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Chianti

Chianti is one of Italy's most historic and popular red wines, and a symbol of Tuscany and the Italian wine world in general. Already widespread in the Middle Ages as shown by an accounting document of 1398, its modern characteristics were standardised by Baron Bettino Ricasoli who, in 1840, was the first to suggest the predominant use of Sangiovese grapes, limiting the use of Canaiolo and other varieties as blending grapes. It is historically produced in an area limited to the provinces of Siena and Florence, and later extended to the whole region. In recent decades, a qualitative revival has led to the recognition of a specific denomination for the Classico territory and seven historical sub-zones such as Rufina and the Colli Senesi, which have since become a guarantee of excellence.

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Chianti is one of Italy's most historic and popular red wines, and a symbol of Tuscany and the Italian wine world in general. Already widespread in the Middle Ages as shown by an accounting document of 1398, its modern characteristics were standardised by Baron Bettino Ricasoli who, in 1840, was the first to suggest the predominant use of Sangiovese grapes, limiting the use of Canaiolo and other varieties as blending grapes. It is historically produced in an area limited to the provinces of Siena and Florence, and later extended to the whole region. In recent decades, a qualitative revival has led to the recognition of a specific denomination for the Classico territory and seven historical sub-zones such as Rufina and the Colli Senesi, which have since become a guarantee of excellence.

The Territory and Ancient History of Chianti

In the central part of Tuscany, mainly between the cities of Siena, Florence, Arezzo and the Pisan Hills, is a hilly area that for centuries has been the home of great red wines. The unique morphological characteristics and the variability of climate and altitude shape a region that is highly suited to the cultivation of vines.

It is a splendid natural landscape, almost as if it had been painted, with the silver of the olive trees, the typical elegance of the cypresses, the evocative castles and medieval villages, the chestnut and oak woods and, last but not least, the extraordinary expanses of vineyards. Sangiovese, one of the most prestigious and popular red grapes of the Italian territory, is the protagonist of this unique stretch of land. Together with a dash of local grapes, such as Canaiolo, it produces Chianti wine, an outstanding example of Italy's great winemaking culture.

From a historical point of view, the name seems to derive from the Latin word 'clangor', meaning 'noise', referring to hunting trips in the Tuscan woods. Other evidence seems to trace the name back to the Etruscan Clante, in honour of the noble families that populated the area. The earliest historical documents mention an ancient League, made up of the municipalities of Gaiole, Radda and Castellina, which regulated trade with Florence and had a black rooster as its symbol. It is no coincidence that these three municipalities, together with the Florentine municipalities of Casciano Tavernelle, Greve, Barberino and the Sienese municipalities of Castelnuovo Berardenga and Poggibonsi, were the birthplace of the Chianti Classico appellation, represented by this black rooster.


Production Areas and Tasting Profile

The best Chianti wine is produced in seven subzones, in addition to the historic Classico zone: Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano, Rufina and Montespertoli. Each area can also produce two different types: Chianti Riserva, if aged for at least two years, three of which in the bottle, and Superiore, whose specifications are stricter and require an alcohol content of at least 12%. Since 2013, a new mention, Gran Selezione, has been added to Classico, which must be aged for at least 30 months and originates from the most suitable vineyards cultivated under more rigorous regulations.

This great Italian wine is dark ruby red in colour with little transparency, which can turn to garnet in the older expressions that are aged longer in wood. The characteristic aromas, despite the use of a small percentage of other blending grapes, are mainly those typical of Sangiovese. These aromas are often intense and complex, with red and black fruit, including plum, wild berries and black cherry, and floral scents of violets.

With ageing in wood, spiced scents can also emerge, such as black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, and tertiary aromas, including tobacco, cocoa, liquorice and undergrowth. On the palate, it releases freshness and sharpness, which in many cases are balanced by the softness of the other grape varieties, or can be balanced and rounded off by ageing in wood. It usually has a good alcohol content and a long, persistent aftertaste.

On Callmewine you will find a vast selection of the best Chianti wines online, complete with detailed descriptions and technical specifications, as well as pairing suggestions and serving instructions. Discover the wine that best suits your tastes on your online wine shop and buy it at the best price.