Let’s start from the beginning, with the name. Chianti Classico is a wine that never reveals everything at once, and its name is no exception. Some say that it comes from the ancient Etruscan word for water, clante, while others argue a derivation from the Greek chitrinos, meaning “yellow”.
A land that makes noises
Another theory is that “Chianti” comes from the Latin clangor, or noise, and it’s true that in ancient times the area was beloved of hunters, who would make a loud metallic sound by dragging their weapons through the woods. Whatever the merits of this pleasing hypothesis, it is certainly true that the word “Chianti” sounds strong and clear, like the sound of grapes blown off the vine by the wind, and just as mysterious.
Even the precise limits of the Chianti hills are hotly debated. One of the most famous documents on the subject is Cosimo III de’ Medici’s 1716 Decree on the Chianti’s Borders: “…for the Chianti is defined thus: from Spedaluzzo to Greve, from Greve to Panzano, with all three thirds of the Radda district, namely Radda, Gajole and Castellina, arriving ultimately at the border of the state of Siena…”
Today, we can roughly define the area as corresponding to a mountain range: 20km of hills, jagged or gentle, located between Florence and Siena. It seems pedantic, but these definitions are fundamental if we are to understand what is meant by a wine with the “Chianti Classico” label.
We will explore the variants of Chianti Classico in the coming weeks. If you want to continue to journey in the meantime, you can reach us at the Dievole Wine Club https://www.dievole.it/en/wine-club/