Production regulations for the “Chianti Classico” controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin (DOCG)
The “Chianti Classico” controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin is exclusively for the red wine meeting the requisites established in these production regulations.
“Chianti Classico” wine must be made from grapes grown in the production zone delimited by the following article 3 whose vineyards are composed of the following grape varieties:
- Sangiovese from 80% to 100%
The wine may also be made from red grapes of varieties suitable for cultivation in the Tuscany Region to a maximum amount of 20% of the varieties listed in the Vineyard Register.
The “Chianti Classico” production zone is the one delimited by the Italian Inter-Ministerial decree issued on July 31, 1932, confirmed by article 5 of Presidential Decree 930 issued on July 13, 1963, article 3 of the Presidential Decree issued on August 9, 1967, article 3 of the Presidential Decree issued on July 2, 1984 and article 5 of Law 164 passed on October 2, 1992, autonomously regulated as per the aforesaid article 5 of Law 164/92.
Beginning with a description of the borders of the part of the zone belonging to the Province of Siena, the departure point taken is the boundary line between the provinces of Siena and Arezzo where it is crossed by the Borro Ambrella della Vena near Pancole in the community of Castelnuovo Berardenga.
From this point the border follows the Ambra stream and an unnamed tributary to the Ciapella estate and then the mule trail leading to the Casa al Frate estate. From here it follows a virtual line to the Ombrone (298 meters above sea level).
It then follows a mule trail, descending to 257 meters, where it meets a cart track giving on to the road to Castelnuovo Berardenga. It climbs this road to an altitude of 354 meters, afterwards following the Malena Morta ravine until this converges with Borro Spugnaccio; it continues to follow the Malena Morta until it reaches Pialli (227 meters). For a short stretch it follows the Malena Viva ravine, then turning towards a virtual line passing through S. Lucia (252 and 265 meters in altitude) in the direction of Arbia. Reaching this stream, it follows it along the administrative border between Siena and Castelnuovo Berardenga.
From here the border of the zone continues to coincide with the administrative borders of Siena, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castellina, Monteriggioni and Poggibonsi until, at Borro di Granaio, it meets the border of the Florence province, which it follows up to the Le Valli estate. From here it follows the municipal road, passing S. Giorgio and the Cinciano springs and continues on until it again meets the provincial border, which is also the boundary line between the communities of Poggibonsi and Barberino, and then the Drove stream, entering the province of Florence. Here begins a description of the part of the zone belonging to the Province of Florence. The border initially follows the Drove stream up to Mulino della Chiara, where it meets the administrative boundary between the communities of Tavarnelle and Barberino and follow it for a short stretch, then turning slightly eastwards along another little stream and passing through Ca’ Biricucci and Belvedere, immediately afterwards running into the S. Donato-Tavarnelle road, which it follows to Morocco, then continuing along a virtual line passing through Figlinella to Sambuca, where it meets the Pesa stream. Continuing along its banks, it first encounters the administrative boundary between the communities of S. Casciano Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle, then meets the stream again after Ponte Rotto. Hereafter the border of the zone coincides with the administrative borders of the communities of San Casciano and Greve in Chianti.
At this point it re-enters the Province of Siena and here the Chianti Classico border coincides with the administrative borderlines of the communities of Radda in Chianti and Gaiole, then for a short stretch with Castelnuovo Berardenga, returning to the departure point of zone description.
The environmental and cultivation conditions of the vineyards destined for “Chianti Classico” wine production must be the ones traditional to the zone and in any case solely those able to give the grapes, the must and the resultant wine its specific qualitative characteristics.
The vineyard layout, types of vine training and pruning methods must be such as to not modify the special characteristics of the grapes and the wine. In particular, any form of vine growing on horizontal roofing, tent-type, is prohibited. No forced growth is permitted, although emergency irrigation is allowed.
Therefore solely considered suitable – for vineyard registration purposes – are vineyards on slopes with the proper exposure, located at a height of not more than 700 meters above sea level, whose soil prevalently consists of substrata that is made up of sandstone, marly limestone, clayey schist, sand and cobblestones.
Considered unsuitable for cultivation (and therefore for registration in the aforesaid register) are vineyards planted in moist earth, on valley floors and/or having a prevalence of Pliocene clay, making them heavily clayey, even though they may lie within the delimited zone.
In the production zone described in article 3 it is forbidden to plant and register vines in the Chianti DOCG register or make “Chianti” and “Chianti Superiore” wines.
When planting, minimum vine density per hectare (2.5 acres) must be 4500 vines.
Maximum grape output permitted per hectare is 75 quintals and average yield per vine must not exceed 2 kg.
As an exception, vineyards planted before these regulations took effect are subject to the rules in force at the time.
In good years the amounts of grapes obtained to be used for making controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin wines must be kept within the aforesaid limits so that overall production exceed 20% more than said amounts, with grape/wine yield remaining in the same proportions.
Maximum grape yield in finished wine must not exceed 70%. Should yield be above 70% but not more than 75%, the surplus will not be entitled to DOCG status; beyond that percentage, none of the wine will entitled to it.
The grapes used for winemaking must be previously screened, when necessary, to ensure that the wine that will become “Chianti Classico” has natural minimum alcohol content of 11.5% per volume.
Transforming the complementary grapes described in article 2 into must and afterwards into wine must be done separately, wholly or at least in part, so that assemblage of the wines obtained with wine from Sangiovese grapes is performed prior to the request for certification of the batch foreseen by the regulations in force and/or prior to any marketing (described in the following).
The winemaker intending to sell in the production zone a batch of bulk wine destined for the Chianti Classico DOCG must communicate this to the authorized oversight organization at least 2 working days prior to the sale. This batch of wine sold for use as Chianti Classico DOCG must comply with the chemical-physical characteristics given in article 6 and, if necessary, be assembled as stated in the previous paragraph.
Vineyards are considered suitable for “Chianti Classico” wine production solely from the third year after planting. However, in this third year, maximum permissible grape output is reduced by 40% and therefore from 75 to 30 quintals per hectare.
The work of vinification, conservation and maturation must be performed within the production zone delimited in article 3.
Nonetheless, when authorized by the Italian Farming, Food and Forestry Ministry – National Council on Protecting and Valorizing Denominations of Origin and Typical Geographical Indications for Wines – and approved by the Tuscany Region and Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, cellars located outside the aforesaid territory (but not more than ten kilometers from its borders) existent prior to January 1, 2008 and belonging to wineries that vinify individually or collectively, may vinify grapes suitable for “Chianti Classico” production coming from their own or managed vineyards. Remaining valid are authorizations issued to date.
Bottling and bottle refinement must be performed within the production zone delimited in article 3.
However, wineries authorized to vinify outside the zone as per the preceding paragraph of this article may, on these premises, bottle and/or refine in the bottle wine made from grapes suitable to become Chianti Classico grown in their own vineyards or vineyards under their management, individually or collectively.
Remaining valid are all bottling permits issued to date.
In addition, in particular situations and in any case for a temporary period of not more than three years, bottling and/or refinement in bottles may be performed – on approval by the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium and authorization from the Italian Farming, Food and Forestry Ministry (National Council for the Protection and Valorization of Denominations of Origin and Typical Geographical Indications for Wines) – at wineries located in the provinces of Florence and Siena and neighboring on said provinces in the Tuscany Region, in the following conditions:
- the premises belong to wineries that have been bottling “Chianti Classico” wine within the production zone for at least 10 years;
- the work concerns wine that has been delivered already certified “Chianti Classico” DOCG and is performed within the validity term of said certification.
Permitted in vinification are solely the local, fair and constant practices permitted by the current regulations.
Enrichment is permitted as per the conditions established by European Community and Italian law, in compliance with the maximum wine yield per hectare and minimum natural alcohol content described in article 4.
Any enrichment must come from either concentrated must from grapes grown in the “Chianti Classico” production zone or from rectified concentrated must or grape sugar.
“Chianti Classico” wine can be marketed only from October 1 of the year following the harvest year.
“Chianti Classico” wine used for the “Riserva” can be marketed only after at least 24 months of maturation, including refinement in the bottle for at least 3 months. The “Chianti Classico” wine for the “Riserva” may be refined outside the vinification zone as long as the bottles are already labeled and bear the authorized neckband.
The maturation period is calculated as beginning on January 1 of the year following the harvest.
When put on the market, “Chianti Classico” controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin (DOCG) wine must have the following characteristics:
- limpidity: limpid
- color: ruby red, that may be bright or deep depending on origin
- aroma: floral notes of violet and iris, combined with typical fragrances of red fruits. Fine spicy and balsamic notes in some reserves and blends
- taste: harmonious, dry (with a maximum of 4 gr/liter of reduction sugars), sapid, nicely tannic turning to velvety mellow with time
- minimum overall alcohol content: 12% vol.; 12.5% vol. for the “Riserva”
- total minimum acidity: 4.5 gr/l.
- non-reductive extract: 23 gr/l.
The “Chianti Classico” controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin (DOCG) is exclusively and compulsorily distinguished by the “Black Rooster” in the logo and words attached to these production regulations and inseparably part of the Chianti Classico denomination.
This trademark is always included in the neckband substituting for the state seal foreseen by current law.
Packagers also have the right to separately affix the “Black Rooster” trademark, printed and distributed exclusively by the Chianti Classico tutelary consortium, on the neck of the bottle.
Use of the “Black Rooster” trademark is granted solely by the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, which must also distribute it to non-members at the same fees and use rights in effect for member wineries.
In designating Chianti Classico wine, use may be made of “vineyard” mention as per clause 3 of article 6 of Italian law 164 issued on February 10, 1992, on condition that it be followed by the corresponding place name, that the vineyard is distinctly specified in the Vineyard Register, that the wine is made and conserved in receptacles separate from other wines and that said mention, followed by the place name, is given in grape and wine production declarations, in registers and in accompanying documents. Use may be made of mentions referring to names or winery names or individual or collective brands as long as they do not imply praise or mislead the purchaser about the origin and nature of the product, in compliance with the wine laws in force.
Also permitted is use of mentions referring to areas from which the grapes used to make the wine actually come, on condition that these mentions, differently from vineyard place-names, have been recognized by means of the procedure described in Italian Law 164 of February 10, 1992 and the pertinent application decrees.
The bottles or other receptacles containing “Chianti Classico” wine for marketing must always carry the year of grape production.
On the labels it is prohibited to add any qualifier different from what is foreseen in these production regulations, including the adjectives “extra”, “fine”, “choice”, “selected”, “superior”, “old” and the like.
The term “Classico” on the labels for wines having the requisites established by these production regulations must always come after the name Chianti and be given in lettering identical to that used for the name.
“Chianti Classico” DOCG wine may be marketed solely in glass receptacles of the Bordeaux bottle type in all permissible formats and in the Tuscan flask, as per article 1, clause 2, item c) of Italian law 82 issued on February 20, 2006.
Furthermore, it is absolutely forbidden to use recycled flasks.
The bottles or flasks containing “Chianti Classico” wine destined for sale must, in shape and dressing as well, conform to the traditional features typical of premium wines.
Only corks flush with the mouth of the bottle may be used to bottle “Chianti Classico”. Exceptions are made for receptacles with crown caps or pull-off capsules containing 0.250 liters.