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    How Does Chianti Taste? (Flavours & Food Pairings)

    Chianti Taste

    Wine perhaps doesn’t get more romantic than a bottle of Italian red wine shared between two.

    Especially when that wine happens to be a bottle of Chianti.

    But romance and sun soaked imagery aside, what does Chianti taste like? What should you look out for when tasting a Chainti wine?

    What Does Chianti Taste Like?

    Tasting NotesChianti is made according to strict rules and regulations, right in the heart of Tuscany. 

    Chianti may vary slightly from maker to maker but typically these wines will taste tart, spicy and herbaceous, making them excellent wines for food pairing. And you can expect the following tasting notes from Chianti wine:

    • Lucious dark cherries and red fruits
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Dried herbs
    • Tobacco
    • Smokey notes
    • Game meats

    So how can you taste Chianti? 

    How To Taste Chianti? (3 Step Method)

    Process for Tasting WineChianti is all about balance and so the first step to tasting Chianti well is learning how to break down the elements of sugar, acidity and tannins in the wine.

    Step 1. Identify Sweetness 

    There will be no Chianti wines made with residual sugar left, so lucky for you you don’t need to work to guess the sweetness level here, it's always going to be bone dry.

    Step 2. Determine The Acidity 

    Chianti has heaps of acidity, that's what makes it a perfect food wine. 

    A great way to determine how acidic your Chianti is is by paying attention to how much your mouth waters in response, a Chainti with good levels of acidity will literally have you drooling.

    Step 3. Taste The Tannins

    Your mouth doesn’t just alert you to acidity, but makes you aware of tannins too. And Chianti has lots of tannins. 

    Tannins are present in the skins of grapes, which work to give our red wines all of those beautiful deep and dark colours.

    You’ll feel on your tongue and across your gums as tannins tend to create a drying sensation in your mouth. Thankfully Chianti has lots of acidity to help balance this feeling out. 

    So how do these factors affect the taste of Chianti?

    What Affects The Taste of Chianti

    ChiantiChianti is dictated by the grapes used (mostly Sangiovese) and the location, but the presence of tannins and acidity in the finished wine also help to determine a Chianti’s flavour.

    Chianti literally oozes of Italy.

    All those tannins take the form of sharp espresso and smoky tobacco whilst the acidity comes across as sour cherries and balsamic vinegar.

    But what other characteristics are associated with Chianti? 

    What Are Chianti Characteristics?

    Chianti Taste ProfileHere are some of the characteristics associated with a typical glass of Chianti:

    • Body - Chianti wines tend to be medium-high in body, giving them lots of ageing potential.
    • Tannins - Lots of tannins here, with Chianti having enough structure and complexity to rival Bordeaux.
    • Sweetness - There won’t be a trace of residual sugar left in your Chianti
    • Dryness - Chianti wines have to be bone-dry
    • ABV - This will vary, but the majority of Chianti wines will sit somewhere between 12-16% alcohol level.

    But do different types of Chianti have different characteristics?

    How does taste change through the varying levels of Chianti classification?

    3 Types of Chianti Tastes 

    Tobacco, Cherries, VinegarChianti has varying classifications and here's what you can expect taste wise from the different Chiantis you may come across. 

    1. Chianti

    These wines have been aged for 6 months and as a result have lots of bright acidity, making them simple and fresh red wines

    2. Chianti Classico

    Aged for a year you can expect much smoother tannins here with a little more of that tobacco complexity beginning to show.

    3. Chianti Riserva

    Aged for two years and the prized wine of each producer, Chianti Riserva will have lots of vanilla and spice flavours from the time spent in oak. 

    Before You Go...

    Chianti Wine BarrelsAs you can see, there’s a whole array of flavours to be found in Chianti.

    Can’t afford a holiday to Tuscany?

    Well perhaps a bottle of Chianti Classico on the sofa is the next best thing. 

    Read our other Chianti guides here:

    You can browse more posts on Wine Serving and Tasting here

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin