A New Branch of the Chianti Family Tree?

Tree Use for ChiantiNews Flash!

Last month (February 17, 2013 to be exact), the Chianti Classico Consorzio approved the creation of a new top-tier classification of Chianti Classico DOCG wines to be known as “Gran Selezione.”  The term is expected to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, and if so, will be a quality level “above” Chianti Classico Riserva. 

It is estimated that approximately 7% of the production of Chianti Classico will be eligible for the  designation.  The first wines eligible to display the term on their label will be those from the 2010 vintage.

If you’ve been following my study guide on the wines of the Veneto (or even if you’ve been following Italian wines at all) you know that Italian wines are already surrounded by a jungle of regulatory and legislative classifications.  Luckily, this in no way affects how delicious, delightful, and affordable they can be!

In the interest of “keeping it simple.” here is a quick look at how this new branch of the Chianti family tree fits in with its brothers and sisters:

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG:

  • Must be produced from 100% estate-grown fruit
  • Minimum 30 months of aging  
  • Is intended to acknowledge vineyard-specific wines
  • Will represent approximately 7% of the production of Chianti Classico

chianti classico gallo neroChianti Classico Riserva DOCG:

  • Minimum 24 months of aging
  • Minimum 12.5% abv

Chianti Classico DOCG:

  • Minimum 12 months of aging
  • Minimum 12% abv

All versions of Chianti Classico must be a minimum of 80% Sangiovese, produced from grapes grown within the 100-square miles of the designated Chianti Classico region.  Up to 10% Canaiolo may used, along with up to 15% other varieties, of which Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot are often used.  Yields are limited to 3 tons per acre.

Sangiovese in TuscanyBy the way, not everyone is thrilled about this new development.  A quick websearch on “New Chianti Classification” revealed a wide range of opinions up to and including disgust(!), bewilderment(!), and we are not amused(!).  Of course, many people also think it is a great idea, intended to showcase and honor the highest level of production of the region.  We will be watching how this plays out in the future!

My Source (in Italian): http://www.aisitalia.it/chianti-classico-gran-selezione.aspx

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas  – missjane@prodigy.net

If you think there is a Bubbly Professor Tuscany Quiz in your future…you are correct!


Tales of the Vine: The Hungry Black Rooster

The Hungry Black Rooster

The wine region we know as Chianti, running throughout the Tuscan landscape from Florence in the north and spreading south to the medieval town of Siena and beyond, is one of the oldest geographically defined wine regions on earth.  Winemaking in this region can be documented as far back as the 13th Century.  The first defined boundaries of the Chianti Wine Region were set in 1716 by The Grand Duke Cosimo III de Medici.

The area now known as the Chianti Classico DOCG contains the original, historic center of the region.  Its wines are considered to be the original wines of Chianti and the best.  Winemakers in Chianti Classico guard the vineyards, the wine, and their region’s reputation fiercely.

In 1924, a group of grape growers and winemakers formed a group to promote and protect the image of the wines of Chianti Classico and took as their symbol the Gallo Nero, or Black Rooster.  In 2003 the Italian government gave the group, known as the Consortium (Consorzio) of Chianti Classico, regulatory control of the entire production of Chianti Classico, and all the wines of the region now bear the symbol of the Black Rooster.

The legend of the Black Rooster dates back to a 14th century boundary dispute between Florence and Siena.   After a long and drawn out battle, the two Republics decoded tp settle the issue with a race between two knights on horseback.  According to the rules of the match, each knight would set off from their respective home towns upon the crow of the rooster. In other words, the race was to commence—you would think—at dawn.  The knights would travel along the road between the two Republics, and the point where they met in the middle would be the official boundary line between Florence and Siena.

The townspeople of Siena chose as their representative a white rooster.  In order to make him a happy, strong singer, they fed and pampered their rooster until the appointed day.

The people of Florence chose a black rooster and fed him sparingly—so little in fact, that on the morning of the contest he was so hungry that he woke up several hours before dawn, and crowed and crowed until he was fed.  Thus, the knight from Florence began his part of the race in what was basically the middle of the night. Not surprisingly, he covered most of the road between the two Republics before he met up with the Knight from Siena.

As a result, almost the whole of the land of Chianti was annexed to the Republic of Florence and the “Black Rooster”, or “Gallo Nero”  became the symbol of the Republic of Florence.  The Gallo Nero became the symbol of the original “Lega di Chianti” in the 16th century.

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net