Mastering Sangiovese

Italy’s winemakers have finally found the sweet spot for Chianti Classico.


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There once was a time when I considered Chianti Classico, the hallmark wine of Italy’s great grape Sangiovese, to be the wild child of Italian reds. Rambunctious, rough around the edges and, frankly, sometimes schizophrenic, it was often hard to know what you were going to get in the glass. It was affordable, to be sure, but not always reliable.

Fast-forward to today: Chianti Classico has grown up.

Thanks to innovation, education and a better handle on how to cultivate the Sangiovese grape, the producers of Chianti Classico have seriously upped the game of this famous red.

Whether you’re interested in a quaffable, value-driven pour with your favorite pizza, or the more elegant experience of a riserva or gran selezione bottling, the new Chianti Classicos offer more diversity of style, but without the quality gamble of the past. Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe delves into the evolution of this iconic wine.  

From amaros to sambucas, grappas and more, Italy is a prolific producer of spirits. Spirits Editor Kara Newman seeks out her favorites, from memorable locales like the mountains of Lombardy, the rolling hills of Piedmont and the Adriatic coast near Rome. The country’s diverse pours offer insight into the character of each region, and are great for sipping alone, or with some of Italy’s famed aperitivos and desserts.

Looking for a new favorite white wine? Fresh, vibrant and food-friendly Vinho Verde from Portugal is taking sommeliers, chefs and civilian wine lovers by storm. While playful, a new generation of wines shows an increasingly serious side. European Editor Roger Voss details this fascinating and multifaceted style.

Also in this issue: Explore the emerging wine culture of Croatia with Contributing Editor Jeff Jenssen, and pair California’s ultimate food wine—Barbera—with three enticing dishes alongside Contributing Editor Virginie Boone.

Cheers!

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