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Unfortunately there is no information about Chianti DOCG available.
Chianti DOCG

Description to Chianti DOCG

DOCG area for red wine in the Italian region of Tuscany. The wine is named after the hilly landscape between the two cities of Florence and Siena and is probably one of the best known from Italy. The name probably originated from the name of an Etruscan family. The first mention of a Chianti wine dates back to 1404, when the famous merchant Francesco Datini (1335-1410), who came from Prato, bought a white wine in Vignamaggio. Originally, Chianti only applied to the areas around Radda, Gaiole and Castellina in the province of Siena in the south of the classic core area of Chianti-Classico. The feudal lords of the Chianti confederation owned vineyards there as early as the 13th century.

Origin of the borders

There is a beautiful legend about the origin of the old borders. The hostile citizens of the city states of Siena and Florence wanted to put an end to their eternal border disputes and determine the spheres of influence by means of a competition. At the first cockcrow, two horsemen - one from Siena, one from Florence - were to set off. Where they would meet was to be the final border between the two cities. The Sienese had a white cock, which they fed so much that it became fat and lazy and slept for a long time. The Florentines, on the other hand, had a black cock which they starved so that it began to crow very early. Therefore, their rider could start much earlier and met his opponent 15 kilometres before Siena at Fonterutoli. This gave Florence a large part of the Chianti region. The emblem of Chianti-Classico is Gallo nero (black rooster) and reminds of this event.

Old rules of production

A red Chianti was already produced in the early Middle Ages. However, the grape varieties used have certainly changed and were not so rigorously prescribed at that time, or were not followed due to lack of control, and were used very individually. Probably each winegrower produced his Chianti according to the varieties available in his vineyard. According to documentation from 1773, Chianti at that time consisted largely of Canaiolo Nero with smaller amounts of Sangiovese, Mammolo and Marzemino, i.e. all red varieties. But the white varieties "Tribbiano and San Colombano" are also mentioned (a Trebbiano variety and the Verdea).

Ricasoli recipe

The legendary Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) carried out numerous experiments from 1850 onwards to find an optimal recipe. In a letter from 1872, he summarised the result. He recommended Sangiovese as the determining main grape variety (75%, for aroma and power) and Canaiolo Nero (15%) for mellowing. The white Malvasia del Chianti (Malvasia Bianca Lunga) was suggested as an additive for wines that would be enjoyed young, but explicitly discouraged for wines that could be stored longer. The white Trebbiano Toscano was not included in his recipe, but was added later (up to 10%). Other varieties (up to 5%) were also allowed. But until the end of the 19th century, most winemakers continued to use the old recipe with a high proportion of Canaiolo Nero. The recommendations proposed by Ricasoli were slow to catch on with the tradition-conscious wineries. In the mid-20th century, Chianti finally became a mass-produced wine bottled in the typical raffia-wrapped Fiasco bottles and exported in large quantities.

Expansion of the area

The Chianti vineyards expanded enormously in all directions. This took place northwards to Greve and San Casciano, eastwards through the Florentine mountains to Arezzo, southwards far beyond Siena and westwards to Pisa very close to the Tyrrhenian coast. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany under Cosimo III (1642-1723) from the Medici family defined one of the first protected designations of origin for wine-growing areas as early as 1716. This concerned Carmignano, Chianti, Pomino and Val d'Arno di Sopra. By decree, the boundaries were set and it was forbidden for wines from other areas to be so named. This seems self-evident today, but at the time it was a groundbreaking innovation. Today's Chianti region, which has grown in the meantime, is not a closed area, but overlaps with many other DOC zones, or Chianti may also be produced in other DOC zones. These are Carmignano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pomino, Val d'Arbia, Valdichiana Toscana and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Chianti - Bereiche

Today's Chianti area

The entire Chianti area (Chianti and Chianti-Classico) comprises vineyards in the six provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena, with around 7,000 producers in over 100 municipalities. The total vineyard area is around 24,000 hectares, of which 7,000 hectares are for the Chianti-Classico area, which is considered the best in terms of quality. In addition, there is a narrower designation of origin within the area with seven subzones that may be listed on the label. These are Chianti Colli Aretini around Arezzo, Chianti Colli Fiorentini around Florence, Chianti Colline Pisane around Pisa, Chianti Colli Senesi around Siena, Chianti Montalbano around Carmignano, Chianti Montespertoli (since 1997) and Chianti Rufina around Pontassieve. Rufina, Colli Senesi and Colli Fiorentini are considered the best. All other wines from the peripheral areas are simply called Chianti.

1967 DOC and 1984 DOCG classification

Both areas received DOC classification in 1967 and DOCG classification in 1984. The DOC classification essentially still provided for the original Ricasoli recipe, in which up to 30% white varieties were allowed. The extremely high yield of 80 hl/ha and the minimum extract content were also still very generous. The DOCG status, however, was then associated with major changes. The white varieties Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia del Chianti were no longer mandatory, but were alternatively limited to a maximum of 10% for Chianti and 6% for Chianti Classico.

In addition, the yield was greatly reduced and the minimum age of the vines for DOCG Chiantis was set at at least five years. This resulted in significant improvements in quality, which had a very positive effect above all on the storability and longevity of the wines. Furthermore, up to 10% of other red grape varieties were allowed, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Barrique ageing was also permitted, but for the most part this was still done in much larger barrels (up to 100 hl). This changed the austere style of the rather light red Chianti to a dark, tannin-rich red wine with good longevity, which is among the best in Italy from top producers.

Change of regulations in 1996

A change was made in 1996 with partly different regulations for Chianti and Chianti-Classico (see there). For Chianti, the specifications per subzone are slightly different with regard to yield per hectare, alcohol content and acidity. In principle, marketing may take place no earlier than 1 March of the year following the harvest. The prescribed grape variety mix is at least 75 to 100% Sangiovese, a maximum of 10% Canaiolo Nero, a maximum of 10% other authorised red grape varieties, and a maximum of 10% the white varieties Trebbiano Toscano and/or Malvasia del Chianti (Malvasia Bianca Lunga). The maximum yield is 9,000 kg per hectare for the normal Chianti and 8,000 kg per hectare for the seven subzones.

The maximum residual sugar content is 4 g/l. The minimum alcohol content for the normal Chianti and the subzones Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane and Montalbano is 11.5% vol.; for the subzones Colli Fiorentini, Rufina and Montespertoli as well as the Superiore it is 12% vol. Riserva is also 12% vol., and 12.5% vol. for six subzones except Montespertoli. The Riserva must mature for at least two years, at least three months of which must be in the bottle. In the entire Chianti region, around 100 million litres of wine are produced annually, a quarter of which is Chianti Classico. The formerly common technique of gouverno is rarely used any more. In order to give producers the opportunity to produce other DOC wines, the DOC designations Colli dell'Etruria Centrale and Vin Santo del Chianti were created.

Chianti-Gaiole: Chianti-Chaolo by Adbar - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Map: By User:Kattivik - My own work on Provinces of Tuscany, CC BY 2.5, Link

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