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Chianti Up: Getting Acquainted With A Tuscan Classic

Chianti Up: Getting Acquainted with A Tuscan Classic

Chianti, pronounced “kee-on-tee”, is a red wine blend from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy, made primarily with Sangiovese grapes. You used to see it in a squat bottle wrapped in straw, but nowadays most producers use standard bottles and have left the straw off completely.

The history of Chianti dates back to at least the 13th century with the earliest incarnations of Chianti as a white wine. Over the years, Chianti has evolved into the red blend you see today.

The first known “Chianti recipe” was created in 1872, and recommended 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca. In 1967, the Italian government formerly established the “Ricasoli formula” as a Sangiovese-based blend with 10-30% Malvasia and Trebbiano. Some producers, however, wanted to make it their own way and were forced to sell them without the “chianti” label as vino da tavola. These lower classified wines were so well received by the international critics that they were coined Super Tuscans. Their success has encouraged the government to allow some of these vino da tavola wines to be labeled as Chianti.

Common tasting notes include red fruits, dried herbs, balsamic vinegar, smoke, and game. These savory flavors, high acidity, and strong tannins make Chianti amazing with food as it can stand up to bold flavors without issue. Rich meats, game, tomato sauced pastas, and olive oil-based dishes pair wonderfully. We’ve also heard a nice Chianti pairs well with liver and fava beans.

Checkout some of our favorite Chianti wines and see what you’ve been missing!


Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico

Lovely red fruity notes with hints of strawberries, red cherry and baking spice. A fruit-filled palate of red cherry, tobacco with additional earthy and spicy notes. The firm tannins balanced by fresh acidity and good complexity.

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

Rose, mature red berry and wild herb aromas mingle with a balsamic whiff of eucalyptus. The delicious, polished palate boasts a restrained elegance, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry, star anise and white pepper alongside refined tannins.

Badia a Coltibuono Coltibuono

Aromas of ripe black-skinned berry, scorched earth and licorice carry over to the easygoing palate along with mature plum. Tight, dusty tannins provide light support and leave a drying finish.

Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico

Varietal aromas of violet, plum and black-skinned berry shape the nose on this fragrant, polished red. On the fresh, delicious palate, velvety tannins complement juicy wild cherry, crushed raspberry and baking spice. It’s nicely balanced, with bright acidity.

Felsina Berardenga

A nose of plum, exotic spice, eucalyptus and a hint of violet. The medium-bodied palate is elegantly structured and has nice tension, offering mature black cherry, blackberry compote and licorice accompanied by polished tannins.


Owned and operated by the same Houston family since 1962, Spec’s is a true destination shopping experience. We now operate over 150 stores all over the great state of Texas and offer a large selection of wines, spirits and finer foods.

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