Chianti wine is renowned throughout the world
And it is produced throughout the Tuscan countryside. However, its real roots can be traced back to the historically fascinating region that lies between Siena and Florence.
It was back in 1716 that the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de’ Medici III, first declared that this region of Italy had permission to produce a wine that is now known as Chianti Classico, which is instantly identifiable by its famous label, which depicts the Gallo Nero, the black rooster.
Common perception is that the name Chianti was derived from the word used to describe the bold black rooster calls that can be heard in the deep woodlands of the area. The Black Rooster label is a sure-fire sign that you are enjoying authentic Chianti and the deep, rich tastes of the local Sangiovese grape and the Consorzio Vinco Chianti Classico, a consortium of Classico producers, invest significant effort in promoting Chianti Classico wines and protecting the black rooster trademark.
Throughout the Chianti-producing area of Tuscany, there is now a strong focus on returning to the historic wine-producing traditions of the area, and more and more vineyards are focusing on cultivation and environmental responsibility.
What is undeniable is that Tuscany is an area of the world that wine aficionados will love. The numerous vineyards, enoteche (wine bars), and specialty stores that are dotted throughout the region make it a delight for people who appreciate fine wines.
The Chianti region as a whole spans a large realm of which the Chianti Classico area is a small part. It consists of eight distinct areas that have all been granted the permission to produce wines that bear their regional Chianti name. However, it is the Chianti Classico zone that is the most renowned of these eight districts and the wines produced in this area are widely regarded as being the premier Chianti wines. Wines from Chianti Classico are exported throughout the world, and this area of Italy is a powerhouse in the winemaking economy.
The Chianti Classico area of Tuscany was formally recognized in 1995 when it was awarded DOCG status, which regulates how and where this famous wine can be produced. Although the regulations are becoming increasingly more liberal, they still define the systematic framework by which Chianti Classico can be produced, and every producer must ensure that these processes are fully adhered to.
To be labeled with the Chianti Classico label
The wine must consist of a minimum 80% Sangiovese grape. Wine enthusiasts will instantly recognize the strong undertones of violets and floral bouquets that give this wine its deep, rich taste. Their good acidity makes them an ideal accompaniment to pasta, vegetable, and white meat dishes.
While Chianti is undoubtedly the most famous wine of the Chianti Classico, it is not the only wine that is produced here. Other wines, which have earned the title of “Super Tuscans” are also produced throughout the area and have attracted a strong reputation in their own right.
Unlike Chianti Classico producers, the Super Tuscan cellars have full flexibility in terms of how they make their wines. As such, the varieties of grapes, management of the production process, and cellaring techniques differ from producer to producer. For example, while all Chianti Classico wines consist of at least 80% Sangiovese grapes, many Super Tuscan producers use alternative grapes from much further afield, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Each of the Super Tuscan varieties is a bespoke blend that is finely tuned according to the distinct style of the producer. Unlike the Chianti Classico, it isn’t the regulatory approval that makes the Super Tuscans stand out from the crowd but the artistic talent and meticulous production processes of the producers.
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