Chianti D.O.C.G. - Chianti Classico D.O.C.G.
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The Chianti D.O.C.G. production zone is made up of territories in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena which are defined by law. The characteristics of such a territory are hilly areas laid out in wide terraces with rivers running along the bottom of the valleys.
The origins of Chianti wine are lost in time, but consacration came first in the nineteenth century and then with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (controlled denomination of origin), in an Italian Presidential Decree of 9th August 1967 when the characteristics were established in specially drawn up Production Regulations.
The "Chianti" denomination can be integrated with the specifications, Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, R¨fina and Montespertoli. All of these, except for the last one, Montespertoli, correspond to geographic sub-areas as established in the first territorial boundaries set forth in the Ministerial Decree dated 31/7/1932. Montespertoli was recognized by the Decree dated 8/9/1997. In these subzones more restricted formalities for the production of wine are requested.
Chianti also had its particular quality formally recognized in the Presidential Decree of 2nd July 1984 which gave it the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin) mark. From that moment onwards, as well as the checks to which it was already subjected, Chianti wine has had to undergo an organoleptic test by a government tasting commission at the Chambers of Commerce and also specific chemical analyses. Only on passing these tests can Chianti be bottled and distinguished with the band certifying its quality. The assigned protective Consortiums are authorized to carry out the controls and grant the countermarks with the initials D.O.C.G.
Ministerial decree 5/8/96 modified existing regulations concerning the enactment of two distinct disciplines for Chianti wines and for Chianti Classico. The basic vine varieties contributing to the formation of the Chianti vineyard are as follows: Sangiovese 75-100%, Canaiolo up to 10%, Trebbiano and Malvasia up to 10% (up to 6% for Classico), red berry complements up to 10% (up to 15% for Classico). The maximum yield of grapes per hectare is 90 quintals for Chianti, 80 quintals for Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, R¨fina and Montespertoli, 75 quintals for Chianti Classico and Chianti Superiore.
The colour of Chianti is ruby red, tending towards pomegranate red when aged. The flavour is harmonic, dry, sapid, slightly tannic, with an intensely vinous aroma and occasionally a violet scent.
Chianti Classico is the region located in the centre of Tuscany between the two cities of Florence and Siena, and includes in its lands the Communes of Castellina, Gaiole, Greve and Radda in Chianti in their entirety and of Barberino Val d'Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi, San Casciano and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa in part. Mostly covered by woods, "Chianti Classico" is a hilly zone with altitudes ranging from 250 to 600 metres a.s.l.; the climate is continental, but without excessive thermal ranges, and with annual rainfall of around 800-900 millimetres; the stony and not very deep soil, also with considerable slopes, consists prevalently of arenacious higher zones and of lower ones that are rich in marl.
The characteristics of the climate, soil and altitude make the "Chianti Classico" a region that is particularly called to the production of quality wines: there are 10,000 hectares devoted to vineyards, and 6,972 of these are registered in the "Albo dei Vigneti" (Register of Vineyards) for the production of DOCG (Denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin) Chianti Classico wine. The DOCG Chianti Classico wine may be produced by utilising exclusively Sangiovese grapes (75% min. up to 100%), the red-berry "vitigno" vine which is indigenous to Central Italy and gives life to ruby-red colour wines that with ageing tend to garnet-red, with a spicy fragrance and small wild fruits with good structure, elegant rotund, velvety. Together with the Sangiovese, "canaiolo" (a species of black grapes) (up to l0%), always with red berries, two grapes with white berries, "malvasia" and "trebbiano" (up to 6%) and, lastly, up to a maximum of 15%, other grapes with red berries identified among those indicated by law, can share in the ampelographic base. Regulations on important productive limitations, regarding the plant (maximum of 3 kg per strain) ond the hectares (75 quintals of grapes, i.e. 52,50 hectolitres), the indication of the minimum alcoholic content (12░ for vintage wines, 12.5░ for the reserves), and the date of release for sale (1st October following the harvest), are provided for.
In addition, the wine-making preservation, ageing and bottling must take place within the production zone. The Consortium of the "Marchio Storico - Chianti Classico", which has the qualification and promotion of the product among its primary objectives, was founded in 1924 by 33 producers in Radda in Chianti. Ever since, the guarantee trodemark which distinguishes the bottles of "Chianti Classico" wine produced by its members is the "Gallo Nero" (black cockerel), the historic symbol of the military league of Chianti which operated in this territory from the 14th century on. To obtain the "Gallo Nero" trademark, the members must respect the technical indications of the Consortium and submit their wines to tasting evaluations and to strict chemical analyses.
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