TIAMO Organic Chianti D.O.C.G.Wine Of The Month, February 2016
Chianti and Tuscany
Chianti is amongst the greatest red wines in the world and is predominately made with the Sangiovese grape. Much like in neighboring France, wines in Italy are named according to their region of origin. As such, you will rarely see Sangiovese wines from Italy, but rather wines named after the region in which the Sangiovese grapes were grown. Chianti, which lies in the greater Tuscany region, is undoubtedly the most famous wine region in the world growing Sangiovese grapes. This is where we source the grapes for our organic TIAMO Chianti.
The Chianti region is the heart of Italian winemaking. Your grandparents might know it by the iconic straw basket bottles that adorned the tables of many Italian restaurants in the 1970s and 80s. Chianti has grown up, however, and with the introduction of French varietals such as Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah, now produces so called Super Tuscans which are rich and beautiful Sangiovese based blends. The Chianti region features abundant sunshine during the hot summer days that excel at ripening the grapes, and then cool, clear nights that encourage the development of the healthy acidity seen in Chianti wines.
The Sangiovese Grape
Sangiovese is a storied grape with a long history. This “Blood of Jove” grape is referenced as far back as 1590, and many speculate that it has Roman roots. While many Italian varietals have done well outside of Italy (Pinot Grigio comes to mind), Sangiovese has mostly flourished and stayed put in Italy – of the 175,000 acres of Sangiovese planted worldwide, over 155,000 of them are in Italy. Known as the grape in Tuscany, Sangiovese is also grown throughout Italy, including being the primary grape in the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine. Thicker skinned than the traditional problem child grape Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is nearly as finicky in the vineyard – bearing incredibly complex fruit in good years, and somewhat austere grapes in off years. At TIAMO, we use traditional farming methods combined with modern winemaking to extract the best of the Sangiovese grape every year.
What does D.O.C.G. mean?
The D.O.C.G. labeling that appears on each bottle of TIAMO Chianti stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – or controlled and guaranteed designation of origin. To earn this label, growers and winemakers must adhere to very strict guidelines on the quality and quantity of grapes in each wine and the production process. They must also contain a minimum of at least 80% Sangiovese grapes
Love stories and wine go together. TIAMO Chianti is grown with love, vinified with love, and bottled with love and we use ONLY certified organically grown grapes. We source them from a beautiful organically farmed, 50 acre vineyard outside of Montespertoli, just west of Florence. We use no pesticides in the vineyards and grass and weeds are allowed to flourish between the vines. Everything is kept as natural as possible for our modern, minimal-processing winemaking techniques. The grapes undergo stainless steel fermentation and see no oak, promoting a fruity freshness that you’ll notice immediately upon opening the bottle.
Our Chianti is fruit forward, including plenty of cherry flavors synonymous with the Chianti region, as well as red fruits and violets on the nose. As a medium bodied wine, it can hold up to most Italian tomato-based sauces, alone or in combination with chicken, lamb, or beef. It is also a fun partner to soft cheeses, such as the local Pecorino Toscana.
A Perfect Dish for TIAMO Chianti
Looking for a perfect pair for your TIAMO Chianti? Look no further – our own Janie Master is here with an outstanding Bolognese sauce recipe for you! Simple to prepare, and full of Italian smells and flavors, this Bolognese sauce will go great with any pasta type. Make it the day before, let the flavors meld overnight, and then reheat it while enjoying the first sips of wine before dinner!
Janie’s Sauce Bolognese
- 2 lbs lean hormone free ground beef (preferably organic as it’s better for us and the beef!)
- 4 thick bacon rashers chopped fine
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 3 large carrots chopped fine
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 onions chopped fine
- 2 celery stalks chopped fine
- 3-4 garlic buds chopped fine
- 1 can or 6 tablespoons tomato concentrate
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tsp chopped marjoram
- 2-3 slices lemon peel
- 1 chicken stock cube or 1 tsp chicken base
Chop all veggies up finely and then sauté chopped bacon in the oil until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon to small bowl and set aside. Sauté all other chopped veggies except garlic until they are just beginning to brown.
Add the beef and sauté until brown (actually grey!) all over stirring well to avoid lumps. Add the chopped garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Pour over wine and add all other ingredients including bacon bits. Add the marjoram, lemon peel and bay leaves and add cold water as needed to just cover meat and then bake with lid on in oven at 400F for 40 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and lemon peel (you have to fish around a bit but they leave too much taste if you don’t take them out here) and bake uncovered again a further 30 minutes to reduce liquid.
It’s now ready BUT it’s always better if you cool overnight ad then reheat it. You could also cool and freeze it here if you like for later use.
Warm up and when thoroughly heated through add ½ cup milk to bring sauce together and serve on sketti with grated parmesan on top and a scattering of chopped Italian big-leaf parsley. Serve with a bottle of TIAMO Chianti!