Chianti is the most famous Italian wine. You know all about it right?
Well, just in case not, here are a few words of introduction.
Brief synopsis: Dry red wine from Tuscany.
Chianti comes from where the rules say it does. If that sounds a little weird it is because the area that is allowed to call its wine Chianti is not strictly the area that a geographer might give the same name. Chianti Classico is a little closer to the latter idea but it is still not spot on.
Unlike many Italian wine classifications, Chianti is not made from a single grape type, rather it is a melange of many different varieties and this means that the wine varies greatly from one bottle to another. At one end of the scale, it can be sublime but at the other, it can be dire, not fit even for cooking.
In terms of value for money, it is not as good as some other Italian wines such as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. To an extent, you are of course paying for the name.
What to look for on the label:
You will normally see Chianti, perhaps with an extra geographical refinement such as Chianti Classico, plus the year, DOCG mark and the bottler's name. As this contains no information as to the grape type used, it is hard to know exactly what to expect from the wine.
Because of it's varied nature, it is not possible to say anything much beyond "serve at room temperature and give it half an hour to breath first." All Chianti will benefit from this but the degree to which it will suffer from ill treatment varies from one bottle to another.
If you want to know what it "goes with" all that you will get me to admit to is food! Anything from fried Salmon to Ostrich taking in Beef and Pasta on the way will do.