Wines of Tuscany circa 1937: Chianti

Herewith our third post in a series of translations from a 1937 catalog of the wines of Italy. You will find the previous post here including informations on the catalog itself. We hope that these informations will be useful for those who wish to understand the history of wine in Tuscany by providing these “snapshots” of the wines in the era between the two world wars.

Chianti (Tuscany)

An unmistakable wine, simpatico, and exquisite. With graceful aroma, genteel soft flavor, fine, fresh and often slightly sparkling, Chianti is a beverage that has been well known in Italy for more than six centuries, as Marescalchi has shown authoritatively. For more than three centuries, it has been exported beyond the borders of the Fatherland, first to England and then to all the other countries of the world.

Indeed, in 1481 Landino wrote that “the valley of Chianti produces excellent wine”. In 1542, the countess Isabella Guicciardini, writing to her husband, states that this exquisite wine gives such joy that it makes you wish to stay longer in the place where it is produced: “I like it very much and I wish not to depart”. In the seventeenth century, the poet Fulvio Testi exalted it with these words: “… I will pour you the Etruscan Chianti — a peer to the ruby — dew that offers a kiss”. And then later, Redi glorified it in his immortal dithyramb.

Monelli judges it to be the most lively and genteel wine of the world. And he specifies its characteristics as a “sparkling, bubbling with life, transparent and joyous vermillion, with the flavor of fresh fruit and field flowers”.

All of enological literature from the last century has enthusiastic notes about Chianti.

Although, generically, this wine falls into one basic category, there are, effectively, seven subtypes, clearly distinguishable from one another, in the vast zone of production.

Chianti tuscany wine

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