Chianti is the only wine (outside of Champagne and Communion Wine) that was popular and common in my neighborhood of Southwest Detroit. It was not uncommon to know several of the older men who made wine in their basement and this was referred affectionately as “Dago Red.” Chianti is the most famous and known wine in the world. In Italy Chianti was from the region of Tuscany. At one time Tuscan region produced more wine then was made in the United States of America.
Chianti ran from thin poor excuses of wine that were found in the wicker wrapped bottles called fiascos and used to be found in pizzerias to extremely rich and velvety lush wines.
The worst of the problem is that all of these wines were called Chianti. This was a problem that the vintners in Tuscany were faced with. About eighty years ago a “Consorzio” was formed to protect the good name of Chianti and an inner district was created called Chianti Classico, which is about fifteen percent of all Chianti produced. They created a special emblem of a black cockerel on a gold background, and another label with a gold ring around the first circle that reads Chianti Classico Riserva. The Riserva requires three years of aging before bottling.
I had the honor of furnishing the wine for a gathering, and I found these two one gallon bottles of Verrazzano Chianti Classico. These bottles are the equivalent of five regular bottles of wine. In comparison a jeroboam, which is a classic bottle measurement is equivalent to four bottles of wine. These bottles were the hit of the party, and changed my thoughts of Chianti ever since. Another day and another time I will discuss more Chianti and Chianti Classico wines that I have encountered.