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Chianti Classico 1716 to 2016: Eight wines heading for greatness

Chianti Classico wine producers are marking 300 years since the first Chianti zone was drawn up. Richard Baudains chooses his top eight Chianti Classico wines from a new wave of winemakers to help you celebrate.

Chianti Classico 1716 to 2016

It’s three centuries since Cosimo III de’Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, decided to regulate wines from a specific area that was to be the forerunner of Chianti Classico denomination.

Celebrations kicked off in February 2016 at the ‘antiprima’ tasting of the 2015, 2014 and 2013 vintages of Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, IGT, Vin Santo and the new premium category Gran Selezione, in the Stazione Leopolda in Florence.

There were more than 2,000 visitors at event, which had 164 stands of Chianti producers.

The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III, set the original 70,000-hectare Chianti boundary between the cities of Florence and Siena in a legal document in 1716.

In the early 20th century Chianti Classico’s popularity soared. The original production area could not fulfil demand and cheap, imitation wine made outside of the Chianti Classico zone was flooding the marketing branded under the Chianti Classico name. In 1924, the ‘Consortium for the protection of Chianti wine and its trademark of origin’ was established to protect the Chianti Classico name, choosing the black rooster as its emblem which can be seen on the bottles today.

Chianti Classico received D.O.C.G. status just 32 years ago in 1984, the highest recognition in Italian wine.

To mark the 300th anniversary, Richard Baudains visited the region and discovered that young property owners are bringing new and exciting approaches to Chianti Classico, showing the region is not frightened of change. Here are eight of his highest rated picks:

Stephen Brook gives his thoughts on the Gran Selezione category

Florence and Chianti Classico travel guide

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