Gaiole in Chianti, along with Greve, are the only communal centers in the Chianti Classico zone located in valleys and not atop hills. Gaiole, due to its position in a basin at the foot of the Monti del Chianti range, is one of the coolest spots in the entire zone.
However, unlike Greve, which is practically surrounded by vineyards, the Gaiole basin has a lesser presence of vines than other areas of the commune, although there are some historically prestigious positions near the town. Prominent among the other areas is the expanse between Vertine and San Donato in Perano, which, as can be seen in the second panoramic image, reaches the border with Radda in Chianti on one side and on the other extends to the basin of Gaiole. Beginning at Vertine is a long ridge that for the sake of convenience might be associated with the village of Lecchi in Chianti and which, as seen in this image, seems almost devoid of vineyards. Actually, as can be seen in the third image, the upper part boasts a large number of vineyards, in particular within the polygon at the top of which we find Ama, Montebuoni, San Polo in Rosso, Galenda and La Mandria. To this area, even if it is more to the south, we can add the long and clearly visible plateau of San Sano.
Shifting views in the direction of the Monti del Chianti range, we can see in the distance the area of Castagnoli, visible in greater detail in the fourth image. Easily recognizable is the valley between San Martino al Vento, Rietine and the village of Castagnoli, where vineyards are planted mainly on the southern slope.
On the horizon, at the left side of the panoramic view, you can see Cacchiano and Castello di Brolio, historical monuments that serve as geographical references for the adjacent area of Monti in Chianti. Although from a distance, the Monti area might seem similar to Castagnoli or Lecchi, both in terms of altitude and the abundance of woodland, in reality it is completely different and in many respects resembles more the hills of Castelnuovo Berardenga, San Gusmé in particular, than the rest of Gaiole.
The fifth image, although realized from a considerable distance, clearly testifies to this.
Finally, we have the special cases of Starda and Fietri, which come into focus in the sixth and seventh images. Starda, with its handful of vineyards, on one side breathes the rarefied air of the Monti del Chianti and on the other faces the broad Arno Valley. Fietri, with its twin vineyards of Stignano and San Vincenti, enjoys an equally unique position, but on the whole is more open toward Castelnuovo Berardenga, the Crete Senesi, and in the distance Monte Amiata.
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.