The Chianti Classico Consortium returned to NYC with a tasting of Chianti Classico wines from 60 producers. Over 300 wine professionals and media attended.
The event also celebrated the recent introduction of the UGA (Additional Geographic Units) classification system, which differentiate and highlight the differences in climate and soil type of 11 villages of the region. The walk around tasting was arranged to group the wineries of each UGA in order, and it also featured a large wine bar where attendees could taste 65 Chianti Classico wines from the 11 UGAs.
The event also featured two educational seminars, one for the media and one for the trade. The media seminar was accompanied by a tasting of 11 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines, representing the 11 UGA villages.
“No Wine is an Island” was the title of the seminar, hosted by the renowned Italian Cartographer, Alessandro Masnaghetti. He explained how the project developed and how the UGAs reflect defined expressions of the Chianti Classico territory.
The other speaker was Giovanni Manetti, President of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and owner of Fontodi.
The new classification system, approved in June 2021, as for now applies only to the Gran Selezione (GS) category, which are the only ones allowed to add the specific UGA mention on the label. The 11 villages were identified based on specific criteria such as oenological recognizability, historical authenticity, renown, and significance in terms of volumes produced: San Casciano, Greve, Montefioralle, Lamole, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Vagliagli, Castellina, San Donato in Poggio.
We were given 11 sheets detailing each wine. This is one of them:
Castello Di Querceto, Greve, made from 100% Sangiovese
I Fabbri, Lamole, made from 100% Sangiovese
Le Cinciole, Panzano, made from 100% Sangiovese
Castello di Volpaia, Radda, Made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo
Rocca di Montegrossi Gaiole made from 92% Sangiovese and 8% Pugnitello
Alessandro Masnaghetti said, “The introduction of the additional geographical units (UGA) that divide the Chianti Classico territory into more specific areas represents an epochal turning point for the denomination. A change of perspective that leads producers and their wines to be no longer single actors, but expressions of a territory in relation to each other. A decision destined to leave its mark. “
He said several of these UGAs, such as Greve, Radda and Gaiole are communes in this part of Tuscany, while others are municipalities or frazioni (akin to suburbs or neighborhoods) of communes; for example, Lamole, Montefioralle and Panzano are all part of the commune of Greve. These new changes now allow producers to list the UGA on the front label, under the words Chianti Classico; previously a producer located in Panzano, Castelnuovo Berardenga or any of these 11 units could only list that name on their back label (as part of the winery’s address), as the wine had to be identified merely as Chianti Classico.
Felsina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, made from 100% Sangiovese
Dievole, Vagliagli, made from 100% Sangiovese
Castello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio, made from 95% Sangiovese, 3% Colorino and 2% Canaiolo
Castello di Fonterutoli, Castellina, made from 92% Sangiovese, and 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino
Principe Corsini-Villa Le Corti, San Casciano made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot
Conti-Capponi-Villa Calcinaia, Montefioralle made from 100% Sangiovese
Giovanni Manetti said, “The phrase, ‘the territory makes the difference,’ has always been one of our favorite mottos.” He continued, “Chianti Classico is a truly unique territory, which is covered two third by woodland and only one-tenth is devoted to wine growing, with more than 50% dedicated to organic farming (52.5% of the area under vine). As I have often said in my three years as President, wine reflects the territory like a negative photographic image, and this is why it is so important to preserve its environmental context and landscape and be able to communicate this to the consumer in all its various facets, also through the label.”
To clarify, Masnaghetti said that wines with UGA names will be limited to Gran Selezione, one of the three types of Chianti Classico: the other two being annata (vintage) and riserva. Any Gran Selezione that will include a UGA on the label must contain a minimum of 90 percent Sangiovese (currently, that minimum is 80 percent); international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not be permitted in these Gran Selezione wines, as only indigenous varieties including Canaiolo, Colorino and Mammolo will be allowed as a maximum of 10 percent of the blend.
Monetti said the elimination of international varieties was a relatively easy decision. “If you want to exalt the specifics of every territory, if you use the same variety, or a higher amount of Sangiovese without international varieties, I think it will be much better to compare Gran Selezione wines coming from different territories.”
This was one of the most informative and interesting seminars I have ever attended. These changes will enhance the understanding of Chianti Classico wines and the terroir from which it is derived. In addition, I applaud the elimination of international grape varieties in Gran Selezione Chianti Classico and the exclusive use of indigenous grapes.