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Chianti Classico: a glowing future plus 12 must-try wines

Chianti Classico’s fortunes took a dive in the middle of the last century, when tenant farmers and traditional vineyard methods gave way to mechanisation and international grape varieties. Today a new generation of producers is returning to original ways while embracing advances in the winery, says Emily O’Hare, who believes the region’s star is rising again.

Is there any other wine appellation in the world with such a tumultuous past and glowing future as Chianti Classico? For almost a century, since 1924, the Gallo Nero – the black cockerel emblem of the DOCG wine region – has ruled the roost.

Perhaps a phoenix might be more appropriate.

Today, amid the dark forests and hamlets with smoking chimneys, one can spot dry-stone terraces housing young vines of indigenous Tuscan varieties such as Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero.

Some vineyards are planted to stakes, next to those in rows along wire trellises. Any minute now, I imagine, a beanstalk will spring from the galestro soil and take me up to the clouds. I am surely in a fable, or have I gone back in time?

Scroll down for Emily O’Hare’s scores and tasting notes for her 12 must-try Chianti Classicos

Visiting the wineries in the region, I am certain I have time-travelled: there are Etruscan-style terracotta amphorae at Fontodi, ceramic globes called Clayvers at Candialle, and at Poggerino in Radda I spot an enormous concrete egg capable of holding 650 litres of wine perched comfortably between large French oak tonneaux.

O’Hare’s 12 must-try Chianti Classico wines

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