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DOCG area for red wine in the Italian region Tuscany, If you have ten people after the most famous wine Italy asked, you probably get the answer "Chianti" from at least eight. The wine is named after the hilly landscape between Florence and Siena. The name is probably from the name of a Etruscan Family emerged. The first mention of a Chianti wine comes from 1404 when a Prato merchant named Francesco Datini 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 today Chianti Classico area, The feudal lords of the Chianti Confederation had vineyards there as early as the 13th century.

Chianti - vineyards

There is a nice legend about the origin of the old borders. The hostile citizens of the city-states of Siena and Florence wanted to end their eternal border disputes and determine the areas of influence through a competition. At the first rooster cry, two riders - one from Siena, one from Florence - should leave. Where they would meet should be the final line between the two cities. The Sienese had a white rooster, 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, which made them starve, so that it started to crow very early. Therefore, her rider was able to start much earlier and met his opponent 15 kilometers before Siena near Fonterutoli. This gave Florence a large part of the Chianti area. The landmark of Chianti-Classico is Gallo nero (black rooster) and recalls this story, which may not be entirely true.

A red Chianti was already produced in the early Middle Ages, but the grape varieties used have certainly changed and were not so rigorously specified at that time or not followed due to lack of control. Every winemaker probably made his Chianti according to the varieties available in his vineyard. According to a document from 1773, the former Chianti largely existed Canaiolo Nero with smaller proportions of Sangiovese. mammolo and Marzemino, all red varieties. But the white varieties "Tribbiano and San Colombano" are also mentioned (one Trebbiano variety and the Verdea ). The legendary Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) carried out numerous experiments from 1850 to find an optimal recipe. In a letter from 1872, he summarized the results of his decades of experiments.

Baron Ricasoli recommended Sangiovese as the primary grape variety (75%, for aroma and strength) and for softening Canaiolo Nero (15%). The white Malvasia del Chianti ( Malvasia Bianca Lunga ) has been suggested as an additive for young wines that are ready to be enjoyed, but expressly discouraged for wines that can be stored for longer. The White Trebbiano Toscano was not considered in his recipe, but was added later (up to 10%). Furthermore, other varieties (up to 5%) were allowed. But until the end of the 19th century, most winegrowers continued to use the old recipe with a high percentage of Canaiolo Nero. The recommendations proposed by Ricasoli were very slow to gain acceptance in traditional wineries.

The Chianti vineyards have expanded enormously in all directions. This took place 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 sex of the Medici already defined one of the first protected ones in 1716 Origin designations for winegrowing areas. This affected Carmignano, Chianti, Pomino and Val d'Arno di Sopra. By decree, the limits were set and prohibited that wines from other areas are called that. That seems obvious today, but it was a groundbreaking innovation at the time. The Chianti area, which has grown further in the meantime, is not a closed area, but overlaps with many other DOC zones, or a 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 areas

Today's entire Chianti area (i.e. the two areas Chianti and Chianti-Classico) includes vineyards in the six provinces Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena with around 7,000 producers in over 100 municipalities. The total area of vines is around 24,000 hectares, of which 7,000 hectares are considered the best quality Chianti Classico, In addition, there is a narrower designation of origin within the area with seven subzones, the most label may be cited. 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. Rufina, Colli Senesi and Colli Fiorentini are considered the best. All other wines from the peripheral zones are simply referred to as Chianti. Both received the DOC classification in 1967 and the DOCG classification in 1984.

In the middle of the 20th century, the Chianti finally became the typical bast wrapped Fiasco bottles bottled mass wine and exported in large quantities. The 1967 DOC classification essentially provided for the Ricasoli recipe, in which up to 30% white varieties were permitted. The yield of 80 hl / ha and the minimum extract content was still very generous. The DOCG status was 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 the Chianti and 6% for the Chianti Classico.

In addition, the earnings greatly reduced and the age of the vines for DOCG Chiantis set to at least five years. This resulted in significant quality improvements, which primarily affected the shelf life of the wines. Furthermore, up to 10% other red grape varieties were allowed Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Syrah, Also the Barrique was permitted, but for the most part it takes place with much larger barrels (up to 100 hl). As a result, the tart style of the rather light red Chianti changed to a dark, tannin-rich and storable red wine, which is one of the best in Italy by top producers.

The regulations were changed in 1996 with partly different regulations for Chianti and Chianti Classico (look there). For the Chianti, the specifications per hectare are per subzone earnings. alcohol content and acidity slightly different. In principle, marketing may take place on March 1 of the year following the harvest at the earliest. The prescribed blend of grape varieties is at least 75 to 100% Sangiovese, maximum 10% Canaiolo Nero, a maximum of 10% other approved 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 content of residual sugar may not exceed 4 g / l. The minimum alcohol content for 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 12% vol. For the Riserva also apply 12% vol, and for six subzones except Montespertoli 12.5% vol. The riserva must mature for at least two years, at least three months in the bottle. Around 100 million liters of wine are produced annually in the entire Chianti area, the share of the Chianti Classico is around a quarter. The previously widespread technique of Governo is rarely used. In order to give producers the opportunity to produce other DOC wines, the two names were used 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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