Which Italian Wine Was Known For Its Basket-Bottle?
Do you remember those dusty basket-bottles we used to see on the bottom shelf of supermarkets up until some years ago?
Well, that peculiar basket bottle is called “fiasco” in Italian and, normally, it was used to contain cheap Chianti.
Basket bottle history
It was created in Tuscany and has very ancient origins, as the first testimonies date back to 1275. The old version though was not exactly as we know it now.
The neck was much wider, and its shape probably inspired by a peasant who had the idea of covering it with a fitting straw basket, to keep the wine at a constant temperature and to facilitate transport by preventing the glass from shattering.
The fiasco shape, size and material developed during the time and later on started to be identified with the most popular Tuscan red wine: Chianti.
After being used for containing cheap wines (also due to its bigger measure), this basket bottle is not anymore very popular although some respected producers are trying to reintroduce it to the market, in a much modern shape, to somehow revive the ancient tradition.
Now, leaving the fiasco and the technical info on a side, I’d like to share with you some fun facts about this famous Italian wine.
What to eat with Chianti?
And this brings us to food pairings!
The great versatility of Chianti (thanks to tannins and high acidity) allows the combination with a rich variety of foods. We recommend trying tomato-based dishes (yes, pizza and Italian pasta)
If the recipes of the Tuscan tradition should be your first choice, over the years this wine has successfully experimented with matching dishes from many other international cuisines. The international option – a slice of juicy rich meat.
Excellent to accompany grilled red meats, game, roasts, or aged cheeses. Chianti goes also brilliantly with unusual combinations that include ethnic preparations, even very spicy, such as those of the Chinese and Indian cuisines.
But if you love classic food and wine pairings, have it with pizza.
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CHIANTI AND LITERATURE
Chianti appears in one of the stories of the most famous London detective.
Indeed, in The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson assist Miss Morstan in finding out who sends her a precious Indian pearl each year. Visiting Mr. Thaddeus Sholto, a key figure to solve the mystery, Miss Morstan is specifically offered a glass of Chianti.
CHIANTI AND ITS COLOURS
We all know Chianti as red wine, but, believe it or not, once upon a time, it was white.
Some medieval documents report information about it and testify that the Tuscan wine had a completely different aspect, and presumably quite a different taste! Apparently, the white version was called Vernaccia Chianti.
CHIANTI AND CINEMA
Perhaps not everyone knows that one of the first cinema characters to mention Chianti was … Bond, James Bond!
In the movie From Russia with Love (1963), Chianti is a precious ally for our 007. A spy who pretends to be an English gentleman, orders a Chianti with a fish dish. Bond (played by Sean Connery) takes his gun out and threatens the man, explaining that no gentleman would ever order a Chianti with Dover sole!