Do you really know what is “Chianti Classico” wine? We are sure you don’t! To know what it is, you have to read the most fascinating new book Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine , written by Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino, which has just been published by the University of California Press.
The book not only tells the story of this famous wine since the 1500s until today, but it also reveals the closely intertwined socio-economic story of the Chianti territory. It is also a story of the laws, decrees, institutions and lobbying bodies which sought to protect the place of origin of wines and have led to the modern Chianti Classico, with its trademark, the Black Rooster (Gallo Nero).
We hope that the book’s short summary below will give Villa le Barone’s magazine readers the desire to read the book!
For centuries, “Chianti was valued as a special wine from the rocky hills of three river valleys between Florence and Siena in the heart of Tuscany: Val di Pesa, Val di Greve and Val d’Arbia”. This place, the original Chianti, has been mired in conflict for much of its history… and it was the dispute over the borders of the Chianti zones in the 20th century that came to be known as the “War of Chianti” (Guerra del Chianti). In 11 chapters, Bill Nesto and Frances di Savino describe the evolution of Chianti from the 1500s through Bettino Ricasoli in the 1800s, to the twenty-first century, including the birth of the competing “Chianti Classico” and “External Chianti” zones in the twentieth century. It tells how Chianti Classico entered the global market, mainly commercialized in “fiaschi” (flasks), wrapped in traditional reed, “sala”. At the same time, Italian wine merchants started to sell red wine under the brand “Chianti” coming from all over Tuscany, and even Rome, Naples, Sicily and other Italian regions. Tellingly, Italy did not sign the international Madrid Agreement to protect “indications of source or appellation of origin” in the late nineteenth century. In 1924 a law called Disposizioni per la difesa dei vini tipici (Provision for the defense of typical wines) gave precedence to the concept of “Vini Tipici “ over that of wines from delimitated areas, the result of a 4-year legislative odyssey. The Chiantigiani immediately fought back, and in May 1924, the “Consortium for the defense of the typical wine of Chianti and its mark of origin” was created in Radda in Chianti, and choose the Black Rooster, the emblem of the medieval Lega del Chianti, as its “mark of origin”. Within 6 months the consortium grew to 189 members. It was soon called “Rooster Consortium” (Consorzio del Gallo). The authors continue describing the divisions and fights between Chianti Classico and External Chianti and their respective consortia after World War 2. In 2014, a new Chianti Classico DOCG (Denominazione Origine Controllata e Guarantita) discipline was adopted. The Chianti Classico zone now covers the full townships of Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti , Castellina in Chianti, and Greve in Chianti (which includes the hamlet of Panzano). The denomination also includes part of the townships of Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Barberino Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi and San Casciano Val di Pesa. Today, the discussions are continuing: Is it important to identify “subzones” of Chianti Classico? Should there be “township labeling”?
“Essentially, Chianti Classico is a Sangiovese varietal wine”, already referenced in 1552 by Girolamo da Firenzurola in his long-lost treatise, “Sopra la agricultura”. It is Baron Bettino Ricasoli who, in 1870, re-established Sangiovese as Chianti’s star variety, sharing the stage with Canaiolo and Malvasia. But the authors state in conclusion of their chapter “The Secret of Sangiovese” that creating a new category of 100% Sangiovese Chianti Classico would allow “Sangiovese and terroir to shine”. Organic and biodynamic viticulture is now growing. It began in Panzano, where the Villa le Barone hotel is located, and where the Chanti Classico producers agreed together to adopt “sustainable viticulture practices”.
There are about 380 grower-bottlers of Chianti Classico, and Bill and Frances have selected a number of them, mostly the smaller to midsize ones and present them in one of the last chapters.
You will be able to savor the best Chianti Classico wines at Villa le Barone, together with the best traditional dinners prepared by our cooks!
“This is not a simple tale”, as Bill Nesto, MW and founder of the Wine Studies Program at Boston University, and Frances Di Savino, attorney and co-author, state in the first chapter of Chianti Classico: “With its many twists and turns, peaks and valleys, Chianti is a territory worthy of an epic. Framed by Florence to its north and Siena to its south, Chianti is a land of quintessential beauty and culture. It is the timeless paesaggio (landscape) in the background of a Renaissance painting. It is a land of castles, chapels, bell towers, farmhouses, hills, oaks, cypresses, olive groves, and vineyards. It is an authentic place which gave birth to an iconic…wine, also known as Chianti.”
You have to come to Chianti!
Do you wish to discover the “Slow Food” and Tuscan Gastronomy in Chianti, one of the most beautiful part of Tuscany? Tuscany is indeed one of the largest region of Italy with a great diversity of territories which have different cultures and culinary traditions. Villa le Barone‘s cooks, Alessio and Tommaso, born in Greve in Chianti, the city where the “Slow Food” originated, will unveil for you this type of cuisine.
Wine, olive oil, and bread are the 3 key elements of Tuscan cuisine. Food is simple, made with fresh, local and seasonal products, and are therefore so tasty! If you stay at Villa le Barone you will be able to see in our garden eggplants, zucchinis, tomatoes, salads, artichokes… The sage, rosemary, thyme, basil are also growing there and are perfuming the dishes served in the restaurant! All dishes, including deserts, are prepared by our cooks! Try the “tiramisu” or the “amaretto”! This is “slow food” as opposed to “fast food”!
In summer, you will savor your dinner on the terrace surrounded by the hydrangeas, the honeysuckle and the wisteria. If you wish to enjoy a romantic dinner with a beautiful sunset, it can be served alone together on the heart terrace. But, if the weather does not allow to be outside, the restaurant will welcome you with its superb paintings, chandeliers, and ceramics!
If you wish to have an amazing “hands on” cooking class, our Tuscan cook Alessio will be pleased to teach you how to make a full Tuscan meal …that you will eat afterwards. You will also get all the recipes and be able to invite your friends at home to enjoy a Tuscan dinner!
Enjoy Tuscan specialties, slow food, and Tuscan gastronomy at Villa le Barone!
Since 2005 ,the Panzano in Chianti ‘s vintners have join forces to put into practice a sustainable viticulture, producing healthier wines without chemical residues , and therefore bringing benefits for the consumers, for the environment , and from a social point . Villa le Barone has on its wine list the best wines produced by Panzano ‘s vintners!
In 2005, 19 vintners of Panzano in Chianti joined forces to create a free and independent group to exchange experiences, and develop common projects and initiatives. They have common values, which Villa le Barone also shares: the love for the territory, Panzano, the passion for their work, the commitment to a continuous quest for quality. Each of the vintner and wine makers are making wine with their own grapes and run their winery directly. It is a wine that incorporates in its taste and aroma the characteristics of the territory where it grows, and this makes it unique! It is impossible to reproduce this wine in other parts of the world!
The Panzano ‘s vintners have now created the Experimental Research station for Sustainable Viticulture (SPEVIS, Stazione Sperimentale for Sustainable Viticulture) to help wineries to adopt organic methods . The objective is to make Panzano the first Italian organic zone, respectful of the territory, where no synthetic chemicals are being used. Everyone gains from this approach: the consumers, who will enjoy a better wine, the local environment, with less pollution for the soil and for the underground water, the local people, and the workers.
Guests of Villa le Barone will find on our wine list those wonderful wines produced in Panzano, and Giulia, our head waitress, will be most pleased to help them in choosing the best wine to fit the excellent dishes prepared by Alessio our Tuscan chef, with the help of Tommaso.
The 2016 Chianti wines festivals around Villa le Barone are approaching.
They are held from September 8 to 11 in Greve in Chianti and from 15 to 18 September in Panzano in Chianti: buy a drink that you can store in memory, evaluate all Chianti Classico presented by the producers and walk back to Villa le Barone. To help you know these wines and prepare you for tastings, here is a quiz that will entertain you, hopefully!
- The Chianti is a wine from
- Emilia -Romagna
- The first rules defining the Chianti Classico were fixed by
- Barone Ricasoli
- Marchese Antinori
- Marchese Mazzei
- A Chianti Classico wine must contain a minimum Sangiovese varietal percentage:
- The remaining 20% may be varieties such as:
- The symbol of the Chianti Classico wine is the:
- Black Rooster
- White Rooster
- Black Horse
- The Chianti Classico appellation is a:
- DOCG (Denomination of Origin of Controlled and Guaranteed
- DOP (Protected Designation of Origin)
- IGT Indicazione Geografica Tipica
- The Chianti Classico Riserva has:
- More than 2 years of age
- Over 3 years old
- Over 4 years of age
- A Super Tuscan wine is:
- A red wine that does not follow Chianti Classico production regulations and which may include varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah
- An IGT high quality wine
- The first rules of the Chianti Classico composition were established by Baron Ricasoli, Prime Minister of Italy in the 19th century.
- 3 varieties can be found in the Chianti Classico
- Black Rooster
- The Chianti Classico is a DOCG wine. There were 73 DOCG in 2014 in Italy and 332 DOCs
- The Chianti Riserva is kept three years in oak barrels before bottling
- Super Tuscans are IGT quality wines but do not follow the rules of composition of the Chianti Classico
‘Slow Food’ and ‘Slow Made’ are part of the same philosophy, put into practice by the boutique Hotel Villa Barone in Tuscany.
The movement ‘Slow Food’, launched in early 1980 in Greve in Chianti in opposition to the ‘Fast Food’, aims to bring a new perspective on food, agriculture and gastronomy. Recently launched, the movement ‘Slow Made’ is specifically aiming at crafts and creation. It advocates quality in the production processes, taking the necessary time … and respecting the environment.
In the wake of the Slow Food movement in Tuscany 30 years ago, many other movements of the Slow philosophy have emerged. Among them the ‘Slow Made’, recently founded in France, proposes to rethink how to produce. Slow Made opposes the throwaway consumption model to a more sustainable model, producing less but better. According to Marc Bayard, cultural and scientific advisor at the French ‘Mobilier National’, one of the missions of the Slow Made is to raise consumer awareness on the implications and impacts of consumption. It is certainly preferable to buy items that are more expensive but more durable and even transferable. Slow Made seeks to divert customers from mass consumption and to develop a network of small craft enterprises rooted in the territories. Slow Made products are now largely reserved for a small numbers of consumers, but this number is increasing. And if we take the example of biological products coming from organic agriculture, a few years ago, due to their cost, only a certain class of consumers were buying them. Today they have entered the daily life of thousands of producers and consumers. No doubt therefore the Slow Made will have the same bright future!
Historically, craftsmen have always been appreciated for the quality of their work and their creativity. But their work requires patience and skill, combining innovation and tradition, while using the new tools and new materials available to us.
Hotel Villa le Barone puts it into practice the Slow Made philosophy and works with many Tuscan craftsmen. It wishes to specifically recognize Luciano and Marcello Capelli in Greve in Chianti, who, among others, made the chandeliers in the restaurant, Mauro Iandelli, decorator upholsterer, My Light, who made by hand the luminaires for the restaurant terrace, Leonardo Becucci who makes our lampshades, Tole Style who did bedside lamps in painted metal, using a French original technique of the XVIII century. Villa le Barone will be happy to give the contacts of all those Tuscan craftsmen, proud representatives the Slow Made philosophy.