Wine & Food Magazine

How Chianti was born

How Chianti was born

The first to introduce the cultivation of grapes and wine production into Chianti were the Etruscans.

The origin of the name is not documented in etruscans or romans sources but seems to be inferred to Clante. Clanis was the etruscan name of a stream originating near Gaiole, a small town in the heart of Tuscany, and Clante was the name of an important etruscan family from the area. The oldest documentary record so far known of the name “Chianti” is a copy of a deed of donation dated 790. This deed states that the brothers Atroald, gave various pieces of land to the monastery of San Bartolomeo.
The first regulation of Chianti dated back 1716 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III, defined the production areas of the most important wines produced on Chianti territory, in order to regulate the wine trade. In this decree, he specified the boundaries of the region where Chianti wine was to be produced.
Another great benefactor of Chianti was Bettino Ricasoli, also known as the Iron Baron. He was a great politician but also a passionate agronomist. After his political career he moved in the countryside to start enological experiments which led to a specific combination of grapes that made him the originator of Chianti wine of today. His formula to obtain a longer-lasting and more flavourful wine was followed for many years and has contributed to the fame and appreciation of Chianti wine. The "recipe" was 7/10 Sangiovese, 2/10 Canaiolo, 1/10 Malvasia.
The modern enological era started after the devastation of the phylloxera and the two world wars.


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