One of the most famous italian wine is certainly Chianti. With tuscan origins Chianti Wine is recognised and appreciated all over the world because of its strong and powerful flavour. But what does Chianti name exactly mean? When Chianti Wine was discovered? And, first of all, what should a wine have to for being named Chianti Wine?
CHIANTI AS A REGION
First of all, Chianti Wine is referred to a geographical region between Florence and Siena. Then it is possible to recognize a lot of subdivisions depending on where we are located inside this region. So, there are many Chianti’s areas, like Chianti Colli Aretini (Chianti from Arezzo’s Hills), Chianti Colli Senesi (Chianti from Siena’s Hills), Chianti Colli Fiorentini ( Chianti florentine Hills, where ‘Poggio al Bosco’ is), and Chianti Classico that represent maybe the most famous Chianti Wine Area.
THE LEGEND OF BLACK ROOSTER
The wineries that can use the Black Rooster’s symbol are in the middle of the Chianti region, like in the towns of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti and Radda in Chianti. The Black Rooster logo was the old emblem of the Chianti Military League, and it was also depicted by Giorgio Vasari’s “ Chianti’s Allegory” on the ceiling of Salone dei Cinquecento, in Florence. The origins of this symbol come from an old legend: as the legend has it, in medieval times when the Republic of Florence and Siena were bitterly fighting for dominance, Chianti territory – because it lies between the two cities – was constantly fought over. To end the dispute and establish definitive borders of dominion, a very odd method was chosen. It was agreed that two knights would depart from their respective cities and fix the boundary point at where they met. Departure was to be at dawn and the signal to ride given by rooster crow. The Sieneses chose a white rooster, and the Florentines a black one, which they kept in a small, dark chicken coop and practically starved for so many days that it was desperate. On the fatal day, as soon as it was freed from the coop the rooster began to crow, although dawn was still far away. His loud crowing allowed the Florentine knight to set off posthaste and much ahead of his Sienese counterpart who had to wait for daybreak for his rooster to crow. And since the Florentine horseman had such a head start he met up with the Sienese at 12 km from Siena’s walls. And so nearly all of Chianti was brought under the power of the Republic of Florence.
BETTINO RICASOLI AND THE CHIANTI’S RECIPE
Chianti’s name is not about a grape, but about a specific wine recipe. Chianti’s recipe was discovered in 1872 by a florentine politician: Bettino Ricasoli. The “Iron Baron” (it was his nickname because of his firmness and strictness), Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880), was born in Brolio, he was Florence’s mayor and second italian Prime Minister after Cavour. But, first of all, he was researcher and wine forward-looking businessman. He is known like the Chianti’s inventor. His main goal was to create in Tuscany a high-quality wine able to compete internationally with the great french wines. Ricasoli made a long journey across Europe to discover the secrets about viticulture and to find the best grapes for the tuscan soil and the tuscan weather.
He wrote many details about the journey in a diary: September 10. 1851, Ricasoli set sail from Livorno to Marseilles where he visited the most important french cities and the most famous wineries, meeting experts and noble friends. Later he moved to Burgundy, where he was very surprised about the owners, that had not the sharecropping, prefer having best quality with high prices instead more quantities. Ricasoli remained for four days in Paris, because of business and political meetings. On September 25th he travelled to London, where he visited the Universal Exposition at Crystal Palace. He was sure that the future of viticulture in Tuscany would have been caused by more quality research…
Are you curious to find out how this story was going? Read the final part in our next article!