June 24, 2012

Chianti Classico - new classification for whom?

The best wine of the holiday was a Chianti Classico from Marchese Antinori. I choose it as I thought it should be a great companion to the dinner. It was. But it also made me reflect about the news Decanter reported on some days ago; the proclamation of a new classification in Chianti Classico.

The Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico has together with the producers decided to launch a category for the very top wines. But is there a need for the new category? Apparently, the majority think so. However, the interviewed Paolo De Marchi from the Isola e Olena winery was not convinced.
Well, do we need another Chianti classification? I guess that depends on who you wants to approach. The ordinary consumer does not mind. These are not wines in the price range demanded. The knowledgeable wine connoisseur will probably neither benefit from the added information. The connoisseur already knows the producers and the wines to look for. Quality goes before classification. Or should I express it as brand is more important than classification?
When the super tuscans were created the brand became more important. The wines were classified as “simple” Vino da tavola. The quality was excellent. It was just that they did not comply with the wine laws. The knowledgeable wine lovers loved the wines. Super tuscans became Super brands.
So, the new classification must be directed to the group of wine buyers in between. The people that are interested in wine, want to have good wines and perhaps even show off with them. By adding a new classification they will know what to look for. The new classification in itself would be a superior brand to the ordinary Chianti Classico. It could thus relieve the individual producers a part of an expensive marketing to become and sustain their individual brands.
Indisputable is that one more classification needs to be explained to the consumers. And the need for educating the wine buyers increases constantly. Chianti classic is not alone. The innovativeness among the world’s wine producing regions to promote their wines is high. There are more and more to learn. So I see a bright future for all those involved with informing and training the wine consumers. Wine organisations, wine classes, magazines, blog writers, etc.
End of reflection. Back to the best wine of the holiday. A good Chianti Classico should not be drunk too young. Marchese Antinori’s Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 was a great example of this statement. A bit into maturity it had developed so much lovely flavours. It was spicy (nutmeg notes) together with dark berries, integrated oak and a very nice hint of barn. Balanced, concentrated, with very good length. Just wonderful!

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