The Chianti region is one of the most beautiful and famous areas in Tuscany. Chianti is strongly tied to its wine and its wine culture. Chianti’s gentle hills are alluringly sketched by miles and miles of vineyards that each season color the landscape in different hues. Hills in shades of green, purple, red and yellow attract thousands of visitors every year.
Chianti (pronounced [ˈkjanti]) is a red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. It was historically associated with a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco (“flask”; pl. fiaschi); however, the fiasco is only used by a few makers of the wine now; most Chianti is now bottled in more standard shaped wine bottles. Baron Bettino Ricasoli (later Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Italy) created the Chianti recipe of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The first definition of a wine-area called Chianti was made in 1716. It described the area near the villages of Gaiole, Castellina and Radda; the so-called Lega del Chianti and later Provincia del Chianti (Chianti province). In 1932 the Chianti area was completely re-drawn and divided in seven sub-areas: Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Rùfina. Most of the villages that in 1932 were suddenly included in the new Chianti Classico area added in Chianti to their name-such as Greve in Chianti which amended its name in 1972. Wines labeled Chianti Classico come from the biggest sub-area of Chianti, that sub-area that includes the old Chianti area.
In 1716 Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany issued an edict legislating that the three villages of the Lega del Chianti (Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, and Radda in Chianti) as well as the village of Greve and a 2-mile (3-km) stretch of hillside north of Greve near Spedaluzza as the only officially recognized producers of Chianti. This delineation existed until July 1932, when the Italian government expanded the Chianti zone to include the outlying areas of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, and part of territories of Barberino Val d’Elsa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, in the province of Florence, and Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi in the province of Siena.
The black rooster (gallo nero in Italian) that appears on the neck labels of many Chianti Classico is the symbol of the Consorzio Chianti Classico, the foundation of producers in the Chianti Classico region. The foundation was founded with the aim of promoting the wines of the region, improving quality and preventing wine fraud. Since the 1980s, the foundation has sponsored extensive research into the viticultural and winemaking practice of the Chianti Classic area, particularly in the area of clonal research. In the last quarter of a century more than 50% of the vineyards in the Chianti Classic region have been replanted with improved Sangiovese clones and to modern vineyard schematics as part of the Consorzio Chianti Classico’s project “Chianti 2000”.