Friday, January 1, 2021

Starting the New Year off Right with Chianti Classico

Can you believe it's the start of a New Year?  Gosh how time flies, although 2020 was a struggle for all in some shape or form.  We're starting off on a positive note as the Italian Food, Wine and Travel group (#ItalianFWT) shares our personal Italian red and white wine favorites for the New Year.  

If you're a follower of Vino Travels you may already know my top pick if I'm forced to chose just one.  Although, I love Italian wine for a reason because I really enjoy them all from northern to southern Italy.  Sangiovese was my first love and even as I traveled the map of Italian wine it still remains my favorite.  We're not just talking Chianti because if I really had to narrow it down to a singular wine it would be Brunello di Montalcino.  Sangiovese is the primary grape used in all these wines along with others as well like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  

During my wedding in Italy I made a stop at one of Chianti Classico's respected producers, Castellare di Castellina.  Located in one of Chianti Classico's main communes, Castellina in Chianti, the winery is located in the Siena province, just north of Siena itself along the breathtaking scenic drive known as the Chiantigiana.  It's easy to be mesmerized by the beauty that surrounds this area from the quaint and charming Tuscan towns with many of them surrounded by ancient medieval walls, containing cobblestone streets, picturesque alleys, and a number of wine shops and wine bars to stop into for a welcomed break.  

wine tasting along the Chiantigiana

Castellare di Castellina was started in the 70's by Paolo Panerai and is located on 46 acres at about 1,200 feet above sea level.  Their vineyards are spread out as an amphitheatre southeast facing surrounded by olive groves.  Their grape yields are much lower than those required by the Chianti Classico DOCG laws and they practice being environmentally sound.  You'll see on all their bottle labels rare local birds to the Chianti area that face extinction.  

The Chianti Classico consortium is the first one in Italy that preserves the authenticity of the wines produced within the boundaries of Siena and Florence.  The Chianti Classico DOCG was granted in 1995 and holds producers to a number of requirements in order to carry this designation.  A couple of the main requirements are that the wines are made of at least 80% sangiovese with up to 20% other local native varietals.  For the Chianti Classico level, like the one I'm share today, the wines must be aged at least 12 months.       

The Wine

2011 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico DOCG: I had been holding onto this wine longer than I should have with no explanation.  Even though I will say it was past its peak I have tried a number of their wines and there was a reason why I originally purchased it and would recommend this producer and their wines again.  Made of 90% sangioveto, a local sangiovese clone, and 10% canaiolo.  This wine is aged 7 months in French oak and an additional 7 months in the bottle.  Regardless of the lack of the fruit lost from age the wine was still balanced with tannin and acidity, medium bodied and rather soft with a rustic flair.  SRP $24 ABV 13.5%

2011 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico

Join us live on Twitter this Saturday @ 11am EST at #ItalianFWT and learn about our Italian wine and food lovers selections. 



  1. Sangiovese was definitely my first wine love, too. But in the form of those inexpensive straw-covered bottles. I drank way too many of those in college. But I have enjoyed getting to know more subtle and supple versions of Chianti through the years. Thanks for hosting, Jen.

  2. Chianti Classico and a wine with memories (and a gorgeous label). What a great way to begin the year!

  3. Thank you for hosting! Love that label!

  4. How great to virtually go back to Castellare di Castellina. Hoping you'll be able to make it back to Italy soon to taste many Sangiovese in person. I bet your two little guys would love that?!?... the trip part of course! Thanks for hosting this month Jennifer.

  5. Your post has me wanting to buy my ticket to Tuscany right now, pandemic notwithstanding. Seriously, the description of the land and the wine are so inviting. Thanks for hosting this month.

  6. A classic Chianti Classico...:-) Happy New Year Jennifer