Deeper into Jeopardy! LIII: Visiting Italy – $400

Just as it’s starting to get cold in Toronto, Jeopardy! invites me to join the (relative) southern European sun in Italia. It also happens to be probably my favourite place in the world where I’ve spent an appreciable amount of time, so if I don’t have the time to go in person, at least I can go via some clues written in L.A. Plus, it’s from the finals of the 2015 Tournament of Champions, so it oughta be good.

Jeopardy! category: VISITING ITALY (09-11-2015)

$400 clue: The Tuscan town of Poggibonsi is part of the region called this local wine “classico”

Correct response

The gist: With or without fava beansAny wine from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy can be sold under that name, but only those from the largest sub-area of Chianti can be sold as “Chianti Classico.” The Classico region was originally created by an edict from no less than Cosimo III de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and was the first to be designated Chianti in 1716; in 1932, it expanded to include the Greater Chianti region. Traditionally, Chianti wine bottles came in a bulbous bottle swaddled in a straw basket, bestowing a very rustic, nostalgic image on them, but today most Chianti is bottled in standard straight-sided bottles, both for reduced transportation costs and for a more elegant style.

Oenologically, Chianti wines are usually red, and are made from Sangiovese grapes. It’s considered (at least by WineIntro.com) strong and bold, with fruity flavours – enjoy it with “well-seasoned” foods, whatever that means. Chianti classico wines are distinguished by the “black rooster” (“gallo negro” in Italian) on the neck of the bottle, which identifies the winemaker as a member of the Chianti Classico Consortium.

The Chianti black rooster emblem

The clue: I sure didn’t know this one, but I don’t know anything about wine at all – I suspect if you know even a bit, you’ll be aware that Chianti comes from Tuscany. Or else, this being a $400 clue, you could also get away with just guessing one of the more famous Italian wine regions, and top of that list might well be Chianti.

In Jeopardy!: Chianti has 20 clues to its name in the J!Archive. Eight mention its Tuscan geography. Four are about its distinctive straw packaging (known as a “fiasco” in Italian). And five are about its infamous mention in The Silence of the Lambs, referenced at the beginning of this post, when serial killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter informs his interloper Clarice Starling that he once ate a census taker’s liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

3 thoughts on “Deeper into Jeopardy! LIII: Visiting Italy – $400

    • The “fiasco” is actually the whole ensemble – the straw basket and the bulging bottle. “Fiasco” is Italian for “flask,” while a normal wine bottle is a “bottiglia.” It’s unclear why that particular shape and basket combination got the “fiasco” label. It’s also unclear why the name for that bottle was adopted in English as a word for a disaster, but theories range from the simple disaster of a shattering bottle of Chianti to the more fanciful notion of having to buy the table’s wine if you lost a card game at the taverna.

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