|1. Finca La Emperatriz||2. Domaine de la Rochelierre||3. Claus Preisinger|
The Chianti region of Italy is one of the most famous in the wineuniverse. The vino from these rolling hills has recovered from the somewhat tarnished image of its straw-basket cladding days to become one of the most iconic Italian rossosloved the world over.
Located in beautiful Tuscany about an hour from Renaissance city Florence, this region is home to the family of wines that come under the Chianti heading. Some are young and created for drinking fresh, others are made for patient bottle aging of up to ten years. The most well-known types are Chianti and, hailing from the best vineyards, Chianti Classico with its famous black rooster emblem. In order to gain coveted DOCG designation, the local Sangiovese grape must make up a minimum of 70% of the blend in Chianti and 80% in Chianti Classico. Premium Chiantis aged for at least two years are labeled “Riserva”.
Other local grape varieties like Canaiolo, Trebbiano, and Malvasia also make an appearance but under strict appellation regulations. Very occasionally international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are found in Chianti blends.
Fresh red fruit flavors and spice are the signatures of Chianti while oak-aged, typically higher quality wines display savory, earthy licorice tones. Whatever its age, Chianti has high tannins and acidity and is medium-bodied.
Italian wine is made for food pairing and local dishes are the perfect partners. Tomato-based pastas and pizzas highlight fruity notes while tannins go well with roasts and charcuteries. You can also happily sip Chianti solo. You will find this fresh and friendly red always brings a smile to your lips.
Top 4 Best Wines Similar To Chianti 2021
1. Rioja Reserva, Spain
Deep, spicy, and vibrant, Rioja wines are made from Spain’s premier black grape, Tempranillo. This varietal thrives in regions where the heat of the day is tempered by cool nights, balancing its rich personality. For a similar body to Chianti, go for Rioja Reservas from the Rioja Alta. As its name suggests, this area is elevated allowing fruity, tannic grapes to develop good acidity like their Italian friend. However, the local terroir and winemaking allow for delicious chocolate and tobacco notes to shine through giving Rioja wines their distinct character.
A good wine to try is Finca La Emperatriz Gran Vino which boasts vivid red and black fruit and earthy tones. A leading wine from the Finca La Emperatriz winery, it is made from 70% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, and 5% Viura. Grapes are hand-harvested to protect the delicate qualities of the fruit then aged in French and American oak. Round and deep, savor a glass of this on its own or pair with roast meat and hard cheeses.
2. Fitou, France
You do not have to look far in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region in the south of France to find a racy red wine that can tempt your tastebuds like Chianti. Why not try a wine from the Fitou? This unique and proud appellation is named after a tiny village close to the Mediterranean with a long vine-growing tradition.
A rich and rustic blend traditionally made from sun-loving Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah, Fitou is herby and medium-bodied with just the right touch of tannins.
A fine example is Cuvée Privilege Fitou from Domaine de la Rochelierre. Young, fresh aromas of blackberries play with firm yet gentle tannins and spicy vanilla notes courtesy of aging in new and old oak. This Fitou has a pleasing complexity and that oh so southern French touch of menthol garrigue.
3. Blaufränkisch, Austria
Who would have thought that a black grape from central Italy could find a soulmate in eastern Austria? Blaufränkisch, a varietal which is cultivated in Austria and Hungary, is peppery, spicy, bursting with dark fruit notes, and laced with glittering acidity making it an ideal alternative to Chianti.
Claus Preisingerwinery located in the Mittelburgenland has fast gained a reputation for itsBlaufränkisch largely because of a dry, warm climate which this grape loves. Experiment with a glass of this winery’s Blaufränkisch Kalkstein and discover why this varietal is regarded as one of Austria’s top black grapes. Fruit for this redis organic and grows in a terroir that features nourishing fossil limestone and lime sandstone and undergoes hand picking. A rigorous selection process means only the highest quality grapes make it into the winery. Its interesting flavors are in no small part down to the winemaking; it ferments spontaneously and then ages in its own yeast for eight months in oak. The result is a confident wine with blackberries, wild berries, and fresh forest floor tones. A delicate yet persistent acidity seals the deal. You simply have to try this with central European favorites like schnitzel, bratwurst, goulash, and cheesy dumplings. Prost!
4. Rosso di Montalcino
We are returning to Italy for the final wine that is a fine choice in the exploration for Chianti-like vinos. Found in the hill town of Montalcino back in Tuscany, close to Siena, this red often appears amongst Italian rossos in critics’ top picks lists. Named after its home in typical old-world fashion, Rosso di Montalcino is classy, complex, and elegant. It is made from the same Sangiovese grape that holds such sway in the panoply of Chiantisbut, a testament to terroir expresses itself uniquely. Vibrant and satiny like Chianti, it gives a little more body and rich ripeness.
Tenuta Il Poggione produces the divine Rosso di Montalcino Leopoldo Franceschi aged in Montalcino barrels for 12 months before further bottle aging. Deep ruby red with a fruity nose, red and dark berry notes lead with woody, spicy tones adding to a complex yet accessible palate. Tannins are velvety, acidity is bright, and the finish is long. It is an interesting alternative to Chianti as both wines have so much in common yet display entirely different personalities, a bit like those intriguing twins you know!
Chianti is so satisfying it is no wonder you are on the search for similar wines. Enjoy these alternatives in your wine tasting journey!