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DOCG area for red wine in the Italian region of Tuscany. This wine, which is one level higher than the "normal" Chianti, comes from the classic Chianti region, which was already in use in 1716 by Grand Duke Cosimo III, who was a member of the Medici family. (1642-1723), which was much smaller at the time. In 1932, other areas or municipalities were added to complete the present area. The very wooded area covers 70,000 hectares, but only 7,000 hectares are used for wine growing. The suburbs of Florence form the border to the north, the Chianti mountains to the east, the rivers Pesa and Elsa to the west and Siena to the south. The circular 70-kilometre-long "Via Chiantigiana" wine route connects the two cities of Florence and Siena. The area includes the municipalities of Castellina, Gaiole, Greve and Radda in their entirety, and in part the municipalities of Barberino Val d'Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi, San Casciano and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
The best locations are the medium altitudes south of Greve, north of Radda and Castellina, and the slopes that extend south from Gaiole to Castelnuovo towards the Arbia Valley. Compared to the normal Chianti area, there are numerous hilly areas between 250 and 600 metres above sea level with dry and warm soils. The typical Chianti Classico soils are Galestro (loose calcareous marl) and Alberese (weathered sandstone), which do not become too moist even during heavy rainfall. The Galestro also gave its name to an IGT white wine. The trademark of the area and also of the "Consorzio del Marchio Storico Chianti Classico" is Gallo nero (a black rooster), which goes back to a legend about the origin of the borders in the Chianti area. As with Chianti, there is also a DOC area Vin Santo del Chianti Classico.
In the past, the Chianti-Classico had more and more problems to distinguish itself from its "smaller brother" Chianti, the two wines were often confused. For this reason, the Consorzio issued some norms to manifest the difference. The basic statement is that these are two categories of wine which, despite certain similarities, are fundamentally different in terms of production methods, qualitative characteristics and environmental conditions. The two wines can therefore be considered as independent, even if for historical reasons they are included in the only protected designation of origin, Chianti.
The new regulations came into force after a transitional period of several years starting with the 2006 harvest. In the Chianti-Classico area, normal Chianti may no longer be produced. If the prescribed yield limits or the minimum alcohol content are not complied with, the (previously given) possibility of declassification to normal Chianti is no longer permitted. Bottling must be carried out within the production area, which is otherwise not required by Italian wine law for any other wine. Marketing may take place at the earliest on 1 October of the year following the harvest.
The minimum percentage of Sangiovese has been increased from 75% to 80%, although pure variety is also permitted. The proportion of other red varieties may not exceed 20%. Mostly this is Canaiolo Nero, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The formerly permitted white varieties Malvasia del Chianti(Malvasia Bianca Lunga) and Trebbiano Toscano are now prohibited. The maximum permitted yield applies both per plant, with a maximum of three kilograms per vine, and per hectare, with 7,500 kilograms (corresponding to a total of 52.5 hectolitres of wine); the maximum must yield is 70%. The alcohol content must be at least 12% vol and the residual sugar must not exceed 4 g/l. At 12.5% vol. and matured for 24 months (including at least three months in the bottle), it may call itself Riserva. From the best producers riservas are only produced in very good years. The best vintages are 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2004.
At the beginning of 2014, a new three-level quality pyramid was introduced. The basis is "Chianti Classico Annata". The middle level "Chianti Classico Riserva" corresponds to the "old" specifications. New is the quality top "Chianti Classico Gran Selezione" with a maturation period of at least 30 months (of which three months in bottle), whereby the grapes must come exclusively from the producer. There are even stricter regulations than for the Riserva, these are deep ruby red colour, spicy persistent aroma, dry balanced taste, at least 13% vol. alcohol content, at least 4.5 g/l total acidity and at least 26 g/l extract. Moreover, this wine must not be bottled in the folkloric raffia bottle Fiasco. Retroactively, wines not yet marketed could be declared with the new quality class from the 2010 vintage onwards