Friday, June 14, 2019

Some Yummy Italian Wine FLACCIANELLO 2010 LOVE IT

The Vigna della Piave Vineyard




"Oh My God" is what I sputtered after taking a taste of some Flaccianello the other night. OMG as the kids say, and it was just the natural reaction of tasting one of the tastiest wines I've ever tasted in my life, and I've tasted quite a lot: many great Barolo's of all the best vintages, Brunello, Barbaresco, Amarone, Champagne, Burgundy's, and all the great Bordeaux 's. The Flaccianello 2010 I drank the other night at Trattoria Monte's in Greenwich Village was absolutely spectacular, it was a perfect wine, and I don't often through that phrase out there other than a couple times a year, after drinking hundreds of wines a year, each and every year for the past 25 years or so, this was one of the best, and I'm sure one I'll long remember.

There have been other wines like this, one that stick out in my mind and will always remember, while thousands of others I don't. Yes I'll long remember that I drank that Flaccianello 2010 that night at Monte's, it was that good. I poured some of the wine into my glass, not knowing that it would be one of those great ones, an unforgettable wine. I poured it in the glass, smelled it, it smelled good, but I didn't know that once I drank it, and took that first sip, "Wow," was not all I could say. I told my friends, "Oh my God, this wine is amazing, I love it." I don't need to go into a whole "it taste like this (adjective) and that (adjective)," I don't like doing that. What I do like saying, is that it tasted so dam good, and I just loved it. It was delicious and in perfect balance, and a wine I'm sure that I'll remember drinking for a long time.

The Fontodi Estate, nestled in the famed "Conca D'Oro" (Gold Shell) in thee town of Panzano in the Chianti Classico zone in Tuscany is about 22 miles south of Florence. It's a beautifu estate sitting there in the Golden Shell. Fontodi was one of the first vineyards I had ever visited, way back in 1996 when I was doing research for the Venetian Wine Bar / Trattoria that I created in 1997, hwich just so happened to be the Vintage of the Century for wine all over the World. Anyway a friend set up the visit with the owner Giovanni Manetti to have a private tasting and tour of Fontodi, needless to say we had a wonderful time, and I have loved Mr. Manetti's wines ever since, especailly the Chianti, Chianti Vigna del Sorbo, and of course the Flaccianello elle Piave. I a have tasted almost every vintage of Flaccianello since, and have enjoyed many of them, but I teell you, none as much as the 2010, the wine is phenomenal, and I'm looking forward, I hope to drinking it again. Bravo Giovanni.


Daniel Bellino Zwicke

June 14, 2019




100% Sangiovese
FONTODI ESTATE , Panzano in Chianti Classico
Giovanni Manetti

THIS is what ROBERT PARKER Said about the FLACCIANELLO 2010

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Now to a superstar of Italian enology: The 2010 Flaccianello della Pieve will take your breath away. This is a seriously beautiful Sangiovese-based wine with the kind of intensity and aromatic purity you only experience every 1,000 wines or so. There's a lot to say here. First, the wine’s beautiful appearance shows dark garnet colors with highlights of ruby and purple gemstone. The bouquet delivers a steady and seductive evolution with dark cherry, chocolate, spice, tobacco and sweet almond all seamlessly balanced one against the other. Its texture and inner fabric is rich, velvety and firm. There's a brilliant spot of acidity that hits you at the back of the mouth and helps the wine from feeling too heavy or dense. In fact, outstanding elegance is what ultimately sets it apart. The temptation to drink it now is huge, but those still young tannins definitely need a few more years to unwind. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035.

Back Label

I'm looking for the pictures that I took when I visited the Fontodi Estate back in 1996. If I find them, I'll post here at a later date.

Giovanni Manetti


"He Makes OLIVE OIL Too"

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tre Bicchieri New York 2019 ITALIAN WINE

Great Italian Sparkling Wine
It's taken me a couple weeks, but here it is. My take and thoughts on the 2019 TreBicchieri Italian Wine Tasting - New York. Was disappointed the last 2 years, but this year was great. Back to the good old days of Tre Bicchieri.
I am always excited at the prospect each and every year of going to the most important New York Italian Wine Tasting of the Year, The Tre Bicchieri Italian Wine Tasting of Italy's finest wines. This wine tasting which historically is conducted by the magazine that is known by American Italian Wine people as the "Wine Spectator of Italy," Gambero Rosso whose book Gambero Rosso - Italian Wines is the Premier Wine Tasting of the year.
This book published by Gambero Rosso Publications, of the organizations Best Italian Wines of The Year, which are Tre Biccheri Award Winners, Tre Bicchieri translating to "Three Glasses," whereby wines from every corner of Italy are meticulously tasted and judged by Italian Wine Experts of Italy. Wines are awarded 1, 2, or 3 Glasses for the best wines. A book is published of all the wine estates of any importance from all over Italy, from each and every wine region, and all the estates from these regions.
The TRE BICCHIERI Wine tastings which are held in Italy and all throughout the World in cities like; New York, Chicago, SanFrancisco, Boston, Milan, Rome and ...
This Prosecco is absolutely The BEST !!! Trust me on this one. You will not find a better Prosecco anywhere. If you Love Prosecco and the "Finer Things in Life" then this is the Prosecco you should be drinking, Villa Sandi - Prosecco "Cartizze"  , from the Cartizze Zone of the Valdobbadene where the World's Finest Prosecco comes from. 
TASTING NOTES : Villa Sandi Prosecco Cartizze
Very pale straw yellow and an intense, fine and persistent perlage.


Intensely fruity aroma with clear hints of ripe golden apple, exotic fruit salad and citrus fruits; a persistent flowery aroma reminiscent of acacia and wistaria flowers.


Fresh, dry and austere but at the same time agreeably smooth. A fine froth develops in the mouth liberating soft fruity sensations.
WHY is It Calle CARTIZZE ?
Superiore di Cartizze. The hill of Cartizze is a 305 metres (1,001 ft) high vineyard of 107 hectares (260 acres) of vines, owned by 140 growers. The Prosecco from its grapes, of which comparatively little is produced, is widely considered to be of the highest quality, or even the "Grand Cru" of Prosecco.
Laura Felluga, holds just one bottl of her family's famed White Wines from Collio, Friuli in North Eastern Italy, where Italy's and The Best White Wines in the entire World are made.
It was great seeing Laura Felluga at this years Tre Bicchieri NY. I've long loved her family's fine wines, especially their Pinot Grigio, which is my all-time favorite of any Pinot Grigio at all, of which this wine and grape varietal are often maligned as being tasteless and of low class as far as the wine world is concerned. "Not," especially in the case of Liveo Fellugo who to me makes the benchmark of the species, a wine that is always a great pleasure to drink.
The Livio Felluga premium wine "Terre Alte" was their Tre Bicchieri award winner, and a fine wine it is. Laura gave me a taste, I took a sip, made an assessment and we discussed. "I loved it," I let Laura know. It tasted quite fine, with rich creamy Tropical Fruit and Almond flavors, the wine was a delight to drink. It's a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Baino, and Friuliano (Tocai) grapes, and is the estates premier wine, and though it is a great wine and nice to drink every now and the, I'll take the Pinot Grigio almost every time. 
I told Laura how much I love their Pinot Grigio and that I feel it is the best one on the market, a feeling I've had ever since I first tasted it, way back in 1997 when I opened America's 1st ever Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro), Bar Cichetti in Greenwich Village New York. I remarked to Laura how I loved the Copper Color that Felluga's Pinot Grigio usually has, a true sign of the highest quality when it comes to Pinot Grigio. Laura agreed. I thanked her for the tasting and little chat, I told her to say hello to her Dad, and I said goodbye (Ciao).
Created in 1981, Terre Alte is considered one of Italy's most prestigious white wines. The balanced blend of Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon grapes, estate-grown at Rosazzo in the historic Terre Alte vineyards, yelds a superbly elegant wine with a profusion of intense fruit and flower aromas. A wine of outstanding structure, Terre Alte acquires a wonderfully complex bouquet of tertiary aromas with bottle aging. 
In Friuli, and far beyond this special land of very special people and wines, the name Livio Felluga is synonymous with all that is best in the oenological heritage.

The long family tradition extends over five generations, back to the days when the Felluga's were making Refosco and Malvasia in their native Isola d’Istria. 
Seventy years ago, the family’s skills were transferred to Friuli by the eldest son of the fourth generation, Livio, whose great privilege it is to be regarded as the patriarch of viticulture and winemaking in the region.

In the 1950s, Livio set up the cellar at Brazzano, sealing his love for the hill country with the far-sighted purchase of the first Felluga vineyards at Rosazzo.
Pinot Grigio "Livio Felluga." This celebrated variety derives from a bud mutation of Pinot Noir. Pinot Grigio favours cooler climates and finds its ideal habitat on the hillsides. Livio Felluga's vinification technique gives the wine finesse and elegance while preserving the faint coppery highlights that are Pinot Grigio's hallmark. Without doubt, it is the best-known Friulian wine around the world. 
READ more about CHIANTI

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New York Brunello Tastnig 2019

Brunello di Montalcino means “Brunello of Montalcino” with Montalcino being a hilltop village located south of Siena in Tuscany and Brunello being a very specific clone of Sangiovese called “Sangiovese Grosso” which means ‘little dark one.’ It’s grapes are full and dark, and it is the only Tuscan red wine that is not a blend so you get the absolute purest expression of the grape. It’s classic flavor profiles include blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and leather. Is it just me or is that not insanely delicious sounding?
Just like France, Italy takes wine making very, very seriously. The DOCG rules there are strict and wine makers are held only to the highest standards. Case in point: Brunello vineyards can’t be planted at a higher altitude than 1968ft above sea level in order to guarantee that the grapes reach the highest flavor and ripeness. Additionally, Brunello can’t be bottled until after it has aged no less than 4 years; 5 years for the Reserves. This is because it takes THAT long for the strong tannins to soften. These are just a couple of the reasons why Brunello is so unique and truly special.
Tasting Ticket
Yes, I miss Gotham Halle where the New York Benveuto Brunello tasting was helf for a number of years. Gotham Hall is one of the most beutiful event spaces in all of New York. Gotham Hall is in gorgeous hall that once housed The Greenwich Savings Bank. This year, the Brunello Event was moved to  Tribeca 360, which is a nice enough space with a fantastic view of lower Manhattan to the Hudson River and New Jersey beyond. I'd rather be in the beautiful NeoClassic Building that houses Gotham Hall, you feel as if you're in a Beautiful Palazzo in Venice or some other grand Italian city. Tribeca 360 has way too much light, and the vibe is completely different than a Brunello Italian Wine Tasting at Gotham Hall, Tribecca 360 justed can't compete with the Beauty and Granduer of Gotham Hall.
Anyway, "Nuff Said," lets move on to talking about Brunello and the tasting itself.
Great VIN SANTO and of course Brunello Di Montalcino
IL Poggione was one of my favorite producers showing at the 2019 Benvenuto Brunello New York Tasting. I really liked the Il Poggione Brunello 2012 as well as they IL Poggione Brunello riserva 2012 ... The IL Poggione VIN SANTO was Text-Book Vin Santo with that wonderful Walnut Tasting taste that all properly made Vin Santo has. 
Sangivovese Grosso
aka BRUNELLO Grapes
The Brunello di Montalcino Consortium, the association that promotes and safeguards the celebrated Tuscan wines, will host the annual Benvenuto Brunello event in the United States on Monday, January 28th at Tribeca 360 in New York. Benvenuto Brunello is an exclusive wine tasting experience for trade and media during which the latest vintage release from 30 renowned Brunello producers is previewed.
Producers will showcase their 2014 Brunello di Montalcino and 2013 Riserva, as well as the 2017 vintage of their Rosso di Montalcino, Sant'Antimo and Moscadello di Montalcino. This year's participating wineries include Altesino, Carpineto, Fanti, Fattoria La Magia, Le Chiuse and Villa Poggio Salvi, among many others. 
The events will feature a walk-around tasting, as well as select seminars, which will be led by Sotheby's Master of Wine Candidate Nick Jackson and Giacomo Pondini, Director of the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino. 
"Benvenuto Brunello in New York is an incredibly important event for us, as America is one of our largest export markets and one of the global wine capitals," says Consortium President Patrizio Cencioni, "challenging, wet and cool, 2014 harvest yielded limited quantities of supple and delicate Brunello".
Overall, I wasn't too crazy about many of the wines at this tasting as opposed to other years like; 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010, the Brunello Vintage of 2014 was not a very good year. It was good enough to meet all the criterior to make Brunello, it's just that it was little better than a mediocer year. Sorry, but I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Conti Francesco Cinzano (Owner of Col D'Orcia)
with Author/ Italian Wine Guy - Daniel Bellino-Zwicke .com
Actor James Starace
with Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bottega VinoVerona Italy

Inside The BOTTEGA del VINO


Robert Parker Destroyed Wine

Robert Parker

Most Wine Drinkers may not know this, but they’d be well advised not to ever listen to Robert Parker and his ill-advised wine news-letter The Wine Advocate. Not if they want the best wine drinking experience possible and they want to choose a good wine to go with their meal, they will not follow the terrible advice and reviews that Robert Parker gives on wine. The kind of wines Parker loves the most are overly oaked, Overly-Rich, heavily concentrated wine that are crafted to be Heavy Thick Full Bodied Oaky Fruit-Bomb Wines. Wines that clash with food instead of complimenting it. If it was up to Robert Parker he’d have all the wines in the World tasting like over-manipulated, big, fat powerful wines like California Cabernets and Meritage Blends instead of wonderful food complementary wines like; Chianti, Barolo, Brunello, Beaujlais, some Bordeaux wines and the like. Wines  that go well with food instead of clashing with it as many of the so-called Parkerized Wines do. The man has ruined the publics perception to what good wine is and should be. The public thinks because he is a famous wine writer, that he knows best and what he’s talking about. Maybe he does, but the style of wine he likes, well?
    If the general public wants the best wine drinking experience possible, they’d be wise to steer clear of The Wine Advocate and any wine advice dished out by Parker.
      Robert Parker’s advice on wine is advice that steers and influences peoples perceptions of what great wine is, into a quite a bad, almost one-dimensional place of homogenized overly thick un-natural wines. People should stop taking advice of Robert Parker, the World of Wine would be a much better place, a place of real wine that is  It SUCKS! Robert Parker’s advice reviews, and Ratings of Wine that is.
     If you want to is true to the local terroir of whereever any particular wine might come from. In other words, Chianti should taste like Chianti, Barolo like Barolo, and Bordeaux like Bordeaux and not like a “Big Fat” California or Autralian Cabernet or Meritage Blended Wine and such.

 People should drink Wonderful Wines that go great with food and are “Real Natural Wines” the kind of Wines that were made for 100 of years and still are except for those wines made by owners who have fallen into to whole Robert Parker “Spin Doctor” realm and make “Overly-Concentrated Wine” that taste fake and un-natural, they are manipulated and are the kind of wines that Parker likes and gives High 90 Plus Ratings to.
   Drink real Chianti (not any that contain Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot), drink Barolos that have been aged in large gentile Slovenian Oak Cask instead of small 225 liter Barrique Barrels that make many wines taste more of Wood (the way Parker likes them) than beautiful unadulterated with natural fruit (Grapes). Wines like; Brunello, Cote du Rhones, and just about anything other than overly-concentrated, overly Oaked, minipulated overly-oaked wines from Australia and over-powering Californian and Australian monsters and you’ll be doing OK.
“Just DON’T Listen to anything ROBERT PARKER and his highly popular but we say awful newsletter “The Wine Advocate” has to say or Write about Wine.” The man almost single handily Destroyed what Good Wine “is” and should be.
Be “Anti-Parker” you’ll be glad you did. “Do.”







How Make Braciola Recipe



alla LINA





Have your Butcher Cut you Meat for your BRACIOLE

From Flank or Chuck

Season each piece of Meat with SALT and BLACK PEPPER

Stuff with Parsley, Cheese (Pecorino or Provolone)

and a tiny bit of Garlic

Then roll-up each Braciola and fasten with a couple Toothpicks

Completely Brown all the Meat

in a Pan you will Cook them in.

Then add Red Wine and let REDUCE by Half

Then ?


(Puree of Tomato)

Add Water to POT

Add Salt and Pepper

Lower Heat and Let Simmer to BRACIOLE are Tender

1 1/2 to 2 Hours

Cook any Type of Short MACCHERONI You Like

Place cooked Maccheroni on Plates

Sprinkle with Grated PECORINO CHEESE

Serve and ENJOY !!!






Tuesday, March 20, 2018


. .  

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Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Chianti! Chianti is Sacred Nectar of the Gods. Being so, Chianti should thus be treated accordingly to its exalted status, being deserved of society’s highest accolades that is Chianti’s due. Since its creation by the Baron Ricasoli in the 1870’s, Chianti has been held in the highest esteem and prestige. In its existence it has had a bit of a bumpy road in terms of quality and prestige for a portion of its history. This bumpy road or shall we say low-point for Chianti took place around the early 1960’s and into the late 1970’s, a period of about twenty-years. The Chianti of Chianti Classico in these years was pretty much; thinned-out, characterless, commercial wine of quantity rather than quality. It was all about producing as much wine per acre, that was possible, with pretty much a disregard for quality, large quantities of insipid, weak nondescript wines instead of wines with proper concentration, substance, and character. At the time (1960-1981), this was pretty much the case for most wines of Italy, not just Tuscany and the region of Chianti Classico. This being said, there was always a small percentage of top quality producers that never strayed to the negative side. These producers (wine estates) always produced good top-level wine outside of the majority of those producing a inferior product (Chianti). It’s just that at the time, the majority of the Italian wine industry was going for the money. It was more profitable to produce higher quantities of inferior wine, than to produce smaller amounts of higher quality Chianti, and so this is the way thing went for some time. Most likely it was not just that those making Chianti in this low-period may have wanted to make better quality Chianti, but the market which included the United States as the primary customer, along with Italians in Italy didn’t expect it. Once some estates started turning out lower quality Chianti, there was a snowball affect and so it seems, most Americans buying Chianti in the 50s, 60, and 1970s just expected Chianti at a cheaper price, of acceptable quality, and in the ubiquitous straw-wrapped wine-flask that was Chianti at the time was famous for, cheap and in its expected Straw Bottle. This is what the larger Chianti buying public, and even if there was higher quality Chianti, and there was some, most consumers just wanted the cheap stuff. One of the most influential figures in the history of Chianti is the Italian statesman, Bettino Ricasoli who created the Chianti recipe that would later be canonized in DOC regulations. The Ricasoli family traces their lineage in the Chianti region to Lombard barons who ruled during the 11th century. The family estate in Brolio is located in what is now known as the heart of the Chianti Classico region in the province of Siena. Orphaned at a young age, his family estate was crippled with debt and in disarray shortly after Ricasoli got married. Restoring the estate and its vineyard became his primary focus. Ricasoli traveled throughout France and Germany, studying the latest winemaking methods and brought back with him vine cuttings of new grape varieties. He began to experiment in his vineyard and cellar on which grapes produced the best wines at his estate. His work eventually settled on a blend of three Tuscan grapes-Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia.

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Castello Brolio

   I myself am on, and have been on a personal quest to have the laws governing how Chianti can be made. If I could make Chianti, what would I do? How would I make it? What style, thick and concentrated, thin and light, or somewhere in-between? Would I allow non-traditional secondary grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot? “Certainly not! That would be most sacrilegious.” Number one, in molding what many consider to be a real and true classic Chianti, “you never ever allow, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah or any grapes that are not native or traditional to the Chianti Classico zone into the mix (the blend of Chianti). As anyone who know a little about Chianti, they know that the primary grape of this storied wine is Sangiovese and from the beginning Chianti has always been a wine made with a blend of 3 or 4 native grape varietals with the primary grape being Sangiovese with small amounts of native grapes making up the remainder of an estates Chianti Classico. The secondary grapes to the primary grape of Sangiovese (75-100%) should only be either; Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Trebbiano, or Malvasia Bianco, or Malvasi Nero, with any of these grapes being added singularly or in any combination the vintner chooses. The percentage of white grapes allowed since 1984 is a maximum of 6% as opposed to the once ridiculous about of 30% in the sixties and seventies. The allowance of up to 30% white grapes was the major factor in bringing about the bad reputation that Chianti garnered during those dismal years when the quantity of wine made (bulk) was favored over quality in smaller numbers of production in much of Italy. Luckily there were producers like the Antinori family who started making great wines in the Chianti Classico zone which could not be labeled under the Chianti D.O.C. but as Vin di Tavola (the lowest designation, though these wines were of Superior quality), in the wines; “Solaia” which was made primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon with about 20% Sangiovese and “Tignanello” which was made of 100% Sangiovese in its first vintage in 1971. After the first vintage of Tignanello a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (15-20%) was added a couple years later and Tignanello became and was designated a Vino di Tavola which most people know as Super Tuscan. So that very first vintage of the now famous Super Tuscan wine called Tignanello, was originally classified as a Chianti Classico. The Marchese Piero Antinori began making Tignanello in the Chianti Classico region along with “Sassicia” from his vineyard on the Tuscan coast of Bolgerhi. These wines were instrumental in elevating the wines of Tuscany, in that by making these high quality wines and inspiring other producers to do the same. So, the act of making exceptional quality wines in and around the Chianti region, which were not Chianti’s but Super Tuscans, was the factor that sparked the beginning of better and better Chianti’s over time.    The last two dates of 1984 and 1996 in which we see the governing bodies changing the laws governing the production of Chianti. These laws forced producers to make better Chianti. These laws which allowed producers to completely eliminate white varietals from Chianti and not allowing more than 6% white grapes was the main factor to improving quality in the wine, while at the same time allowing up to 15% of other varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet and the allowance of making a Chianti from 100% Sangiovese, thus allowing a Chianti that is not a blended wine, if a producer so chose to make Chianti in this fashion. These two new amendments gave way to radically changing what a Chianti was, now, what many believe to be more of a Super Tuscan than a true Chianti. Chianti’s made of solely 100% Sangiovese or those made with 10 to 15 percent Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon would lose much of the general character that a “True Chianti” should have in order for it to really be Chianti and not just to say it is Chianti when it really is not. It’s really a Super Tuscan, which is fine, just to label it, or say that it is Chianti, when it really is not. I must admit that at the time the laws first allowed the addition of these International varieties, I was quite excited and thought that this was a great thing for Chianti. It wasn’t. I was wrong. I quickly changed my mind about what true Chianti really is, and not a wine that has substantial parts Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon instead of what they should have, which are the tradition Chianti sub-varietals of Canniolo, Colorino, Malvasia, or Trebbiano. As I tasted these new wines and at the same time started learning a great deal more about Italian wine, I soon discovered that the Chianti’s that had either Merlot or Cabernet tasted completely different. “They didn’t taste like Chianti!” They didn’t have the wonderful rustic characters of true Chianti. They taste more like wines from California, instead of having the characteristics from the “Terroir” of where they came from;

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Villa Calcinaia , Greve in Chianti

“Chianti Classico”, “Chianti Rufina”, “Colli Sienesi”, or “Colli Fiorentina”. Fortunately most producers making Chianti do not put Merlot or Cabernet in the bottles they label Chianti, most use Canaiolo or Colorino as the secondary grape. Wine estates that grow Merlot, Cabernet, or Syrah, generally use these varieties to make “Super Tuscan” wines which are much more profitable as they can get much higher prices on the wholesale and retail markets for these wines. To myself and other Italian Wine Geeks, if wine has Merlot or Cabernet in it, it’s a “Super Tuscan” not a Chianti and should be labeled as such as these grape varietals used, even in smaller percentages of only 5 to 10 percent are still powerful enough as to substantially change the character of what is supposed to be “Chianti”. These wines become something else, they become “Super Tuscans” and should be labeled as such (as far as I’m concerned)and not as Chianti which as the laws stand now they can be called Chianti. I am on a personal crusade to have the laws changed once again, which would eliminate non-native varietals from the Chianti blend.    One of the new parameters of making Chianti is that it can be made solely of 100% Sangiovese. This is the other part of laws governing Chianti which should be changed. As in its long tradition, Chianti was always a blend of grapes with Sangiovese making up the greatest part of the mix. Chianti was and always should be a blended wine, it should not be allowed to be made solely of Sangiovese, then again it’s a Super Tuscan not Chianti if you have a truly traditionalist mind towards Chianti. Chianti, when it was originated in the 1870’s by the Baron Bettino Ricasoli was a wine made of a blend of native grapes of the region of Chianti. The original Chianti made by Ricasoli was a blended wine made mostly of Sangiovese as the primary grape with small portions of Trebbiano and Cannaiolo. Until the lastest laws of 1996 which laid down the parameters of how Chianti could be made as a blend and it can also be made of purely 100% Sangiovese. Chianti made of just 100% Sangiovese is not quite true Chianti as well. I love Sangiovese. It is my favorite grape varietal in the World, but as well, Chianti was always a blended wine with Sangiovese as the primary grape varietal. Chianti was a blended wine for well over 100 years. With the latest laws, Chianti can be a made purely of Sangiovese. Some wines that are made of 100% Sangiovese and are known as Super Tuscans are; “Prunaio”, “I Sodi San Niccolo”, “Cipresso”, Le Pergole Torta among many others. They are wonderful wines that fall into the Super-T category as any wine made in the Chiati Classico Zone should be. Chianti should always be a blend, even if it is only 1% or 2% of another native grape, which should be Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Trebbianno, or Malvasia Bianco, or Malvasia Nero. The white varietals should not exceed more than 2% of the blend. This is how the new laws governing the production of Chianti would be laid down if it was up to me and others who are traditionalist and want Chianti to always adhere to its original form. “Real Chianti!” The wines should have fairly low yields of grapes harvested, but not so low as to produce super-concentrated rich wines that are more like blockbuster California Cabs or Super Tuscan powerhouses. This is not what Chianti is about. Chianti should be a have a certain amount of concentration and at the same time maintain its wonderful rustic character with Cherry and Sour Cherry flavors dominating with a touch of spice and earthiness. Chianti should be an easy drinking medium to lower-scale-full-bodied wine. Chianti should always maintain the tradition of being a blended wine with Sangiovese making up the great the majority of its physical make-up. It should never be solely made from 100% Sangiovese but contain at least 2% of one, two, or three of the traditional native sub-varietal grapes of Chianti Classico and never Merlot, Cabernet, Syhrah or other International variety. If I could set these laws as the new DOCG laws of Chianti Classico the laws would never have to be changed again. The laws, the way they are set today are a little too broad. One thing that is good in the way the laws stand now is that they do allow for a proper Chianti to be made, and most Chianti’s are made in this manner, but at the same time they allow for non-native varieties and the allowance of 100% Sangiovese. These last two regulations must be changed for all Chianti’s to be “True Chianti”. It is as simple as that! So, let us hope that one day in the near future, these laws will be laid down and every single bottle labeled Chianti is actually real, true Chianti that lives up to this great wines history and origins.      Chianti Classico. What is it? First off, the area came first, the wine Chianti Classico is name after the area it comes from, which is Chianti. The Chianti Classico is the most famous. It stretches from just a few miles south of Florence at its most northern tip and runs down almost 30 miles to Castelnuovo Beradenga at its most southern point. As Chianti grew in popularity and fame, a number of other regions where Chianti can be made developed. Some of these areas are Cooli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Arentini, and Rufina. None of these sub areas have ever gained anywhere near the fame as thee original Chianti Classico Zone. The Chianti Zone of Rufina, just outside Florence is the most prestigious zone apart from Chianti. These Chianti’s are of the highest quality. Three very well know producers in this area are Frescobaldi, Selvapiana, and Rufino and although the zone of Rufina is not as well known as the Chianti Classico zone, the zone of Rufina does have thee most famous Chianti of all, Rufino’s Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale (Gold Label).    So in closing, let us say that we hope the laws that govern the making of Chianti Classico will be changed some day. I think it is sure to happen. It would be best if it happens sooner than later, that in the making of Chianti, there shall be no Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syhrah or any other non-native or non-traditional grape varieties of Chianti Classico. Also the laws should be changed to eliminate 100% Sangiovese Chianti’s, Chianti should always be a blend.    The region of Chianti Classico is one of the World’s most beautiful wine regions, if not the most beautiful. It is enchanting, filled with castles, all forms of wine estates from small and simply to big and majestic. The beautiful rolling hills of Chianti are filled with Cypress trees that dot the crest of many a hill, along with rugged stone farm houses and the wondrous rows     Sangiovese vines lining the gently sloping hills.      Chianti is relatively untouched or spoiled by any type of ugly modern structures. The Chiantigiana road is still the ancient one built by the Romans and its pavement blends in perfectly with its untouched surroundings. Chianti is filled with lovely little towns like Castellina, Gaile, Greve, and Radda where you will find the famous Dante quoting butcher Dario Cechini. You can visit and stay in beautiful wine estates like Fattoria Valle, Castello Verazzano in Greve where the explorer Giovani Verazzano is from. You can stay at the beautiful estate of Vignamaggio where Gioconda lived and was painted my Michael Angelo. She is “Mona Lisa.”    Chianti, it’s not just a wine. “It’s a Place, a very beautiful place!”

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Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
with The Owner of Castello Verrazzano
Caveliere Luigi Cappellini

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Daniel Bellino Zwicke

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Road Leading to Villa Calcinaia

Conti Capponi

Greve in Chianti


Having Lunch with The CONTI CAPPONI



.                                   A LIST of TRUE CHIANTI’S made primarily with Sangiovese with small amounts of native sub-varities such as Canaiolo, Malvasia Nero, Colorino, and Ciliegiolo and not containing any Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syhrah, or any Intl. Varieties.   Monsanto “Il Poggio” Chianti Classico Riserva Castello Verazzano Chianti Classico Castello Brolio Chainti Classico Reserva Vignamaggio Chinati Classico Riserva “Mona Lisa” Rufino Chianti Classico Riserva “Ducale” (Gold Label) Selvapiana Chianti Rufina