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Tuscan Dreams: The 10 Best Chianti Wines for Pretending You’re in Italy

Images Courtesy of Vivino

Known as one of the best Italian wines, Chiantis are a palate-pleasing, easy-drinking addition to your wine collection. But this familiar option is more than just a simple sip. A bottle of Chianti can elevate a weeknight dinner, or even act as a celebratory drink during the holidays or a party.

But what’s the difference between a Sangiovese, Chianti and Chianti Classico? We’ve got the answers, plus a rundown of the best Chianti wines to drink right now.

What Is Chianti Wine?

Chianti is a region in central Italy within Tuscany that produces wines mostly from the black grape variety Sangiovese. Though Sangiovese is usually the dominant grape variety in Chianti wines, they are often blended with small amounts of other black (or red wine) grapes. Chianti wines are labeled based on where they are grown within the region.

Chianti Denominazione di Origine Controllata E Garantita (DOCG) are wines that typically don’t age well and have simple, straightforward flavors. They grow in a broad geographic range in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains.

Chianti Classico DOCG are wines made with grapes grown in historic, designated areas within the Chianti region. This fruit grows at a higher altitude than those in DOCG wines, creating a more complex red fruit flavor and herb-forward aroma. Chianti Classico wine may mature and develop additional flavors in the barrel and the bottle. These bottles are typically labeled with an emblem of a black rooster and contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG wines have a more complex flavor due to their strict aging requirements of at least two years, at least three months of which must be in bottles.

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. Grapes must be grown by the winery itself, and the wine must be aged for a minimum of 2.5 years, at least three months of which must be in bottles.