Chianti Classico wines

Chianti Classico wines and the wineries that produce these great wines.

Chianti Classico wines

Still life showing the characteristic fiasco of Chianti wine, a large bottle held in a woven basket.

The Chianti Classico wine region of Tuscany lies between the hills to the west of the Val d'Arno and the mountains to the west, covering the southern part of the province of Florence and the northern part of that of Sienna. The Chianti Classico zone was inhabited by the Etruscans, a few of whose place names still survive, possibly including Chianti itself, and then by the Romans. Next came the Longobards and then the armies of three Tuscan cities that strove for predominance over this part of Tuscany, namely Arezzo, Florence and Sienna. Throughout this long history, right up until the 1950's, Chianti produced wine, olive oil and, above all, wheat. It was for this latter that Chianti was valued by the numerous conquering powers. It was only from the mid-nineteenth century onwards that wine began to predominate as the most valuable product of Chianti. Hence we have the beautiful valley south of Panzano in Chianti known as the Conca d'Oro, the golden bowl - the colour of wheat - now a green bowl of vineyards.

In the earliest times, the vines of the Chianti grapes, dominated by sangiovese, simply grew wild over the trees. When the time came to pick the grapes, children clambered up into the trees and threw down the bunches of grapes. From mediaeval times until the post-Renaissance period, cultivation was in the manner known as coltura promiscua where rows of grapes were interspersed among rows of vegetables and of olive trees. The neat rows of vines that characterise Chianti today are a post-war reflection of the mechanisation of agriculture, in Chianti and throughout Italy. In fact, the vineyards are often referred to as "Fiat vineyards" since the space between the rows of grape vines has been chosen to be just wide enough for  Fiat caterpillar to pass between them during ploughing.

More about Chianti Classico wines.

More about the history of Chianti Classico wines.

More about Chianti, Italy.

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