History of Chianti
In 1995 it became legal to produce a Chianti with 100% Sangiovese. For a wine to retain the name of Chianti, it must be produced with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes An example of these Italian wines may have a picture of a black rooster (known in Italian as a gallo nero) on the neck of the bottle, which indicates that the producer of the wine is a member of the Gallo Nero Consortium, an association of producers of the Classico sub-area sharing marketing costs. Since 2005, the black rooster has been the emblem of the Chianti Classico producers association. Aged examples of these Italian wines (38 months instead of 4-7), may be labelled as Riserva.
The Chianti Classico region covers an area of approximate 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) between the city of Florence to the north and Siena to the south. The four communes of Castellina, Gaiole, Greve and Radda in Chianti are located entirely within the boundaries of the Classico region with parts of Barberino Val d'Elsa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa in the province of Florence as well as Castelnuovo Berardenga and Poggibonsi in the province of Siena included within the permitted boundaries of Chianti Classico. The soil and geography of this region can be quite varied, with altitudes ranging from 820 feet (250 meters) to 2000 feet (610 meters), and rolling hills producing differing macroclimates. There are two main soil types in the region: a weathered sandstone known as albarese and a bluish-gray chalky marlstone known as galestro.5] The soil in the north is richer and more fertile with more galestro, with the soil gradually becoming harder and stonier with more albarese in the south; making the process of growing the grapes used in Italian wines unique and challenging. In the north, the Arno river can have an influence on the climate, keeping the temperatures slightly cooler, an influence that diminishes further south in the warmer Classico territory towards Castelnuovo Berardenga.