Tuscan wine guide

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Tuscan wine regions

Chianti and Chianti Classico are they two different tuscan wine regions?

Today my post is the result of my researches linked to my activity as wine tour guide in Tuscany and to the aim of spreading an accurate wine knowledge out of the Italian borders during my day tours in the tuscan wine areas.

Some comments caught my attention and I believe my readers need to get a clarification about the largest wine zone in Tuscany : the Chianti area.

Chianti region lies in central Tuscany and it's characterized by some high mountains although shortened over the millenniums by the erosion due to the atmosphere agents and some soft rolling hills the tuscan countryside generally is known for.

From a technical point of view the area planted on vineyards is mostly in the hills and anyway not over 2000 feet of altitude where the microclimate stays almost humid with a tendency of dryness during the summer season and strong temperature excursion around the harvest period ( September - October ) and the vineyard soils predominately composed of marl and chalk.

Although the origins of the word "chianti" are still discussed by scholars cause the word can be associated to the Latin word used to describe a noise ( maybe the one during the hunting season) or can be associated to the Etruscans last names as first inhabitant of the area or can derive from the Etruscan word "clante"= water.... For sure we know that from the 18th century for the first time the word "chianti" started to be used to describe a red wine region near Siena and specifically composed of three villages:  Gaiole, Radda, Castellina.

But it's in the 20th century that the borders and composition of the area has been redrawn so the entire Chianti region started to be divided in 7 sub zones which eventually resulted to be 8 only in recent years: Chianti Classico, Chianti Colli Aretini, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Colline Pisane, Chianti Colli Senesi, Montalbano, Rùfina and Montespertoli.

Wine zones in Tuscany 

Among these zones 7 of them are labelled under the denomination Chianti DOCG wines, but Chianti Classico has its own DOCG and it's uniquely labelled as Chianti Classico DOCG. 

So if you are touring one of these areas you are in the Chianti wine region and if you spend a day in Chianti Classico you are still in Chianti but you are exploring one specific sub zone which is the oldest wine area because it is composed of the villages of Gaiole, Radda, Castellina which originally gave the name to the wine region itself as previously stated plus these three villages have a relevant historical aspect being part of a military legacy the so called Lega del chianti which played such  a big role in the struggles between Florence and Siena over the Middle Ages and specially in terms of strongly defining their borders.

As a matter if fact Chianti Classico DOCG has a unique extra label, a black rooster, which represents only this historical wine region being the original code of arm of the above mentioned chianti league.

The restyling of the logo

And if you are drinking a Chianti wine or a chianti Classico wine for sure you are tasting two different style wines coming from the same family.

For sure the second wines follow a strict set of guidelines but resulted in high quality wines which surpassed the old fiasco!

I hope I helped in understanding the way we classify our wine regions and wines in general but for thirsty people an educational wine tour in tuscan with a wine consultant will 
enrich your wine knowledge with this and several other stories!

See you for a tuscan wine tour with cultural insight!

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