Made from grapes harvested at the heart of the Chianti Classico, Marchesi Antinori’s Pèppoli Chianti Classico is your perfect every-day Chianti wine.
It‘s impossible to enjoy a bottle of Chianti Classico without thinking of Tuscany. Whether you love travelling or simply are an avid wine lover, you will either have already been to this breathtakingly beautiful part of Italy or it will be high up on your bucket list.
Either way, I am sure the area does not need much of an introduction. Lovingly green rolling hills (which will take on incredible shades of brownish-red and golden during autumn and darker browns sometimes even dusted with hints of snow in winter), medieval villages, historic castles, and churches. And on top of that, the incredible Tuscan cuisine and outstanding wines.
Starting just outside of Florence, today’s Chianti wine region is a fairly vast area that stretches past Siena to the Colli Senesi, with some areas extending towards the north to Pisa.
Chianti Classico is often referred as the heart of Tuscany, and it definitely is the heart of the Chianti region and the most historic of today’s eight subregions.
Located just southwest of Florence, it is home to a number of the best-known wine towns of the Chianti, including Castellina, Gaiole, Greve and Radda, all appended with the supplement ‘in Chianti’.
About Marchesi Antinori
Marchesi Antinori, looking back of a winemaking history of more than 600 years, is perhaps Italy’s most famous winery. An incredible 26 generations of this Italian noble family have made huge contributions to the legacy of winemaking in Italy, then and now. Particularly so in Tuscany where their story begun, although the winery now has vineyards in other regions in Italy, and internationally in Napa Valley (California), Washington State and Chile.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Antinori also had a major part in the invention of the famous ‘Super Tuscan’ wines back in the 1970s. Which as we all know are outstanding but come with a hefty price tag.
But quite excitingly, Antinori also makes more affordable yet still excellent wines. Pèppoli Chianti Classico, while still a DOCG bottling typically retails for around € 15.00 at the time of writing.
Tasting Notes: Pèppoli Chianti Classico
Introduced in 1988 with grapes from the 1985 vintage, Pèppoli Chianti Classico is undeniably one of Marchesi Antonori’s most popular long-lived wines. It is made from Sangiovese grapes with a small addition of Merlot and Syrah.
Grapes for this wine are harvested from vineyards located near San Casciano Val di Pesa about 15 kilometres southwest of Florence, in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. While the vineyards are eastern/north-eastern facing, which is unusual, they benefit from an ideal microclimate. Pèppoli vineyards are protected from a small surrounding valley that keeps the area warm. In addition, the gravelly soils are rich in minerals which gives the grapes a vigorous fruity character.
After fermentation, Pèppoli Chianti Classico will be aged in large casks of Slavonian oak for about nine months, with a small amount aged in small oak barrels.
In the glass, ruby red with purple highlights.
On the nose, floral with plenty of fruit aromas like cherry, violet, and raspberry followed by smoky impressions from the oak.
On the palate, fresh and energetic with a hint of acidity and smooth polished tannins.
This is a food-friendly wine which pairs particularly well with cured meats, the classic Pasta alla Bolognese, and pizza.
I’ve paired the Pèppoli Chianti Classico with a homemade potato pizza. And in case you wonder, yes potato pizza is a thing in Italy. Even though it might not look like the typical Italian pizza, it is quite common you will see potato pizza on the menu when in Italy.
The below is based on a classic Italian recipe.
Recipe: Homemade Potato Pizza
450 g all-purpose flour
20 g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
500 g potatoes
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped.
2 springs of rosemary
salt and pepper for seasoning
In a large bowl, add flour, yeast, salt, sugar, 7 tablespoons olive oil and 200 ml warm water. Knead until smooth.
In the meantime, peel and cut potatoes into thin slices. Place in a large bowl and cover with salty water for 30-60 minutes.
Roll dough into a ball and place in a bowl greased with olive oil. Cover and put in a warm place for one hour until doubled.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with olive oil.
Divide the dough into four portions. On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough thinly. Transfer onto the baking sheet.
Drain the potato slices well, then distribute over the pizza dough. Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Distribute garlic cloves and rosemary on top.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden-brown.