Tis the wine that leads me on,
the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing
at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the
man to dancing… it even
tempts him to blurt out stories
better never told.
― Homer, The Odyssey
Wine is a mystery. Or spiritual. Or hedonistic. Or wild.
Depending on who you ask wine is either one of those things, or all, or none.
As a child I loved Greek myths. While other children clung to fairy-tales and Dr. Seuss, I was entranced with the stories of Greek gods, goddesses and mortals. It was clear to me these myths were meant to explain a wealth of occurrences – jealousy, death, greed. Human emotions that the gods struggled with constantly. But when it came to wine, wine continued to be this ethereal force that could prop you up or destroy you. Dionysus, the god of wine and madness, was the only god who was not celebrated in temples, but in the woods.
London art book publisher, IDEA, sets to release a limited edition run of Epiphany, a photo book by Ari Marcopolous inspired by the villa where he shot Gucci’s pre-fall 2016 lookbook. Gucci’s (fairly new) creative director Alessandro Michele whipped up a collection reinforcing the house’s signature allure: bold, sexy designs that teeter on being brazen, featuring elegant and lush textiles with memorable, stylized prints and embellishments. One of the prominent accessories in this collection is the Dionysus bag: a structured mini featuring a tiger head spur closure. The bag comes in an array of styles – some with chain straps, others with Gucci’s signature bamboo top handle, others featuring tropical appliques. Textiles range from Gucci’s typically used canvas to colored suede to leather.
Gucci’s beginnings are traced to Florence, the regional capital of Toscana (or Tuscany). As recognizable as Gucci’s interlocking Gs, Chianti (also from Toscana) is a wine that has become a figure of Italian culture. A basket-weaved bottle on a red and white checkered table is a symbol that is almost hypnotic when drawing the imagery of Italian food and wine. Fair warning: though Chianti can be a delicious, straightforward choice of an Italian vino to drink with anything, but this well runs deep. Like Gucci, Chianti has a dense history (dating back to the 13th century) of trying to protect its name and origins.
There is so much that can possibly be covered in regards to the history of the wine region, from the evolved production methods to grape blends, but we will leave it to the experts to give you all the background.
On the contrary, we spoke with Christopher Leon of Leon & Sons Wine in Brooklyn, NY, for his take on the state of Chianti, and some of his top picks. He says:
I think the major takeaway is that (after a long, tumultuous history) its never been a better time to drink Chianti. Sangiovese offers so much immediate pleasure and can also build wines for serious cellaring. When exploring outside the Classico zone, I’d make sure to focus on a tried and true area such as Rufina.
If you find yourself in NYC some time soon and are seeking a great Chianti, here are some picks that are available in-store.
Cover Image: Gucci Pre Fall 2016 Campaign video