Chianti Classico Unveiled: Dive into one of the world's oldest demarcated wine regions, renowned for Tuscan heritage, the Black Rooster emblem, and unparalleled winemaking.

The Dawn of Tuscan Viticulture

8th Century BCE

The Dawn of Tuscan Viticulture

In Tuscany's hills, the Etruscans pioneered viticulture, planting the seeds of a wine tradition that would define the region. Their early efforts in grape cultivation marked the start of a wine legacy that would endure for centuries.

Roman Expansion and Refinement

1st Century

Roman Expansion and Refinement

As the Romans took the helm, they not only expanded the viticultural practices inherited from the Etruscans but also refined them. This era saw Tuscan wines gain prominence, spreading their influence across the vast expanses of the Roman Empire.

The Black Rooster Legend

13th Century

The Black Rooster Legend

A tale as intriguing as the wine itself, the Black Rooster Origin Story is rooted deep in the medieval struggle. This emblem, now synonymous with Chianti Classico, represents a clever ruse from a bygone era of rivalry between Florence and Siena (see below for more information).

Renaissance Florence and the Wine Trade

14th Century

Renaissance Florence and the Wine Trade

The Renaissance breathed new life into Florence with the wine trade at its economic and cultural heart. During this period, wine was more than a beverage; it was a symbol of social status and even served as a currency, intertwining with daily life in profound ways.


The Earliest Mention of Chianti Wine

The first documented mention of Chianti dates back to 1398, a historical landmark that denotes the origin and enduring legacy of Chianti's wine.

The Demarcation by Cosimo III


The Demarcation by Cosimo III

A pivotal moment in the history of Chianti Classico came when Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, officially demarcated the production zone in the hill sides. This decree ensured that only wines from certain villages in the Tuscan Hills could bear the prestigious name 'Chianti'. This demarcation is one of the earliest of its kind, predating the Douro (1756) and Tokaj (1737).

Overcoming the Phylloxera Crisis


Overcoming the Phylloxera Crisis

The Phylloxera crisis posed a grave challenge to the viticulture of Tuscany. However, this crisis eventually led to a significant rejuvenation and improvement in the quality of the wines.


The Ricasoli Formula

Baron Bettino Ricasoli's formulation, with Sangiovese as the predominant grape, laid the foundation for modern Chianti Classico wine. This marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Chianti Classico's unique character.


Protecting Chianti’s Legacy

The creation of the Consortium for the Protection of Chianti Wine and its Mark of Origin in 1924 was a testament to the region's commitment to preserving and promoting its viticultural heritage. The selection of the Black Rooster as its emblem symbolizes the storied past and quality of Chianti Classico.


The Birth of "Chianti Classico"

In a move to distinguish the original Chianti from wines produced outside the original demarcated territory, the term “Classico” was added. This distinction emphasized the unique qualities and heritage of wines produced in the region known since 1716 as “Chianti”.


Recognition of Excellence

The year 1984 was a hallmark year for Chianti Classico as it received the prestigious DOCG status, a recognition of its exceptional quality and its adherence to stringent production standards.


The Chianti Classico 2000 Project

Embarking on a 16-year journey, the Chianti Classico 2000 Project represented a significant leap forward in modernizing viticulture. Focusing on the selection of optimal grape clones and cultivation methods, it significantly contributed to the enhancement of wine quality in the region.


Evolving Traditions

The period saw significant developments: Vin Santo del Chianti Classico was awarded DOC status in 1997 and, a year earlier, Chianti Classico wines were allowed to be made with 100% Sangiovese, a move that marked a return to traditional winemaking practices.


Gran Selezione

The introduction of the Gran Selezione category in 2014 marked a new era for Chianti Classico. This category, reserved for the top wines, represents the pinnacle of quality and craftsmanship in Chianti Classico winemaking.


Gran Selezione's Geographical Milestone

In 2023, Chianti Classico's Gran Selezione wines began labeling their UGAs (Unità Geografica Aggiuntiva), showcasing the wine's specific origin within the region. These 11 UGAs, including Gaiole and Panzano, represent distinct zones within Chianti Classico, each with their own unique terroir.

Details of The Black Rooster Legend

Details of The Black Rooster Legend

In an era when the city-states of Florence and Siena were locked in constant war, they devised a unique resolution: a race dictated by the crow of a rooster. Each city-state would have a knight leave from their respective cities at the first crow of their rooster at dawn. The area where these two knights met would then determine the new boundaries, with each city claiming the land their knight had covered.

Florence, in a clever maneuver, chose a black rooster and deliberately starved it, keeping it in darkness. This unusual strategy paid off when the famished and disoriented rooster crowed long before actual dawn. The Florentine knight, benefiting from this early start, covered more ground, enabling Florence to claim a larger portion of the Chianti region. This clever strategy is commemorated by the Black Rooster emblem on Chianti Classico bottles.