According to climate data, Castellina in Chianti is on average the coldest town in the entire Chianti Classico zone, at least among the communal centers. Considering its altitude and its open exposure to winds, that may not be surprising, but it’s important not to arrive at hasty conclusions because the Castellina UGA is not limited to the vineyards around the town but includes the entire communal territory.
By proceeding step by step and by referring to the first two images, which follow from one end to the other the panoramic road that leads from San Donato in Poggio to Fonterutoli, we will notice that the communal territory is essentially divided in two very different areas.
On the left, the hills face the interior part of the zone, with a landscape clearly marked by the presence of woods. On the right, on the other hand, the landscape is open with unobstructed views that range from Monte Amiata to Monte Albano with an almost equal presence of vineyards and woods.
What is more important are the extreme differences in altitude between the highest and lowest points, with an average easily exceeding 300 meters overall, resulting in important alterations in microclimates, as evidenced in the third image (which covers the most heavily planted area of the commune).
More difficult to grasp, for all but the most attentive of observers, are variations in the landscape that often bring to light as many variations in geology. If, as a rule in the higher areas the abundance of woods signifies rocky soils, typically in lower areas where gentler contours with sporadic vegetation prevail, soils tend to be deeper and dominated by clay.
To better understand this, take a look at the fourth image, which shows in detail those areas that in the third image can be seen only in the distance. It shows that the transition between the two areas takes place approximately along the ridge that joins Bibbiano, Lilliano and Macie.
Returning to the eastern side of the communal territory, where woods prevail, vineyards are mainly concentrated in a rather small area, so that a single image (the last one) is enough to cover nearly all. In particular, the largest extensions of vineyards are on the slope that climbs from Piazza to Nittardi along the border with the San Donato in Poggio UGA, in the area of Santa Maria a Grignano and in the less visible areas of Grignanello and Casalta.
How to use
As simple and intuitive as the use of panoramic images may be, some clarifications and suggestions seem in order.
- The expression Unità Geografica Aggiuntiva (UGA) applies to a specific and precisely delimited area within the Chianti Classico denomination. Some UGAs correspond to an entire commune, others to a portion of one, others result from the unification of parts of two communes.
- When a UGA corresponds to the area of a single commune, the name of the UGA has been shortened (San Casciano in Val di Pesa becomes simply San Casciano) or the use of the specification “in Chianti” has been avoided to avert useless repetitions on wine labels. Gaiole in Chianti becomes Gaiole, and Panzano in Chianti, which is not a commune, becomes Panzano. The names of Castelnuovo Berardenga, a commune, and San Donato in Poggio, which like Panzano is not a commune but a hamlet, remain unchanged.
- At the moment the use of UGA is foreseen only for Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines.
- Coming now to the introductions to each UGA, the greater or lesser number of images used in the virtual tours depends on the overall shape and size of their territories. Some can be illustrated with few images and others require more detail. It follows that the different number of images in no way implies a difference in importance of one UGA with respect to another.
- To navigate between the different images within each tour, use the thumbnails below, above the command bar. To rotate the images to the right or left, drag them with the mouse or with your fingers, if you are using a phone or a tablet.
- In each image you will find names that identify geographical references and/or toponyms. Use them to orient yourself as you move from one panorama to another.
The colors used for the different names have three different functions. In white are the names of farms and villages within the Chianti Classico DOCG. In red are the names of communes, hamlets, mountains and hillocks within the same borders. In blue are the names of places located outside the territory of Chianti Classico DOCG. Some of them, such as mountains and hills, have been inserted to contextualize Chianti Classico with respect to other areas of Tuscany that many users will already know.
- The recognized UGAs within the production zone of the Chianti Classico appellation are eleven. Starting from northwest and, moving generally clockwise, they are: San Casciano, Greve, Lamole, Montefioralle, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Vagliagli, Castellina and San Donato in Poggio.