Chianti wine versus Chianti Classico, that is the question that we so often hear. What’s the difference between the two?

The answer is actually relatively short: from an enological standpoint, they are two different wine producing areas or zones in Tuscany. Chianti is a relatively large area, which is divided into sub-zones. Chianti Classico is one of those sub-zones, and in fact the first one – in the same way as brie is a sub-type of cheese. It’s just a matter of greater precision, and one that members of the Chianti Classico Consortium feel strongly about. Chianti and Chianti Classico are two distinct and separate DOCGs, with two different sets of production regulations, production zones and consortiums for the protection of the product.

The fact that many people – even wine experts – refer to Chianti and sometimes erroneously omit the “Classico” when talking about wine from the Chianti Classico area is partially due to the fact that from a geographic and historic standpoint, Chianti is the correct term for the area south of Florence. So if you’re coming to visit our Chianti Classico winery near the town of Castelnuovo Berardenga, you’d also be correct in saying that you’re spending the day in the Chianti part of Tuscany! (Read this article about where is Chianti).

The confusion harks back to the 18th century, when the Grand Duke Cosimo III officially published a decree (in 1716) delimiting the territories of four wine producing regions in Tuscany: Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Vald’Arno di Sopra. This was Italy’s first “DOC”. With time, however, the borders of this territory widened significantly. With two decrees in 1924 and 1932, the wine makers in the original area that the duke had called “Chianti” created their own consortium that applied only to these original boundaries, and that became rebranded “Chianti Classico”. The larger area became known as just “Chianti”.

Wines grown in the distinct area subject to the Chianti Classico Consortium is recognizable by the symbol of a black rooster. So next time you “sit back and have a glass of Chianti” as yourself – is this Chianti, or Chianti Classico?

 

 

 

If you’ve never heard of Prowein 2017 than you don’t know what you’ve been missing! This one of the most renowned Wine&Spirits events and it is held every year, during the first week of March, in Düsseldorf, Germany. Considered a “fair for decision makers”, it is only accessible to trade visitors from the retail, restaurant, hotel and catering sectors.

Its story goes way back to 1994, when it was still called PRO VINS and occupied just one hall of Dusseldorf’s Exhibition Centre with 321 suppliers, mostly from Europe. It now counts 6257 exhibitors from 59 countries and has become the centre of all wine-related activities worldwide.

Our Stand H50 in Chianti Classico's Pad 16

Our Stand H50 in Chianti Classico’s Pad 16

Prowein works all year long to support, inform and raise awareness on the art and business of winemaking. They have also founded their very own magazine which features the latest trends, wine regions, upcoming markets and much more. To make the fair experience easier to navigate, Prowein 2017 has also designed its very own app that visitors can download for free. The fair also hosts more than 500 events (specialist lectures, seminars and tastings) and has set up specific areas dedicated to the various declinations of the multifaceted world of wine and spirits: the Fizz Lounge is the beating pop hear of the fair, focused on mixology and the art of cocktail making, while the Champagne Lounge is pure heaven for all you bubbly lovers. The “Same But Different” section focuses on fostering conversations on creative marketing while the Packaging & Design section displays some of the most interesting and groundbreaking visual solutions for both product and communication.

Dievole's Director Stefano Capurso at Prowein 2017

Dievole’s Director Stefano Capurso at Prowein 2017

The city of Düsseldorf itself partakes in the boozy merriment, cheering on to the motto “Prowein Goes City!” with a calendar of widespread off-location events that will take you off the beaten path and offer you a one-of-a-kind approach to the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia.

From the 19th to the 21st of March, Dievole will be bringing a piece of Tuscany to Prowein 2017 and we can’t wait to introduce our new line of Chianti Classico wines (Chianti Classico Vintage DOCG 2015 and Novecento Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014) to the fairs wine-savvy crowd.

Wir sehen uns bald, Düsseldorf Prowein 2017!

ps: Check out our new line of Tuscan wine Le Due Arbie: red, white and rosé!

#TasteWithColor - experience wine with all your senses!

#TasteWithColor – experience wine with all your senses!

Italy is home to some of the world’s most popular and admired monuments, so it’s no surprise that millions of people travel to this country yearly to see a variety of historical, architectural and religious wonders (natural and manmade). Here is a list of the most important tourist attractions in Italy and how to best experience them. We consider the off-season months as the best times to visit most of these attractions for a less-crowded experience and moderate weather. But even if you can’t travel off-season, or prefer the hot weather, there are ways to make the most crowded attractions bearable!

Florence: Michelangelo’s David

The David | Photo wikipedia Clayton Tang

The David | Photo wikipedia Clayton Tang

Standing 17 feet tall (5.17 m) and weighing more than 12,000 pounds (5,000 kg), Michelangelo’s David is one of the most impressive statues in the world. Michelangelo sculpted this biblical hero from one large piece of Carrara marble. In addition to the sculpture’s size and anatomical perfection, people praise Michelangelo’s unconventional representation of the figure. Instead of depicting David after he conquers Goliath like many artists, Michelangelo sculpts the boy before battle: focused, relaxed and alert. The statue is displayed in its own space in the Galleria dell’Accademia, and to avoid waiting many hours in line, we suggest buying tickets online as far in advance as possible. You’ll pick them up at the ticket office and be directed to the reserved line-up, which still can take about half an hour. But you won’t be lining up around the block! When inside, don’t just stop at the David. Upstairs is a museum with one of the most important collections of Medieval Florentine art, while on the ground floor to the right of the area you’ve seen for the David there is an excellent museum of musical instruments.

Pisa: Piazza dei Miracoli

Piazza dei Miracoli is Pisa | Photo Steve Slater on Flickr

Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa | Photo Steve Slater on Flickr

When visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we recommend going to the Piazza dei Miracoli at sunset. This time offers a great photo opportunity with the golden sky behind the tower, cathedral and baptistery. Some tourists pose for a picture and leave, but we suggest going to the Sinopie Museum, named after the drawing technique “sinopia,” which pre-dates Renaissance fresco painting. Then, explore other attractions Pisa has to offer like the botanical gardens.

Cinque Terre

Manarola - Cinque Terre | Photo Bastien M on Flickr

Manarola – Cinque Terre | Photo Bastien M on Flickr

In these five towns, the high season runs from Easter until mid to late October. We suggest visiting for longer than a day (three days would be ideal!) to best experience the beauty and small-town culture. It tends to be very crowded during high season daytimes, so that’s why staying overnight is a must. If you stay longer in one of the small towns, you’ll see the area once the tourists have left for the day. From aperitivo to breakfast, the place is calm and relaxing. Additionally, consider buying the Cinque Terre Card Train (16 Euro one-day pass) for unlimited train travel, so you can hop on and off between towns.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Basilica stands at the east end of the large Piazza San Marco, just off Venice’s Grand Canal. Its ornate façade foreshadows what visitors can expect to see inside. Beautiful gold and stone mosaics cover the ceilings while precious art and other treasures are displayed in every room. If you are visiting Venice during the high tourist months (April-September), we suggest purchasing “skip the line” tickets online. For a great view of Piazza San Marco and the lagoon, you can buy access tickets to St. Mark’s Museum on site, which include a visit to the high terrace. To really make the most of this experience, reserve your ticket between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. while the lights are turned on inside. You will see the gold mosaics glow.

Rome: The Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome | Photo Never House on Flickr

Colosseum in Rome | Photo Never House on Flickr

The Colosseum is a must-see Roman attraction. With an extensive, dramatic history, we recommend booking a tour guide to illustrate the ancient amphitheater’s purpose and function. Otherwise, without extensive reading it can just look like a ruin! A tip for those on a tight time schedule: the colosseum is typically packed with people year-round, so look at a map before you start walking through the remains… there is only one exit point, which can be difficult to find.

Vatican City: Vatican Museums

St. Peter's Basilica | Photo Lorenzoclick on Flickr

St. Peter’s Basilica | Photo Lorenzoclick on Flickr

The Vatican Museums is one of the largest collections of art in the world, housing a range of paintings and sculpture from ancient Egypt to the end of the Renaissance. Unless you have a degree in art history and the stamina of a marathoner, it’s a good idea to hire a qualified guide for a small group tour of this museum – someone who can explain and show you the main artworks as well as take you through the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Sistine Chapel is crowded and staff tries to herd you through it, unhappy to have people standing in key areas. Despite this, to fully understand the iconography, you should try to stop somewhere near the entrance wall and look up to get your bearings before taking a more central stance further down towards the altar. This is a unique experience, try not to let the crowds get to you!

Pompeii

Pompeii with Vesuvius in background | Photo ElfQrin on wikipedia- Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Pompeii with Vesuvius in background | Photo ElfQrin on wikipedia- Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Frozen – or rather melted – in time due to the explosion of nearby Vesuvius volcano in 79AD, Pompeii is one of the best preserved ancient Roman cities in the world. The perils visitors encounter at this UNESCO Heritage site, other than a bit of a line-up at the entrance, are mostly related to size and heat. Many people don’t realize its expansive size, plus in the summertime, this archeological area south of Naples gets hot, very hot! The two can make for an uncomfortable combination, so be sure to wear a sun hat and comfortable shoes, and bring water and snacks – there are not a lot of snack areas available inside. In terms of the best way to understand what you’re looking at, there are some good apps available that will help you imagine what the ruins might have looked at and how they were once used.

Capri: the Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto, or Grotta Azzura, is a cave found on the hillside of Italy’s paradise island of Capri. This cave is unique in that the sunlight hits the water at a particular angle, illuminating the space with a bright blue hue. This is one of may people’s “bucket list” places, and there’s nothing that is going to make it less crowded (like a best time to visit), so you kind of have to judge if you think it’s really going to be worth going. There may be more beautiful grotto or boat experiences elsewhere in Italy, without the crowd. But if you’ve got your heart set on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, here’s what you need to know. You can only enter by water, so boats constantly crowd the small opening for their short entry slot. This crowd is compounded by the fact that entrance is not always possible – it depends on the tides. We suggest buying an all-inclusive boat tour around the island in order to see more of this beautiful landscape; this also includes a visit to the Blue Grotto. The larger boat will wait at a distance while a guide on a smaller rowboat takes you inside. Patience is key!

 

Writing by Torie Gray

Just south of Dievole’s historic estate, there is a precious parcel of land known as Le Due Arbie. Named after the Arbia stream – mentioned by Dante Alighieri himself in his immortal oeuvre “The Divine Comedy” – and Arbiola waterways that chase after each other along the green, hilly meanders of our beloved Chianti territory. This land has fathered our new line of Tuscan wines, three free-spirited varieties in bottles whose innovative, sleek design will make you an even prouder host at the dinner table. Get ready to discover what it really means to #TasteWithColor.

Live in the moment with Le Due Arbie White Wine

Crisp and alive with floral and fruity overtones, our Le Due Arbie IGT white wine 2016 is a wonderfully balanced blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, Sauvignon and Chardonnay grape varieties. Its potential lives in the now – it’s one of those bottles that need to be served cold and finished off before sunrise, ideal for light aperitivi, laughter-filled dinners and evening promenades with a view. Bright lemon yellow, clean aromas of peach, apple and pineapple – Le Due Arbie white wine is prepared through a cold vinification process and refined in steel vats for 3 months. This white wine is of a burgeoning youth, almost impatient to be enjoyed, swirled in a glass, held between the tips of attentive fingers and sipped rhythmically as droplets of condensation adorn its rim and the last lights of day fade into the crevice where land and sky meet.

 

A Rose is still a rose: Le Due Arbie Rosato

Our Le Due Arbie Rosé is the queen of all things sweet and tangy!

Our Le Due Arbie Rosé is the queen of all things sweet and tangy!

This light and balanced pink sensation humors its bold 100% Sangiovese structure with surprisingly harmonious hints of grapefruit and white peach. As if caught in perpetual blush, its color echoes the shape-shifting hues of nacre and cherry blossoms, while its silky, lush texture courts and conquers both spicy and mediterranean dishes. Aged 3 months in steel vats, the winemaking process involves gently pressing the grapes while separating them from stalks from the must, followed by a slow and constant 35-day fermentation at 17-18°. this romantic rosé is both tangy and ripe, ready to be uncorked, poured and avidly consumed till the last drop. Rosé, rosato, rosado – call it what you want, for a rose is still a rose and you have to try this amazing Rosato Le Due Arbie IGT Toscana 2016.

 

Red revolution: a new kind of IGT red wine

It takes creativity, bravery and solid roots to breathe new life into a timeless classic but Dievole rose to the challenge. We paired up our winemaking skills and centurylong tradition with the desire to create something new and inebriating, an IGT wine of unprecedented freshness, made with 70% Sangiovese and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Aged for 9 Months, this red rage’s fury has been tamed and coaxed into a velvety charm – its pleasing tannins and lingering aftertaste just scream “drink me now and you will have no regrets”. Our Rosso Le Due Arbie IGT Toscana 2015 pairs perfectly with traditional tuscan dishes such as ribollita, pasta and grilled meat.

Surrounding the Arno River and with more than two thousand years of history, Florence is one of the most traveled to cities in the world. Tuscany’s capital offers visitors myriad of activities, art to see and foods to eat. The list can seem somewhat daunting for Florence first-timers, which is why many travelers make it their mission to return. If you are venturing back to the city and you’ve already checked off the top tourist attractions, here is a list of our unconventional favorite things to do in Florence.

 

Churches

With Brunelleschi’s Cupola at the very center of the historic city, it’s hard for some travelers to see potential in the other churches found throughout Florence. Orsanmichele holds years of civic and religious history. It was first the city’s grain storage and marketplace, but thanks to a “miraculous” Madonna it became a church. During the great plague of 1348, people would come and pray to Bernardo Daddi’s Maddona and Child in hopes of a miraculous cure. In the niches of Orsanmichele’s exterior, you can see a few original patron saint statues, which were commissioned by guilds in the 1300s. However, most of these have now been replaced with replicas, and the originals restored and housed on the upper floor in a museum that can be visited only on Mondays (for free!).

 

Another gem that rarely sees groups of tourists is the Church of Santa Trinità. Sandwiched between two impressive palazzi, the church features important Renaissance paintings on the side chapels inside it. To the right of the high altar don’t miss the beautifully restored frescoes by Ghirlandaio in which you might recognize a few key scenes in Florence.

San Miniato al Monte | Photo Fraser Deziel via Flickr

San Miniato al Monte | Photo Fraser Deziel on Flickr

If you’re feeling up for a short hike, San Miniato al Monte is definitely worth your time and energy. This basilica and monastery sits on a hill overlooking the Arno River, where you are treated to a spectacular view of Florence. Turn around and you’ll see a gold mosaic sparkling at the top of the church’s facade. Most tourists stop here, but we encourage you to explore San Miniato’s ornate interior. Stick around until 5:30 p.m. and you can hear the monks’ Gregorian chant.

 

Views

View of Florence Duomo | Photo Étoiles Filantes via Flickr

View of Florence Duomo | Photo Étoiles Filantes on Flickr

Florence offers many vantage points from which you can peer down at the city. One lesser-known spot is the Oblate Library. Stop by for an afternoon coffee at the library café and the large-scale view of the Duomo will surprise you.

Palazzo Vecchio | Photo Sean X Liu via Flickr

Palazzo Vecchio | Photo Sean X Liu on Flickr

Another spot with a great viewpoint is the top of the Tower of Arnolfo at Palazzo Vecchio. Although climbing 416 steps is a requirement, you are rewarded with a panoramic view of Florence with Tuscan hills faint in the background.

Rose Garden | Photo Yann Le Moing via Flickr

Rose Garden | Photo Yann Le Moing on Flickr

If you’re looking to lunch with a view, we suggest packing a picnic and heading up to the Rose Garden which is located just below Piazzale Michelangelo, but most people don’t know to scoot down the steps to reach it! During the spring and summer, the fragrance of the many types of roses cultivated here is rather intoxicating, making the garden park a perfect spot to read and relax, as well as have a snack.

 

Florentine Culture

Fiorentina Soccer Match | Photo Ben Mangels via Flickr

Fiorentina Soccer Match | Photo Ben Mangels on Flickr

For frequent Florence flyers, we challenge you to dive into the Florentine culture by attending a Fiorentina soccer match. Similar to the atmosphere at a football game in the States, it’s lively, exciting and rather noisy! Inside the stadium, you can truly understand Fiorentina fans’ passion for the sport.

 

Additionally, we recommend signing up for a fresco painting class offered by Muse Firenze. These classes are held in the Palazzo Vecchio (the city’s medieval seat of government and now a museum) and you can request a time and date online. After a quick history lesson from the instructor, you are given a board to create your own Renaissance replica. He explains fresco technique and you paint using pigments suspended water on wet plaster, just as Giotto would have 700 years ago.

Sant'Ambrogio Market | Photo Eric Parker via Flickr

Sant’Ambrogio Market | Photo Eric Parker on Flickr

Another favorite Florence activity is shopping at one of the weekly outdoor markets, which are piled high with flowers, fruits and vegetables. We suggest visiting the Sant’Ambrogio market for authentic Italian goods and produce.

 

One evening during your stay, consider attending a classical music concert at Florence’s relatively new opera house. Opened in 2014, Opera di Firenze is the concert hall of the Maggio Musicale and features stellar acoustics. Concerts are held here throughout most of the year.

 

Food and Drink

Rolling ravioli | Photo Garin Fons via Flickr

Rolling ravioli | Photo Garin Fons on Flickr

Get to know Tuscan cuisine by taking a cooking class, where you might learn how to make hand-made pasta like ravioli, or to create some of the region’s most delicious and savory dishes.

 

Besides cooking your own, there are a few culinary adventures we advise. Trippa and lampredotto, the local boiled offal, are staples of the Florentine diet. Throughout the city center, there are food stands where you can order a trippa or lampredotto sandwich. Chefs cook the meat in a spicy vegetable broth and then serve it on a fluffy bun with green sauce.

View of the Arno River | Photo Antonio Cinotti via Flickr

View of the Arno River | Photo Antonio Cinotti on Flickr

Florence resides in the heart of wine country, so it is fitting that you enjoy a glass after touring the city. The best way to do so is while sitting at an enoteca along the Arno. Check out this list of best wine bars in Florence to find the perfect spot to sip and savor.

Piazza Santo Spirito | Photo David Jones via Flickr

Piazza Santo Spirito | Photo David Jones on Flickr

One of the local hot spots is Piazza Santo Spirito. Florentines and Italians fill this piazza during the summer months. It is a great environment to sit, have an aperitivo, and relax while people watching.

 

These are just a few of the quirky, fun attractions in Florence. We hope you enjoy exploring the city and find some secluded favorites of your own.

 

Writing by Torie Gray

If you’re passionate about drinking wine, you may have wondered if you should up your level of knowledge by getting a sommelier certification. There are many educational bodies around the world that offer courses leading up to diplomas or certifications in wine, but do you need to do one, or would you be best off without formal training? Let’s look at a few situations and options.

First, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you plan on working, or already work in, in a fine restaurant?
  • Do you want to work in wine marketing or sales?
  • Do you require proof of your knowledge for your curriculum?

Sommelier certification with one of the internationally-recognized bodies is something you’ll want to have on your CV if you plan on becoming, say, head sommelier in a Michelin-starred restaurant, or work in a winery. For example, just to take the Introductory course and exam at the Court of Master Sommeliers, you must have already worked in food and beverage service for three years – and that’s the first of four exams that can take up to 10 years to complete.

A more self-guided process is offered by the UK-based WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust), which is approachable also for novices and consists more of exams than of formal courses. In Italy, AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier) is the only internationally recognized body; with its 3 levels it takes just short of 3 years to become fully certified. These are the three probably most important educational iters that will prepare you for work in the wine sector. You’ll come out with solid technical knowledge, many hours of practise, and the diploma or certificate that you can put on your CV.

On the other hand, if you don’t need a sommelier certification for work, but just to further your passion, you might benefit more from a locally organized seminar or by plotting your own course of study. In every country there are beginner courses as well as thematic seminars and opportunities to get to know wines better. For example, in London, auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s both run introduction and thematic classes in wine in prestigious locations. In Italy, having solid wine knowledge is so common that there are tons of choices for basic and inexpensive course series – some actually sponsored by the ministry of agriculture! – that result in a locally-recognized certificate.

Outside of formal training, there may be wine clubs in your city that offer social events with tastings of ranges of wines that will simply expand your palate’s understanding of the many vintages in the world. In Toronto, Canada, for example, there’s an Italian wine club, one dedicated exclusively to South-African wines, and another for wines of the province of Ontario. Attending a few of these evenings will not only up your knowledge but provide opportunity to meet others with your same interest, with whom to organize future travel to meet winemakers and learn on the spot. Go in even deeper by becoming a board member of one of these clubs!

If you don’t live in Italy or in a major international city, fear not. Chances are you do have a local wine store that might offer tastings, or if they don’t, you can probably convince them to start. Finally, there’s a lot you can do on your own, with a book (see our “best books about wine”) or an online course (of which there are many).

Last but not least, in the category of “choose your own adventure,” travel may be the best form of education about wine and food and wine culture. You can visit wineries around the world, meet winemakers and find out how each place’s specific terroir contributes to different results. Most wineries have information to book a wine tasting on their website, and it’s a good idea to always do so in advance.

So, what have you decided? Do you need a sommelier certification, or will you continue to expand your knowledge by some of the other means we’ve talked about here?

Everybody loves Italian food. Although pizza, pasta, tomato sauce and wine are the staples of our international fame, every Italian region – and sometimes even every city – has its own special ingredients, recipes and flavours. Yes, you got that right: in Italy you’ll never eat the same thing twice. That is why you can’t miss Taste 2017, a food&drink fair that offers a 360° experience of delicious delicacies produced all over the boot. From North to South, from sweet to salty, you will find everything you have ever dreamt of savouring in the mouthwateringly vast olympus of Italy’s traditional cuisine. The event takes place every year at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence and has become one of the most famous food fairs worldwide with journalists, gastro-gurus, curious companies, bloggers and foodies coming from all over the world.

Taste is the truest celebration of Italian food and its incredible tradition developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots stretching all the way to the olden days. Created by Italian journalist and “gastronauta” Davide Paolini and Pitti Immagine – the brand behind #PittiUomo – this year will host more than 380 local producers and companies from all over Italy selected through a strict quality control process.

This year Taste 2017 celebrates the twelfth edition and focuses on how we use food to express and experiment with taste. What we eat actually communicates and conveys our belief system, cultural and social backgrounds and experiences. The food industry is using the latest technology in the production processes, so it is extremely important to recognise and remember that each food we choose to eat has its own tradition and history.

Stazione Leopolda is the official venue since the first edition. Just a few blocks away from the central Santa Maria Novella station, it is easily reachable by public transportation (bus, tram) and by foot. This building actually hosted Florence’s first railway station, but thanks to in-depth restoration it is now a meeting center with a modern and international design. It hosts a wide range of culinary, music and fashion events throughout the whole year. For Taste, it changes its standard lighting design in order to direct all attention on the true star of the fair: delicious food and drink.

Apart from its culinary appeal,  the festival also features book presentations, cooking shows, tastings and meet&greets with some of the most famous Italian chefs. At the Taste Shop area, each visitor can know more and buy the newest products before their official launch on the general market and test the latest inventions for professional or amateur foodies.

Fuori di Taste is the name of a series of off-site events that takes place througout the entire city. It fills Florence and its most famous restaurants with dinners, aperitivi, shows, debates and all sort of events devoted to food and taste. This year more than 150 events are included on the official programme.

Dievole will be present with our new line of Chianti Classico wine and EVOOs. Our staff we will be glad to meet you at stand n# D15.

 

Visitor Information:
Pitti Taste 2017
From March 11th to March 13th

Stazione Leopolda
Via Fratelli Roselli, 5
50144 Florence

Opening Hours:
Saturday: from 2.30 to 7.30 pm
Sunday: from 2.30 to 7.30 pm
Monday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

Official Website

Featured Image by AKA studio-collective

 

Being a wine lover (how could you not be, if you’ve landed on our blog?), you have certainly heard of the Consorzio Chianti Classico but have you ever wondered what this denomination actually means for all the wine-cellars present within its jurisdiction? To be a part of the Chianti Classico family is synonymous of quality, dedication and passion for Tradition with a capital T. Consorzio Chianti Classico has become a worldwide love-mark and we’re proud to be a part of it with our wines.

The birth of Consorzio Chianti Classico

The Chianti Classico territory - we're in Castelnuovo Berardenga!

A map of the Chianti Classico territory – we’re in Castelnuovo Berardenga!

The Consorzio Chianti Classico’s history goes way back to Medicean times, when in 1716 Cosimo the Third, grand duke of Tuscany, officially traced the borders of what would become one of the world’s most appreciated wine-producing areas. The Chianti Consorzio was officially created in 1924 in order to safeguard and protect its products and producers. With the expansion of the area, a ministerial  decree was issued to add the adjective “Classico” to the pre-existing Consorzio, in order to distinguish its wines from the ones produced outside of the original boundaries marked in 1716. In 1984 Chianti Classico obtained the prestigious DOCG status (There are currently only a handful of Italian wines that qualify for this coveted category).

The Territory and its wines

Consorzio Chianti Classico is about high quality: we tend to our vines constantly!

Consorzio Chianti Classico is about high quality: we tend to our vines constantly!

The Chianti Classico area comprises over 71.800 hectares of Tuscan soil, spreading between Florence and Siena, considered the capitals of this world-renowned wine region. If you feel like visiting the area, take a walk on the so-called “Strade del Vino” (Wine roads), paths that have existed since Etruscan times and lead across the heart of Chianti Classico. Although its terrain, climate and altitude might result unfavourable to most crops, the stretch of land where Chianti Classico wines grow has tamed both man and vine to perfection. To flock with the Black Rooster (the legendary trademark of Chianti Classico – always make sure that this symbol is present when you’re on the lookout for authentic CC bottles), the wine must be made up of at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. Blends can include only indigenous red grapes such as Canaiolo Nero and Colorino, or international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each Chianti Classico wine has to respond to certain organoleptic characteristics and strictly controlled winemaking techniques. The wine must be clear, of a ruby-red hue, with hints of red fruit and dry, soft, tannins. There are three different categories of Chianti Classico wine: the recently introduced Gran Selezione (produced with the best grapes of a single vine, aged 30 months – of which 3 are in the bottle), Riserva (24 months ageing – of which 3 are in the bottle) and Annata (vintage). At this year’s Chianti Classico Collection, an annual event where only Chianti Classico producers are allowed to display their wines, we presented our Novecento Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 and Chianti Classico 2015 vintage. By law, Chianti Classico wines can only be sold in glass bordolese wine bottles or the typical Tuscan flasks exclusively topped with a cork stopper.

We, the children of Consorzio Chianti Classico

Our future Chianti Classico is resting in our cellar...

Our future Chianti Classico is resting in our cellar…

Apart from attending special events and abiding to certain rules, what does it mean to be a part of the Consorzio Chianti Classico? For us at Dievole, it means family, respect for tradition, an oath to protect our Tuscan roots. It means that, alongside our over 600 fellow winemakers, we are the flag-bearers of something that has truly shaped the history of wine and, although we follow similar production steps from grape to bottle, we have managed to create our own separate worlds where nuances, details and carefully sought-after peculiarities make each wine recognisable, unique and gives it its own voice. Although we  are brought together by the same name, our true wealth lies in the diversity, personality and splendid variety of our wines. We, the children of the great Consorzio Chianti Classico family, the Black Rooster’s industrious chicks, are driven by only one mission: to make great Tuscan wine.

In the world of art, women and wine are considered among the most powerful muses with their inebriating qualities – but what kind of fascinating stories tie them together? Did you know that there was a time that women actually couldn’t drink wine? Throughout history, here are a few examples across painting and poetry that illustrate the steps that this timeless pairing has taken to fully embrace its splendour and revolutionary might.

Women and Wine: Maenads and Bacchus

 Tondo of an Ancient Greek Attic white-ground kylix 490–480 BC from Vulci.

Tondo of an Ancient Greek Attic white-ground kylix 490–480 BC from Vulci.

In order to truly understand the profound, symbolic and sometimes tricky relationship between women and wine, we must refer to the mythological world of the ancient Greeks. The God of Wine, Dionysus (also known as “Bacchus”) was often followed and worshipped by the Maenads, that somewhat embodied wine’s power to excite, inebriate and lead to other dimensions of heightened sensitivity. Often displayed in Art and Poetry, Maenads are depicted while they spread the cult of Dionysus, as they partake in divine rites and dance in a sort of mystic frenzy. Demonic dancing aside, they were also said to perform miracles (Turning water into wine, making wine magically spurt from the earth). So together, wine and women have been known to generate a relation of astounding strength, often frowned upon for it affirmed a state of unprecedented independence and unconventionality.

Women and Wine in Poetry and Song

"Who does not Love Wine Wife & Song will be a Fool for his Lifelong!"

“Who does not Love Wine Wife & Song will be a Fool for his Lifelong!”

For centuries artists have been praising women and wine in their work, singing about “lips as sweet as wine” or creating rhymes on lust, love and grapevines. Poet Pablo Neruda once said “Let the wine pitcher / add to the kiss of love its own”, while William Butler Yeats wrote “Wine comes in at the mouth/ And love comes in at the eye; / That’s all we shall know for truth / Before we grow old and die / I lift the glass to my mouth /I look at you, and I sigh”.

Not only men called upon wine’s inspirational qualities – many women authors have been known for their love of the “liquid muse”, sometimes damned by it because of the rigid society they were surrounded by and the difficult lives they would lead. Things have much changed and women are now empowered and encouraged to pursue their creative goals.

Women and wine in painting

Women and Wine through the eyes of Henri di Toulouse-Lautrec

Women and Wine through the eyes of Henri di Toulouse-Lautrec

This unconventional relationship can often be found in paintings from across all centuries, from the Flemish painters (Jan Vermeer’s “The Glass of Wine”, for example)  to the pre-raphaelites (Their muses were of a  boisterous, eccentric, statuesque beauty – so different from conventional Victorian standards!) and famous French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

"Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses" By pre-raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse

“Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses” By pre-raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse

In Art it must be said, however, that the relationship between woman and wine is double-sided and can also be quite ambiguous (as was the aforementioned bond between Bacchus and his female following). Women were mostly known for serving wine – not drinking it, so there was always something peculiar, fascinating and almost scandalous in a woman bringing a glass to her lips. Nowadays this kind of social prejudice is finally fading into acceptance and appreciation – women sommelier and winemakers are on the rise!

 

Any wine lover will have a bucket list of places to visit based on fantastic wines tasted on various occasions, such as social events, parties, wine clubs or the like. As we all know, great wine is always made in beautiful places, since vines tend to enjoy growing in favourable climates just as we enjoy visiting them. So what if we could travel around the world, just visiting the greatest places for wine? Where would you start, and where would you stop?

There are over 10,000 grape varietals worldwide and many that turn into outstanding wines., In some cases they’ve put their area on the map, like Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or pinotage from South Africa. Thinking about this, we’ve put together a possible trip around the world based on visiting wineries and tasting their wines. Of course no trip could do anything but provide a small “tasting” of all the possible venues that exist today.

Let’s assume you’re starting in North America and traveling East from there, though, this being a dream itinerary, feel free to start at any point!

Napa Valley in fall | photo Malcom Carlaw on Flickr

Napa Valley in fall | photo Malcom Carlaw on Flickr

Napa Valley (California, USA) – The Napa Valley counts more than 400 wineries, where Cabernets, fruity Merlots, and Chardonnays dominate the scene. Visiting these producers is usually a beautifully organized event, with some offering contemporary art or food pairing experiences that make for a brilliant day out. If you are already on the West Coast, make a short hop to Oregon, where stunning Pinot Noirs are to be found.

Chile – Chile has been a wine producing country since the 16th century, with many of it’s valleys producing consistent good value wines and some stunning reds. It has been associated with Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. But like many new world wine areas, Chile has adopted a signature grape variety, Carménère, once widely grown in Bordeaux before the 19th century Phylloxera outbreaks.

Mendoza (Argentina) – The Mendoza wine growing region is a New World red wine mecca with a desert climate that’s perfect for growing biodynamic wines with aromatic and intense flavours due to the high altitude and long growing season. A major volume producer, the area has more recently focused on premium wine production, where the Malbec grape leads the way. One to watch? Check out Bodega Argento.

Bodega Garzon's property

Bodega Garzon’s property

Uruguay – While you’re in the area you might as well hope on over to Uruguay, a new destination for wine travel (only a small amount of its production is exported) that has been coming into its own and developing a true sense of its own unique tradition. Here, you mix European heritage with traditional South American features like yerba mate tea and Charùa cuisine. Producing international grapes like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc., the area’s unique climate makes for fresh and drinkable vintages. The signature grape is Tannat with a direct link to southern France and northern Spain. A visit to the large and sustainable Bodega Garzon might be the closest you can get to Tuscany without flying to the other side of the world, with its olive groves and extensive terraced vines.

The Cairns Winery in Ontario | Photo Gary J. Wood

The Cairns Winery in Ontario | Photo Gary J. Wood

Southern Ontario (Canada) – This region bordering on the state of New York has recently been gathering accolades and makes for an interesting visit. In particular, this is the only place you’ll taste original ice wine – since the weather can be extreme enough to make it! Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux varieties abound. On top of the wine, you’ll get to visit the world-famous Niagara Falls which are just stunning.

Rhine Valley (Germany) – White-wine lovers who also enjoy bratwurst and castles ought to hit up the Rhine valley for the Riesling, as the variety originated here. Pure fruit, with a shining personality and surprising depth, it’s worth investigating some of the area’s top wineries in person to experience the great range of this grape.

View from Chateau Soutard | Photo by Dennis Jarvis

View from Chateau Soutard | Photo by Dennis Jarvis

France – In France you have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to wine… would you go to Burgundy? Bordeaux? The Loire (if you prefer whites) or Rhône Valleys? The varieties first grown in these regions (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cab Sauvignon) have become rightly famous and loved to the point that they are now cultivated “internationally”. French wines hit the market already aged, and with an uncountable number of small wineries, there are some serious gems just waiting to be tasted. Just about anywhere you visit will be memorable, so tailor this part of your trip based on any other interests you might have; for example, the Loire Valley also has marvelous castles to visit, which might provide a bit of a break from all this eating and drinking.

Dievole wine tours in Tuscany

Dievole wine tours in Tuscany

Tuscany (Italy) – Italy is synonymous with wine, but its center and North are where the best stuff is made. Perhaps one of the most famous and oldest denominations is the Chianti Classico region, which certainly merits a visit also for its extreme natural beauty. Tuscany’s signature grape is Sangiovese, and a trip here means discovering the many expressions of this fruit based on terroir. But don’t forget the Super Tuscans from Bolgheri, the now quite famous area on the coast.

Portugal – While still in Europe, a hop over to Portugal is an interesting addition to this itinerary. The mountainous Alentejo region south-east of Lisbon is now emerging is a world-class wine destination producing age-worthy reds thanks to scorching hot summers, clay terrain and mitigating ocean winds, and is leading Portugal’s wine renaissance. Visit the region’s capital city, Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring an important Roman temple.

Stellenbosch Vineyard | Photo Dan Baxter

Stellenbosch Vineyard | Photo Dan Baxter

South Africa – From Portugal it’s a straight shot down (although a long flight!) to South Africa, where you’ll want to fly into Cape Town and head to the Western Cape region, where most of the country’s wine comes from. With over 300 years of winemaking history, the area has bridged the gap between old world and new. The grapes that have made this area famous most recently are Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Pinotage.

Australia – Australia ranks sixth in the world in wine production and is the fourth largest exporter of wine. With a huge range of climatic and geographical conditions, it is one of the world’s most versatile wine growing countries. The portfolio is as complete as one can imagine with cult Shiraz, Rhone style blends, etc from South Australia’s famous Barossa, Eden and Claire valleys making up half of the country’s total output.

Marlborough region | Photo Bernard Spragg

Marlborough region | Photo Bernard Spragg

New Zealand – Our wine trip around the world wouldn’t be complete without a stop in New Zealand! The whole country’s climate makes it ideal for grape growing, and you’re never far from a tasting room, so that’s the great (grape!) news. While the Marlborough region is by far the largest and best known for sauvignon blanc, a visit here might be an opportunity to also explore the smaller areas like Nelson (with its light reds and aromatic whites) or Canterbury (the newcomer with elegant cool climate whites).

 

We know we’ve just given you a “taste” of your options, but we’d love to hear if you’re planning a trip around the world based on wine, and where you will be stopping!