God save the Black Rooster with its inventiveness and creativity!
After the legend on its determinant role in a challenge between knights in the Middle Ages, this year the Black Rooster did write a new and important page in the history of wine and Chianti Classico because he was able to spread love for Made in Italy in the world against all odds, in spite of the evil Covid-19. Now tell me if this will not enter the Hall of Fame just as well! Therefore, if the World cannot come to the House of the Black Rooster, he gets busy, well equipped and organized and takes off to conquer the World armed with lots of good wine and enthusiasm, so that the World will never be without Chianti Classico!
This is how the historic Chianti Classico Collection, which has always attracted wine experts and enthusiasts from all over the world, turns into Chianti Classico Connection this year and is staged in 6 cities in five different countries: Chicago, Florence, London, Munich, New York and Tokyo in a global meeting between producers and wine experts with webinars, master classes, and tastings in the presence, unfortunately still with limited attendance and by invitation only.
It is a natural evolution into a format that can continue to be of great international scope even in times of limited travel and restrictions due to the pandemic. The production of Chianti Classico, including vintage, Riserva and Gran Selezione, has the foreign market as its main outlet with a 70% share, with the United States alone absorbing 33% of it. But do not be misled by statistics and know that the biggest admirers of this great wine are the Italians here in the Bel Paese, with a demand that absorbs 20% of the total production, and if we consider that the US population counts 328 million inhabitants while Italy only 60, it is easy to make a quick count on the average per capita consumption. This is very reassuring to me, and even more so the fact that domestic demand, as well as global demand, at the end of the day has not suffered any particular contraction during the pandemic. Despite the serious crisis that hit the Ho.Re.Ca. sector, Producers’ investments in e-commerce and B2C communication have been very effective and largely repaid indeed.
Let us go back to our Cloister now and talk about this intense day of tasting, so different but so equally challenging and exciting. The Consortium has hosted us in a truly evocative location: the Chiostro Grande of the Museum of Santa Maria Novella. With properly spaced tables, an efficient software to order from the catalog of the labels presented, and the efficiency of the sommeliers that tended us, the tasting was truly profitable and absolutely compliant to any safety regulation. Did we like this format? We did like it because it allowed us to taste many excellent bottles with concentration and tranquility, in a context where only the wine spoke. We did miss the sharing and the conversation with Producers however, who were not present for obvious reasons; we did miss the confrontation with friends and colleagues, their contagious enthusiasm and joy that made the air so electrifying and full of positive energy. We also missed the limelight that has always marked this event and made it so exquisitely glamorous!
Even in this case it must be said that Gallo Nero’s inventiveness was witty and admirable; it was indeed possible to chat with producers, book digital meetings with them as well as visits to the wineries. I must admit I did not use this service because I do not particularly like virtual communication. Personally, in these occasions, human contact, being close and looking in each other’s eyes, are very important to me: after all wine is mainly conviviality! Therefore, the stage was left exclusively to the glasses and their tales of a vintage, 2019, which in one word I would define as Joyful! Intense and fragrant glasses, very dynamic and in line with their exuberant youth. Purebred horse parading with harmonious elegance, each with its own style but all with the desire and daring to become great champions. Not to mention the Reserves and Grand Selections, where there is little to dare, the sip already appears round and eloquent; the conscious choice to produce quality is not just a slogan, but a serious and passionate commitment that pays off by raising the bar of excellence year after year.
It is not my habit to make a list of my best tastings, I leave the hard task to my more experienced and qualified colleagues, also because I would have difficulties in identifying the eleventh, the twelfth and so on. However, I would like to mention one label only, because mentioning two would be an injustice to all the others. It may not have been the best, but it certainly was the right bottle at the right time, my second to last taste after a long day in which strength, muscles and exuberance of the sip prevailed, this one was a real cuddle, a caress, a sweet shelter.
Fattoria di Lamole – Vigna Grospoli, Chianti Classico DOCG, Chianti Classico DOCG, Grand Selection 2016, 100% Sangiovese, Organic
Wonderful! Liquid poetry, a deep emotion, so enveloping, soft, deep and balanced with a didactic bouquet of violets, black cherries, small red fruits and heamtic sweetness, enhanced by sweet spices, bitter orange, and persistent balsamic notes of herbs.
I want to conclude with the last great novelty of the ingenious Gallo Nero, a novelty that will allow everyone to plan and realize their own personal oeno-gastronomic, cultural and artistic experience in this wonderful corner of paradise between Florence and Siena. It is the Chianti Classico Card, the ultimate pass into the world of the Black Rooster; with its purchase everyone will be able to choose among over 100 offers of the wineries that have joined the program, visit cellars, taste the Black Rooster local products, and enjoy the countless art treasures of this territory. So, let’s all go to visit Chianti Classico this summer, with or without a mask it doesn’t matter, but full of enthusiasm and desire to discover and experience this precious all Italian jewel.