It was the largest gathering of Chianti Classico Consortium members in the last 30 years. They met last week in Tavarnelle, in the Chianti Classico region, and approved, by a wide majority, a number of measures which revamps the Chianti Classico DOCG.
It took two years of work by Consortium members, the aid of outside experts, and innumerable preparatory meetings to reach this point.
What is Changing:
A New Category Above Vintage and Riserva
Up till now, Chianti Classico wines were divided into two categories: Vintage, and Riserva. A new wine category has been approved which will stand above these two existing categories in the wine pyramid. This category is yet un-named but the restrictions for the wines that fall under this category are clear: this category is only for Chianti Classico wines made from grapes grown solely by the pertinent winery. No grapes grown by, or wines made by, any other entity can be used for wines in this category. This in essence, disallows purchased fruit and bulk wine. The producers will grow, and intimately know, their own grapes and wine, thus making a product that speaks of their land in Chianti Classico.
In addition, this new category of Chianti Classico can be marketed only after 30 months from grape harvesting, three of which must be spent in the bottle.
The Riserva category matures for two years, and the Vintage wine for 12 months.
The Riserva category, which accounts for 30% of the wine produced and 40% of the denomination’s value, is also getting some body work. While the maturation period remains unchanged (2 years), the vintner must now declare earlier–in the early stages of production–whether a wine is destined for the Riserva, Vintage or the new category.
Thus, the producer makes a more conscientious decision, in the production stage, on which grapes should be destined for the various categories of wine.
Black Rooster restyling: the black rooster has been Chianti Classico’s trademark since 2005 and represents the entire denomination. As such, it has been present on the State neckband for all producers of Chianti Classico–whether belonging to the consortium or not. This is changing.
The black rooster emblem will be graphically restyled to make it stand out more prominently on every bottle of Chianti Classico and it will be moved from the State/Government seal onto the neck of the bottle.
The Consortium’s outgoing President, Marco Pallanti, states. “I’m pleased to have finished my term as president with these important results. I’ve been working with the board for a long time to find the largest consensus from members about these changes. These endeavors are aimed at having the consumer perceive the higher quality that our wines have achieved in recent years, enabling us to face future challenges with a set of regulations able to make Chianti Classico stronger with regard to growing international competition.”