Chianti Classico is a renowned wine region nestled nicely in between Tuscany’s Florence, Siena and Arezzo. The grape Sangiovese is the shining star within the region. Chianti Classico, comprised of approximately 18,000 acres, is its own Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the highest level of Italian wine classification. Wine producer Cafaggio is a renowned producer of Chianti Classico with its history dating back to 1408 and once being owned by Benedictine monks.
Cafaggio is beautifully situated among woodlands within the Greve town of Chianti Classico. Its property covers approximately more than 120 acres. More than 60 of these are vineyards with a small area, less than 10 acres, are focused on olive groves. The remaining are peaceful, natural woodlands. Chianti Classico was part of the Chianti DOCG until it separated off into its own DOCG in 1996.
All Chianti Classico wines are identifiable by the prominent black rooster logo (gallo nero) along the neck of the bottle. The Italian government oversees strict regulations on wines made from Chianti Classico to ensure a high level of qualitative production. This includes lower yields per acre and longer minimum period of aging. The wines from Chianti Classico DOCG and Chianti DOCG are different, with Chianti Classico wines of a higher status. And the Gran Selezione wines from Chianti Classico are of the top level. Gran Selezione is the highest pinnacle of all the Chianti Classico wines, sitting higher above the Chianti Classico Riserva level. Gran Selezione level was introduced in 2014 with specific regulations about is production and aging.
Chianti Classico Wines
Cafaggio is renowned in Italy and internationally for its Chianti Classico and Gran Selezione wines. Its focus is on four different wines of Chianti Classico status. They have had great recognition by wine writers from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Decanter and Mundus Vini.
Chianti Classico DOCG – The Chianti Classico is made exclusively from Sangiovese that surrounds the estate located in Cafaggio, Conca d’Oro, Panzano in Chianti. It comes from clay, limestone and calcareous sandstone soil that adds to the taste profile of the wine. All grapes are hand harvested before going through both an alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for about one year in Slavonian oak barrels and then an additional three months in bottle. The taste profile brings forth Bing cherry and raspberry notes with integrated tannins that marry well with its soft vanilla notes. It pairs well with classic meat dishes.
Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG – The Riserva’s Sangiovese grapes are also specifically selected from the Cafaggio, Conca d’Oro and Panzano areas in Chianti. The soils are similar to those of the Chianti Classico. All grapes are manually harvested. Then the wine goes through both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation before it rests in Slavonian oak barrels for 18 months. It sits for an additional three months in bottle before release. Medium-full bodied, it shows dark berry and mocha notes that integrate well with soft hazelnut notes. Pair it with meat dishes with pasta as well as hearty fish, like Salmon or Tuna.
Chianti Classico Riserva Basilica San Martino Gran Selezione DOCG – This single vineyard Chianti is named after the ancient church of San Martino in Cecione, to which it was once attached. This Chianti Classico Riserva is a Gran Selezione. Basilica San Martino is produced from the best grapes within a single vineyard and made from a combination of Sangiovese and two international grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, both used in many Bordeaux wines. Of course, manual harvesting ensues with the end wine sitting in medium-toasted French oak barriques for 18 months and then another six months in bottle. The result includes a full-bodied wine with bold yet smooth tannins, making it a wine with great longevity. The flavor profile includes deep dark berry notes with a hint of earthiness and good minerality making it a great partner with food.
Chianti Classico Riserva Basilica Solatìo Gran Selezione DOCG – Made from Sangiovese from the vineyards of Solatìo, Conca d’Oro and Panzano in Chianti, this selection has Gran Selezione status also. It too grows in soils that are comprised of clay, limestone and calcareous sandstone. After picking the grapes by hand and undergoing alcoholic and malolactic fermentation this Gran Selezione ages for a long 24 months in medium size Slavonian oak barrels before resting another 6 months in bottle. This time of aging gives the wine great complexity and body. It has dark berry notes that beautifully envelope the mouth which dovetail well with prominent tannins and great acidity. These two components merge to make the wine last for many years in the cellar.