Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chianti Classico and the SuperTuscans

Recently there have been a few bloggers that have reported about the inclusion of SuperTuscans at the Chianti Classico tasting organized by the Chianti Classico Consorzio in Florence. This is an annual tasting that is held in February and plans are to include SuperTuscans along with the bottlings of Chianti Classico from the Consorzio producers.

Early information had noted the inclusion of the SuperTuscans, but then a few days later, there was a report of a vote to exclude these wines. I thought I would go to the source to learn what is really happening. I emailed Silvia Fiorentini, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Chianti Classico Consorzio, asking her what will and will not be sampled at the event. Here is her response from an email I received this morning:

"Everything remains unchanged. SuperTuscans (only one per estate and only coming from the Chianti territory) will be presented at the producers' desks."

Hopefully, this clears everything up.

It seems that some wine journalists and bloggers were upset that SuperTuscans would be included in this event, believing that Chianti Classico should not have to share the spotlight with these more hyped wines. The decision as it stands now, seems like a very good solution to what could be a problem. Only allowing one SuperTuscan per producer means that these wines will not dominate. Personally, I believe this will make for a more interesting tasting, as it will give the journalists a chance to compare and contrast.

To me, this is all about common sense; it's not about drawing a line in the sand. As regulations stand now, the difference between a Chianti Classico and a SuperTuscan can be minimal; in fact there are some SuperTuscans that could today be identified as a Chianti Classico, given the changes over the past 15 years in regulations. (Kyle Phillips recently wrote an excellent post on the meaning of SuperTuscans. Read it here and read my followup post here.)

I respect the opinions of those who argue for the purity of Chianti Classico and who are against this decision. But I am in favor of this new pronouncement, as it gives a journalist such as myself the option of trying what I want and organizing a tasting that is best suited to my needs. Trying the various wine types against each other provides an invaluable education and to me learning about Italian wines at events such as these are what makes my job so fascinating; discovering all the wines of this territory is truly an ongoing learning process.

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