the Montellori estate. As a tourist destination it has its disadvantages. It is located in a remote northwestern spur of the Chianti zone and surrounded by co-op farms. The hills of Ceretto Guidi however are nicely suited for growing Sangiovese. The estate’s basic Chianti evokes an emotion of recognition. The freshness of its fruit is surprisingly offset by a noble and lean frame of vinous tannins. The latter bring a cleansing discipline to the finish.

This wine is priced and balanced for drinking with pizza, but it deserves to accompany more ambitious cuisine, like lamb chops, stews and truffle-strewn pastas.

Montellori is owned by Alessandro Nieri while the cellar is overseen by enologist Marco Razzauti.

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