A world apart from the rest of Chianti, Chianti Classico is one of the original Tuscan wine districts established by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1716. The region is ancient yet has always been dynamic, the wine production evolving over time against the backdrop of the area’s unchanging rugged beauty.
With more than 340 wineries producing up to 38 million bottles on average annually, according to the regional consorzio, Chianti Classico offers a dazzling array of Sangiovese-based wines. No other prominent viticultural area boasts such a pristine, pre-modern landscape, where the vineyards are scattered among uncontaminated oaks. At the same time, no other historical wine denomination has undergone more significant revolutions.
Regulations have been revised, permitted blending grapes have changed, and even the packaging is different from the past: bottles with the Gallo Nero (black rooster) symbol on the neck have replaced the iconic flasks, which survive as ornaments in old-fashioned trattorie.
Scroll down to see a selection of Chianti Classico wines in each category
The Chianti Classico region is in a sweet spot at the moment, benefiting from both biodiversity and heterogeneity as two main strengths in times of global climate crisis. ‘Chianti Classico is on the rise once again, with a new focus on regional variation and purity of fruit,’ explains Alexander Aldersley-Hey, brand manager at UK importer and retailer Armit Wines. ‘Sangiovese is still misunderstood among many drinkers, yet the Classico region produces some truly phenomenal wines, often offering incredible value.’