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Thursday, 24 December 2020

The CWB Chianti-Off

Two Chiantis  from Cecchi at different price points

Chianti is a region of central Tuscany in Italy; the wine region was first defined in 1716 and over the years, changes have been made to blending requirements and area limits initially to increase production to meet demand and then later to improve quality.

In 1932 the Chianti area was divided in seven sub-areas: Classico, the largest, plus six others.

Classico includes the original Chianti heartland and only "Classico" wines may display the black rooster (gallo nero) seal on the neck of the bottle, indicating that the producer is a member of the Chianti Classico Consortium.

Like many classic Italian reds, Chianti is high in acidity and as a result very much a food wine.

Both these wines are made by Cecchi, a family-owned company based in Tuscany dating back to the late 1800s. 

The M&S Chianti is a well-priced Sangiovese-based Chianti with some Colorino and Cabernet Sauvignon for colour, structure and aromatics; it is very gently oaked.

The Villa Cerna is a much more ambitious and accomplished (if more expensive) wine; the Cecchi family purchased the Villa during the early 1960s and then proceeded with its restoration and the construction of the wine cellar.

2017 M&S Classics Chianti Riserva, Chianti, Tuscany (£8) focused black fruits, black and sour cherries with spice, dried herbs and a food-friendly rasp; fresh and savoury with fine, gentle and well-integrated tannins. Very good winemaking.

Thoroughly enjoyable and Good Value.

Match with beef ragù or pizza margherita.

Tim Atkin describes it as bright, aromatic and savoury - his full review is here.

It also gets a nod from Decanter.

2016 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG (Noble Grape, £22.99) floral and leathery-spicy with ripe vibrant morello cherries, bramble fruits and dark berries; cassis, dried herbs,  mocha and complex oaking. Elegant, velvety, rich and saline palate with a supple structure.


Match with rare roast beef or other red meats.

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