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DOCG area for red wine in the Italian region Tuscany, If you have ten people for the most famous wine Italy asks, you probably get the answer "Chianti" from at least eight. The wine is named after the hilly landscape between Florence and Siena. Presumably, the name is from the name of a Etruscan Family emerged. The first mention of a Chianti wine dates from 1404, when a Kaufman from Prato named Francesco Datini bought a white wine in Vignamaggio. Originally Chianti was only for the areas around Radda, Gaiole and Castellina in the province of Siena in the south of today Chianti Classico area, The feudal lords of the Chianti covenant already had vineyards there in the 13th century.

Chianti - vineyards

There is a beautiful legend about the origins of the old borders. The warring citizens of the city states Siena and Florence wanted to end their eternal border disputes and set the areas of influence through a competition. At the first cockcrow two riders - one from Siena, one from Florence - were to leave. Where they would meet would be the final boundary between the two cities. The Sienese possessed 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 rooster that they starved so that they began to crow very early. Therefore, her rider could start much earlier and met 15 kilometers from Siena at the place Fonterutoli on his opponent. This gave Florence a large part of the Chianti region. The landmark of Chianti-Classico is Gallo nero (black cock) and reminiscent of this maybe not quite true story.

A red Chianti was already produced in the early Middle Ages, but the grape varieties used have certainly changed and at that time were not so rigorously given or not followed due to lack of control. Probably every winemaker made his Chianti according to the varieties available in his vineyard. After a documentation from the year 1773, the Chianti existed for the most part Canaiolo Nero with smaller shares of Sangiovese. mammolo and Marzemino, so consistently red varieties. But there are also the white varieties "Tribbiano and San Colombano" mentioned (one Trebbiano variety and the Verdea ). The legendary Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) made numerous attempts from 1850 to find an optimal recipe. In a letter from 1872 he summed up the result of his decades of experiments.

Baron Ricasoli recommended Sangiovese as the main dominant grape variety (75%, for aroma and strength) and for alleviation Canaiolo Nero (15%). The white Malvasia del Chianti ( Malvasia Bianca Lunga ) was suggested as a supplement for young people who were ready to eat, but was explicitly advised against keeping it longer. The White Trebbiano Toscano was not included in his recipe, but came later (up to 10%). Furthermore, other varieties (up to 5%) were allowed. But until the end of the 19th century, most of the winemakers continued to use the old recipe with a high percentage of Canaiolo Nero. The recommendations proposed by Ricasoli were only very slow for the traditional wineries.

The Chianti vineyards have expanded enormously in all directions. This was north to Greve and San Casciano, east through the Florentine mountains to Arezzo, south to far beyond Siena and west to Pisa very close to the Tyrrhenian coast. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany under Cosimo III. (1642-1723) from the family of Medici already in 1716 defined one of the first protected ones Origin designations for winegrowing areas. This concerned Carmignano, Chianti, Pomino and Val d'Arno di Sopra. By decree, the limits were set and prohibited, so that wines from other areas are called so. This seems self-evident today, but at the time it was a groundbreaking innovation. However, the Chianti area, which in the meantime has continued to grow, is not a closed area, but intersects with many other DOC zones, or, in other DOC zones, a Chianti may also be produced. these are Carmignano. Montalcino. Montepulciano. Pomino. Val d'Arbia. Valdichiana Toscana and Vernaccia di San Gimignano,

Chianti areas

Today's entire Chianti area (Chianti and Chianti-Classico) includes 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 approximately 24,000 hectares, of which 7,000 hectares are considered to be the best in quality Chianti Classico, In addition, there is a smaller denomination of origin within the seven sub-zone area, which is located at the label may be mentioned. 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 (only since 1997) and Chianti Rufina around Pontassieve. The best are Rufina, Colli Senesi and Colli Fiorentini. All other wines from the fringes are simply called Chianti. Both received the 1967 DOC and 1984 DOCG classification.

In the middle of the 20th century, Chianti finally became the typical one wrapped in raffia Fiasco bottles bottled mass wine and exported in large quantities. The 1967 DOC classification still essentially provided the Ricasoli recipe, in which up to 30% white varieties were allowed. Also, the yield of 80 hl / ha and the minimum extract content was still very generous. The DOCG status was associated with great 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 earnings greatly reduced and the age of the vines for DOCG Chiantis set at least five years. This resulted in significant quality improvements, which mainly affected the shelf life of the wines. Furthermore, up to 10% other red grape varieties were allowed, that was Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Syrah, Also the Barrique was allowed, but still mostly with much larger barrels (up to 100 hl). As a result, the harsh style of the rather bright red Chianti transformed into a dark, tannin-rich and storable red wine, which belongs to top producers of the best in Italy.

A change in the rules took place in 1996 with partly different rules for Chianti and Chianti Classico (look there). For the Chianti are the specifications per subzone in terms of hectares earnings. alcohol content and acidity something different. The marketing may in principle be made at the earliest on 1 March of the year following the harvest. The prescribed grape variety blend is at least 75 to 100% Sangiovese, maximum 10% Canaiolo Nero, maximum 10% other authorized red grape varieties, as well as maximum 10% of the white varieties Trebbiano Toscano and / or Malvasia del Chianti ( Malvasia Bianca Lunga ). The maximum yield is 9,000 kg per hectare for normal Chianti and 8,000 kg per hectare for the seven subzones.

The content of residual sugar may not exceed 4 g / l. The minimum alcohol content for the normal Chianti and 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 12% vol. For the Riserva are also 12% vol, as well as for six subzones except Montespertoli 12.5% vol. The Riserva has to mature for at least two years, of which at least three months in the bottle. Around 100 million liters of wine are produced every year in the entire Chianti region, and the proportion of Chianti Classico is around a quarter. The previously widespread technique of Governo is rarely used anymore. To give the producers the opportunity to produce other DOC wines, the two terms were Colli dell'Etruria Centrale and Vin Santo del Chianti created.

Map: By User: Kattivik - My own work on Provinces of Tuscany , CC BY 2.5 , link

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