Ask the average wine drinker over 40 years of age about their first hunch at the word Chianti, and the answer will be: ‘Basket bottles, which used to be hanging from the ceiling a in pizza place.’ The better tasters among them will add: ‘Moderate wine with a high accidity level, thin, skimpy.’ And there is the image problem of a large and very famous wine region …
That bottle in a basket, called fiasco (!), is still used, often in sizes of 2 liters. These are still simple wines, but there are producers who pay more attention to the contents of the bottle.
In the traditionally best part of Chianti, called Chianti Classico, there are of course also winemakers who have never compromised on the quality of the wine. Castello della Paneretta, which we have been working with for almost 5 years, is a good example of this. The castle is exactly halfway between Florence and Siena. It is certain that wine has been made at Paneretta since 1596.
Today they have 22 hectares of vineyards. They are proud to work only with indigenous grape varieties and no strangers such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which is often used in the so-called Super Tuscans. Sangiovese obviously plays the leading role, the Chianti Classico must contain at least 80% of this grape, but they have also planted a few hectares of canaiolo and colorino. And also a tiny littlbe bit of trebbiano and malvasia del chianti: white grape varieties that were allowed in the Chianti Classico up to 20 years ago (a small percentage only), and are used today for Vin Santo, a somewhat sweet “sacramental wine” made from dried grapes.
Almost all wines made here are therefore red. Mostly Chianti Classico or Chianti Classico Riserva, but also a few IGTs (Indicazione Geografica Tipica): the so-called land wines.
Wines that do not comply with local wine laws, usually because other grape varieties are used (such as with the beforementioned Super Tuscans) or, as with Paneretta, because too little or no sangiovese is used.
The styles of the different wines from this winemaker vary. The “entry-level wine”, the regular Chianti Classico, has been aged for 12 months on Croatian oak. These barrels are used up to the age of 20 years, resulting in a limited influence of taste on the wine. The wine still contains a lot of fresh acids. For the riservas and the IGTs, French barrels are used, which are used up to 5 years old. So more influence of the oak, but all Paneretta wines are characterized by a good balance. The wood is never too thick on top. And ensures good aging potential en passant.