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Changing the Rules for Chianti Classico

Changing the Rules for Chianti Classico

The vineyards of Castellina are now officially unique in Chianti Classico.

© Tom Hyland/Wine-Searcher | The vineyards of Castellina are now officially unique in Chianti Classico.

Another new classification for the Tuscan favorite aims to define regionality, but what difference will it make?
By Tom Hyland | Posted Saturday, 03-Jul-2021

Over the past 10 years, producers of Chianti Classico have been discussing major changes regarding the identification of their territory.

For most local vintners, writing Chianti Classico on the label was not enough; as this is a sizeable production zone, they wanted to highlight the stylistic differences of wines from one area to another. Happily, their wishes will now come true, as the producers of the Chianti Classico wine consorzio approved new regulations last month that will mark important changes in how these wines can now be identified.

The most important decision of these new regulations has been the creation of 11 different areas of Chianti Classico that will be known as UGA, Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (Additional Geographical Units). The 11 UGA are (in alphabetical order): Castellina; Castelnuovo Berardenga; Gaiole; Greve; Lamole; Montefioralle; Panzano; Radda; San Casciano; San Donato in Poggio and Vagliagli.

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.

As one of the most important points about using UGA on a label is the origin of the grapes, a UGA designation will only be allowed for a Gran Selezione if all the grapes are from one UGA. Thus, a producer who owns vineyards in two or more UGAs and blends the grapes together for his or her wine can still label the wine as a Gran Selezione, but without a UGA name.

Federica Mascheroni Stianti of Castello di Volpaia in Radda explains the thinking on this point: “With the Gran Selezione, which by definition comes from your own estate grapes, it’s much easier to know where the wine comes from. You know it comes from that specific piece of land. I think that is why this was done.

“If you google a wine from Radda, you will definitely see a lot of woods and forests around which makes it very different from a winery located in the area of Panzano, where it’s much more vineyards and lands and softer hills. So, for sure you will understand that the land of Radda is different from that of Panzano.”

Full article here

Changing the Rules for Chianti Classico