“Count your nights by stars, not shadows; count your life with smiles, not tears.”
Nestled on the “Boot” of Italy, Tuscany is a region known as one of the most beautiful on earth. Rolling hills, native vegetation, and the scent of history are all around. The region is known not only for its beauty though. It is one of the centers of wine production in Italy and the world. Hearty reds and delicate white wines are produced with a nod to history and tradition as well as a view to the future, as most of the wineries have evolved over time and become earth-friendly in their growth and sustainability. So many of the wineries here date back centuries and are still family owned, which almost guarantees a quality product which seems only to come directly from the heavens. In fact, the roots of this community go back to the Bronze Age and it still thrives today thanks to wine and olive oil making.
Since 1893 the Cecchi family name has been known for producing quality wines. In the region in fact, this family has established the tradition which has brought the art of making, and of drinking wine, from the farmer’s table to a part of every celebration known the world over. It was then, in 1893 that Luigi Cecchi, a man known for his wine-tasting talents began the journey both he and his descendants would take as leading, world wide producers. It was in the 1970’s though that the family moved its operations to Castellina, in the province of Chianti. Later, they established smaller satellite wineries in some nearby towns and it was back in 2014, when my wife and I visited the beautiful town of San Gimignano, we did pass their winery where Vernaccia, a very delicate DOCG status white is produced. The family also produces a Morellino di Scansano in La Maremma, also in Tuscany.
The Cecchi Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% other grape varieties. However, this is not an annual production as most wines are. It is only produced in years when the grapes reach a high enough quality so that the standards of the family are not only maintained, they are exceeded.This is a delicious red wine with a touch of a vermouth flavor, so it goes well with dinner or after. Dark, ruby red in color with aromas of leather and tart cherries. I did decant this wine for about 20 minutes before serving and frankly, it would have benefitted from maybe an hour or so just to allow the air to soften it a little bit. But this is a rich tasting wine which would pair well with red meats, say, lamb shank, a NY strip or a bison steak for the more adventurous. However, it would also compliment most game birds such as goose or wild turkey because their stronger tastes, much stronger than a farm-raised bird, would not get overtaken by the wine. And with an alcohol content of about 13%, you can easily go for the second glass with little chance of that wine headache!
I was fortunate enough to find the 2014 vintage which is excellent now but may be even better with another year aging in the bottle. However this vintage did drink well enough to win a Bronze medal at the 2017 Texsom International Wine Awards and a Silver at the 2016 Mundus Vini Competition. Be all that as it may though, the most important award, and the most satisfying at that is serving a wine to cherished guests and watching their reaction. When one of your guests takes a first sip, looks at the glass and says, “What kind of wine is this?” you know you have a winner. In the $18-20 dollar range I consider it an excellent value and a true crowd pleaser.
I have always said and truly believe that any product that you can produce today can be judged by the original one. Can you make a product of which your grandfather would be proud? Can the original founder of your company feel good enough about what you are making now be comfortable enough to put his name on it? In this case, the answer is a resounding “YES.” Luigi Cecchi has a lot to be proud of.