Chianti Classico is celebrating 300 years of history

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Posted by Mikolaj (11/03/2016)
If you need an extra reason to visit Tuscany this year, Chianti Classico is celebrating 300 years of history. On this occasion there will be a lot of events, ceremonies and festivals in Chianti area through the year. You don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy it!

In 1716 the Medici Grand Duke, Cosimo III, declared the boundaries of the Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Vald'Arno di Sopra wine growing regions  between the cities of Florence and Siena. He also established an organization to control wine production and to guard against counterfeiting.
In the archives of the castle of Brolio there are two documents that prove Tuscany was the first region in the world to create the appellations of origin with strict regulations on area, production and trade. As we can read on Castello do Brolio web page,  the first document, dated July 7, 1716, is an order issued by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, establishing a "Congregation of Wines" (first associations).  The Consortium Vino Chianti Classico shows that date on its logo. The second document, dated 25 September 1716, is a call of the same Congregation for each wine that marks the boundaries for the production areas and sets very strict standards for the trade of all types of wine: the register of vineyards, the supervision of the production, the declaration of sales, shipping and control frauds of the wine trade.  It can be considered as the very first disciplinary of production
In 1872 baron Bettino Ricasoli, owner of Castello do Brolio and second prime minister of recently united Italy, described that Chianti wine should be made as a blend of sangiovese, canaiolo and malvasia grapes. Since then it worked as rule for winemakers in this area.
By 1924, there was a need to redefine the areas, so was born, in 1924, the “Consortium for the protection of Chianti wine and its trademark of origin.” This Consortium chose the Black Rooster as it’s symbol because it is the historic emblem of the Lega Militare del Chianti, reproduced by Giorgio Vasari in his Allegory of Chianti frescoed on the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. Soon after, in 1932, the suffix “Classico” was added to distinguish the original wine production zone from the extended one (called simply “Chianti”).
In 1984 Chianti Classico obtained DOCG (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita), the highest accolade for Italian quality wines. In 1996 it became an independent DOCG and in 2010 the two appellations, Chianti and Chianti Classico, were separated so that today Chianti wines can no longer be made in the Chianti Classico production zone. In 2013 the members’ Assembly approved a series of modifications to the production specifications which started a real reorganisation of the whole DOC.
Recently leading winemakers in the Chianti Classico zone decided to push for the creation of a new tier of wines at the very top level. Until now, Chianti Classico Riserva had been the highest category, but one that was open to abuse. A riserva had to be aged longer than regular Chianti Classico and had to meet a few other criteria. But it was within the rules for a producer to give a vat of his regular Chianti some extra ageing and then bottle it as riserva – and charge a higher price. Moreover some riservas were single-vineyard wines, while others were blends. The term had become close to meaningless.
So well-known producers, including Giovanni Manetti of Fontodi, Marco Pallanti of Castello di Ama and the Mazzeis of Fonterutoli, began to argue for a new top tier to be known as gran selezione. In February 2014, with great fanfare, the new range was launched in the the colossal salle dei Cinquecento in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.


There are lots of festivals dotted throughout the year. On the 4th and 5th of June we recommend you head to Radda in Chianti for "Radda nel bicchiere". The idea is simple, you purchase a glass and then visit in excess of 20 stands hosting local producers who will encourage you to sample their masterpieces. Between the 8th and 11th September it is the turn of Greve to welcome wine lovers to their festival. Once again you purchase a glass and can sample up to eight locally produced wines. Then from the 15th to 18th September the Panzano wine festival takes place in the village square. Visitors are encouraged to sample the wines, chat to the wine makers and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere as jazz music fills the warm late-summer air.
If you love your biciclette as much or even more than your Chianti you have to be in Chianti on the 15th May to witness the 99th edition of the Giro d'Italia bike race whizz past the picturesque vineyards.

Below you can find the full list of the events. Some are annual events in the Chianti area but they are going to be enriched and characterized by Chianti Classico Anniversary celebration.
Program is composed by events from April to October 2016, to be related to several events in the Chianti area, Florence and Siena.

Chanti Classico wine festival and tasting:
23 - 24 April, Greve in Chianti, Ruffoli Wine Festival, Ruffoli
14 – 15 May. Castellina in Chianti, Pentecoste a Castellina
2 – 5 June, Greve in Chianti, Profumi di Lamole
4 – 5 June, Radda in Chianti, Radda nel Bicchiere
7 July, Barberino Val d'Elsa, Notte Rosa
10 August, Castellina in Chianti, Calici di Stelle
12 August, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Calici di Stelle
8 – 11 September, Greve in Chianti, Expo del Chianti Classico
16 – 18 September, Greve in Chianti (Panzano), Vino al Vino, Panzano
24 - 25 September, Greve in Chianti (Montefioralle), Montefioralle Divino
Top of the events will be on 24th September, anniversary of Cosimo III de' Medici's edict, in Florence: celebration in Salone dei 500, Palazzo Vecchio and concert at Nuovo Teatro dell'Opera.

Wine and Food events:
Street food festival, 16th and 17th April - Barberino Val d’Elsa
Street food festival, June - San Casciano Val di Pesa
Fiorentina T-bone steak contest, June - San Casciano Val di Pesa and Mercatale
Music and Festival (dates still to be defined):
Medieval Festival in Radda, July
Pipe Organ Music Festival, June to August – Radda in Chianti
Blues Festival, July – Castelnuovo Berardenga

Giro d'Italia, 15th May – Greve in Chianti to Radda in Chianti
Maratona del Chianti, 5th June – San Casciano Val di Pesa
Gran Fondo del Gallo Nero, 18th September - -Radda in Chianti
L'Eroica, 2nd October – Gaiole in Chianti
Ecomaratona del Chianti, 15th and 16th October – Castelnuovo Berardenga

More information to be found here:
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

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