The most interesting places shown on a map are those we have not yet been to. And so it was with enormous pleasure that we enjoyed the exclusive Canadian premiere of an exciting new project – an interactive map with 360° aerial views of the Chianti Classico territory by commune – hosted by Alessandro Masnaghetti, the creator of the map, and Giovanni Manetti, President of Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico. “Maps encourage boldness” says Mark Jenkins, “They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.”
Chianti Classico is a wine known for its terroir and its taste. Only the wine made in the geographical zone of Chianti is entitled to be identified by the historic Black Rooster symbol.
The zone encompasses the territory’s capitals of Sienna and Florence. This was not to be an average virtual tasting. Instead, the focus was on a fully immersive experience – transporting us to Tuscany through interacting with the map and select wines from the Sangiovese grapes.
The box of wines is delivered the day before the tasting, along with a curated sensory package developed solely for this project.
Wine 1: Conti Capponi – Villa Calcinaia | Chianti Classico 2016
Wine 2: Castello di Radda | Chianti Classico 2018
Wine 3: Isole e Olena | Chianti Classico 2018
Wine 4: Marchesi Mazzei – Castello di Fonterutoli | Chianti Classico Fonterutoli 2018
Wine 5: Badia a Coltibuono | Chianti Classico 2018
Wine 6: San Felice | Chianti Classico 2018
One of Italy’s greatest red wines, Chianti Classico’s mix of flavours and aromas is reminiscent of sour cherries, leather, herbs and oak. These wines are appropriate at a family dinner, in the dining room of a grand Castello, or with a pizza at an outdoor café on a busy street. It can be fresh and vibrant, or structured and age-worthy.
To further enhance our experience, a crate of foods delivered by Ascari, gives us samples of the classic flavours of Tuscany.
Pecorino Toscano in Chianti, classic sheep’s milk cheese from Tuscany; Lardo Di Colonata, the ultimate in pork fat flavor thinly sliced; Bottarga di Orbetello, the salt-cured and aged-mullet roe from the Tyrrhenian Sea; Cannellini, the famous Tuscan white beans; Cantucci Toscani, traditional Tuscan almond cookies; Ascari Rosemary focaccia; Bianchetti spring truffles kept fresh in a packet of rice; and a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chianti Classico DOP.
I have my wine glasses lined up, and am prepared to exercise my imagination on a virtual visit to one of my favorite destinations: Tuscany.
Masnaghetti introduces the interactive map, a unique project that brings people to the region digitally and communicates the elements that make the region so special. It involves a deep dive into the story behind the map, detailed interaction, visuals of the communes, and tasting of 6 wines representative of their stories. As much as a virtual experience can be designed, we traverse the rolling hills, the Cypress trees and the castellos of Tuscany, and are immersed in all things Tuscan!
Sipping the wines, and seeing the terroir enfold before me, I daydream of the Enoteca in Sienna which contains a sample of every single wine made in Italy; the Uffizi in Florence; and Michelangelo’s David; and plan my next visit, hopefully Spring 2022.
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Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.