The Black Rooster dressed up in Colors
The Black Rooster is dressed up in many wonderful colors this year for a very special occasion! It is Chianti Classico Collection time, and this year’s edition was held as usual at Stazione Leopolda.
The event needs no introduction, much less the Star of the party, your majesty Sangiovese. Here in Florence it has always been called Chianti Classico, even in times when this fact had been a little distorted and almost forgotten for many reasons. However, it is the destiny of anyone with a centuries-old life, as well as a centuries-old history, and of all the fantastic stories celebrating immortality, I am reminded of Orlando by Virginia Wolf here, the bizarre story of an immortal young man who promises not to fade away. Not to wither. Not to grow old. Therefore, during his never-ending life, the boy stays young and immortal, but inevitably changes overwhelmed by events to the point that he even repeatedly changes gender. But he manages to stay true to his essence, he never denies his true soul because he, or she it doesn’t matter, is Orlando and this can never change.
And Chianti Classico has always been that marvelous Sangiovese, married over the centuries to other grape varieties, even white ones, which has dwelt since the dawn of time on the same 70,000 hectares between Siena and Florence, and which includes all or part of the municipalities of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Barberino Tavarnelle, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi and San Casciano in Val di Pesa.
Many things have happened in between the medieval dispute with Siena and Florence fighting for the definition of the political boundaries of this territory, decided by the legendary Black Rooster, and the establishment of the Consortium for the protection of Chianti in 1924. While Orlando was busy maintaining his identity despite the sudden changes of gender, in 1716 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III set the boundaries of the Chianti Classico production area. Things went so well over the centuries that at some point the boundaries of this territory were widened to include other areas where great Chianti wines are still produced nowadays. But the Black Rooster is the Black Rooster, and he never wanted to move out of his boundaries, he strongly claimed his identity, and in 1932 the word “Classico” was added to identify the original production area as defined in 1716.
It is difficult to erase the famous straw flask from everyone’s imagination, but today the only bottle allowed is the Bordeaux. And that too is just fine, because every era has had its own necessities, so anything goes as long as it is Chianti Classico!
Let us go back to this 2020 edition of Chianti Classico Collection now. Of all the premieres in Tuscany to date this one has been perhaps the most challenging. Yes, because the aging time here ranges from a minimum of 12 months for the vintage, to a maximum of 30 for the Gran Selezione. Truth be told the 20% of other grape varieties allowed make it a little more enjoyable right away, we have also had many spectacular Sangiovese in purity, but the “Sangiovetic” tannin at this stage of evolution is still vigorous and kicking, the way it should be indeed!
The tasting requires energy therefore, because Sangiovese has all the power and elegance of a thoroughbred stallion, and it is challenging to stay in the saddle without being thrown off. No doubt we are all well trained there, because everywhere I go, everywhere I turn I see only satisfied and smiling faces! It’s no coincidence that the “Black Rooster – King of Tuscany … may well be the most awarded denomination on the Tuscan scene” (cit. Press Office Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico)
Wines that are consistent with the product’s young age, but for the most part are fresh and sufficiently balanced, particularly expressive and rich in aromatic profile. Chianti Classico today has definitely kept all of its promises and it will continue to do so for a long time to come. You can dare to ride therefore, even if you are not an experienced jockey, but these thoroughbreds are destined to give deep and unrepeatable emotions to those who will have the patience to wait for their evolution. Let me wrap it all up by saying: why choose if you can have both?