Varietal of the Month: Chianti Classico DOCG

Italy’s most well-known wine, Chianti Classico DOCG, is made with Sangiovese grapes from the Chianti territory. This medium-bodied red wine is known for its tart, acidic fruit flavors and high tannins. As a territory of Tuscany, Chianti Classico’s DOCG designation means the method of production and quality is controlled and guaranteed by traditional and certified techniques. DOCG is a certification given out by the Italian government and is an abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.

The territory of Chianti spans between the cities of Florence and Siena. Only wines that have been grown and produced within the Chianti zone can bear the name Chianti Classico DOCG. The DOCG band at the top of the bottle ensures its authenticity and quality. Some bottles will also have the 1716 Gallo Nero logo (black rooster) which symbolizes the longstanding heritage of the Chianti area. This can be seen on the back of the Tenuta Di Arceno bottle.

The legend of the black rooster dates back to medieval times, when the citizens of Florence and Siena fought for many years over who would control the Chianti territory. The dispute could not be resolved so they created a knight’s challenge. A knight from Siena and a knight from Florence would ride from their respective city at dawn. Where they met would be where the border would be placed. The crow of a black rooster in each city would signal when to start. The rooster from Florence had been kept in the dark and not fed for several days. For this reason, the rooster began crowing earlier and the Florentine knight left earlier and rode further. This allowed Florence to control most of the Chianti territory.

Wine of the Month: Tenuta Di Arceno Chianti Classico

Tenuta di Arceno is a historical winery situated near the medieval village of San Gusme on the rolling hills of Chianti.

This is a powerful Chianti Classico with big, bright fruit and high acidity. The nose displays ripe berries, roses and vanilla bean with undertones of cypress and white pepper. On the palate, the flavors are soft, while the finish shows tart citrus character with hints of black licorice and clove.

The wine possesses all the typical characteristics of Sangiovese from Tuscany: aromas of wild violets, good acidity and balanced tannins.

Food Pairings: Pizza, Eggplant Parmesan, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chicken Parmesan

Recipe: Eggplant Caprese Salad

  • 1 eggplant, sliced thin
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 (8 oz) package of sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 20 basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

eggplant caprese salad

Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and sear on each side until golden. Set aside to cool.

Assemble the salad on a large plate by layering the slices of tomato, eggplant and mozzarella.

Tuck basil leaves between the slices and scatter over the top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for up to 1 hour or serve immediately. Serves 4.

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