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Radda in Chianti for a wine class, tasting and lunch

  • Radda in Chianti for a wine class, tasting and lunch

    Radda in Chianti, a thirty-five-minute drive north of San Gusmè, once served as the capital of the Chianti. It’s still the place for sensing the Chianti spirit – and for getting to grips with the region’s lifeblood. Stroll round this glorified village with the spirit of a town, framed by its defensive walls. After wandering along the cobblestoned alleys fanning out from the main square, head to Casa Chianti Classico for an illuminating wine induction tour.

    Casa Chianti Classico is housed in an 18th-century Franciscan monastery in the upper part of town. Itself attached to a medieval church, this sacred complex is now a shrine to wine, with a Wine Museum on the first floor. Sign up to a 90-minute wine class or restrict yourself to learning all about Chianti before facing an entertaining multimedia wine quiz. After doing a wine-tasting and dutifully going through your tasting notes, you deserve lunch in the Enoteca. Even better, it features a charming terrace surveying the Chianti vineyards.
     
    As a major wine centre, Radda has been quietly prosperous since the 16th century when it was already exporting wine to England. Later, in 1716, Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, officially delimited the production zone of Chianti wine. Along with Radda, the main centres in Chianti Classico remain Greve, Panzano, Castellina, Gaiole and Fonterutoli. The boundaries and strict rules still apply, even if the responsibility for enforcing them has passed to the Chianti Wine Consortium.  The Consortium was established in 1927 by a group of wine producers in the Provinces of Florence, Siena, Arezzo and Pistoia. Easily accessible off the scenic route SS222, the grandest, castle-like estates have often been run by the same families since medieval times, as is the case with the aristocratic Antinori, Frescobaldi, Mazzei and Ricasoli dynasties. Tuscany’s aristocrats are still over-represented in the wine business, including in the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium. On the board are a clutch of Tuscan nobles, ancient wine dynasties who have moved with the times. The great names include Marquess Lodovico Antinori, Count Lorenzo Guicciardini, Prince Emmanuele Corsini and Count Guido Chigi-Saracini.

    Even so, the wine is bigger than the individual families, no matter how glorious their pedigree. The wine’s `soul’ is Sangiovese. The rules for Chianti Classico wine allow for a minimum ratio of eighty percent of Sangiovese, the typical red regional variety. A maximum of twenty percent of other local red grapes can be added to the blend. These varietals include native grapes such as Canaiolo and Colorino, along with `international’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, all permitted in this Chianti Classico production zone. In essence, Chianti Classico is made from Sangiovese grapes, or a Sangiovese blend, and aged for 14 months in French oak barrels followed by at least seven months in the bottle, or two years for a Riserva.

    Address: Monastero Santa Maria al Prato
    Circonvallazione Santa Maria al Prato 18
    53017
    Radda in Chianti

    Tel: 0577 738187
    Web: www.chianticlassico.com

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