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In order to get an idea of global warming, we here in the editorial office don't have to pore over climate data and statistics. Often, a glance at our tasting sheets is enough. At the beginning of this millennium, when we had a three-page sample list of Chianti Classico in front of us, sorted in ascending order of alcohol content, it started with 12 or 12.5% alcohol, reached 13% at the end of the first page and at the very end some wines were waiting for us with 14%. Today, the first three or four wines still have less than 13.5%, the fourteen percenters already start on the first page and at the very end there are reliably a few examples with 15 or even more percent alcohol by volume.

The time of the slender, tangy-fresh, crisp Chianti Classico is long gone, apart from the rare exceptions of individual producers who apparently still pursue this style quite deliberately. This also has some advantages: for one hardly encounters meagre, brittle, thin or unripe wines any more. The average qualities, one can say with certainty, have probably never been as high as they are today. Those who, in view of the figures alone, expect quantities of broad, rich, heavy wines have in any case missed out on Sangiovese. Even at a high level of maturity, Sangiovese often has a certain acidity and freshness, and its juiciness and taut tannins do the rest to counteract the alcohol. Thus, at least the best Chianti Classico, whether Annata, Riserva or Gran Selezione, still offer life, polish, freshness and real elegance even in the highest weight categories (a term that is unfortunately misused far too often today to give even the clumsiest alcohol monsters the appearance of drinkability).

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