Chianti Classico is a leading Tuscan DOCG zone which
covers approximately 7,000ha between Florence and Siena. Its vineyards
stretch into the Apennine foothills at between 150m and 500m altitude and
encompass two distinct terroirs and styles. The sandy alluvial soils of the
lower sites yield fuller, meatier wines while the limestone and galestro rocks
of the higher vineyards deliver finer, more ethereal examples.
The origins of Chianti date back to the Middle Ages although Chianti
Classico was really born in 1716 when Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany
classified the zone, identifying the villages of Radda, Greve, Panzano,
Gaiole and Castellina as the leading sites. These same villages still
represent the nucleus of the Chianti Classico DOCG today. The
regulations have been revised, however, to insist that the wine is made from a
minimum 80% Sangioveseand a maximum 20%
Canaiolo and ‘ameliorative’ grapes (like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon)from the 2006
vintage no white grapes are allowed.
Chianti Classico cannot be released until 1st October in the year
following the harvest, while Chianti Classico Riserva must undergo 24 months
of ageing before release, including at least 3 months in bottle. At the
region’s top addresses, French barriques are gradually being adopted in
the place of the traditional, larger Slavonian ‘botte’.
Gagliole, Monte Bernardi, Tenuta Fontodi