Chianti Classico's ruling council is set to create a new flagship wine classification to show off the region's improved quality.
After lengthy debate, the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico and an assembly of producers has agreed to introduce the top-tier classification. It still has no official name, but will sit above Riserva level and essentially represent single vineyard wines.
‘This is a tentative step to communicate more clearly the quality and uniqueness of our wines,’ Silvia Fiorentini, head of marketing for the Chianti Classico Consorzio, told Decanter.com. She described the current system as a ‘pyramid without the top’.
Producers have replanted around 60% of the Chianti Classico vineyard area in the last 15 years, as part of a wider effort to improve quality and distinguish themselves from the standard Chianti classification.
‘There has been a long discussion on how to transmit all these improvements to the consumers,’ said Fiorentini. Exports account for 78% of Chianti Classico volumes.
‘It’s important that we give more recognition to the work that’s done in the vineyards,’ Fontodi owner Giovanni Manetti told Decanter.com. ‘The concept here is excellent wines from excellent vineyards,’ said Manetti, who is also a board member of the Chianti Classico Consorzio.
Not everybody is convinced about the new category, however. ‘People are already confused between Chianti and Chianti Classico,’ said Paolo De Marchi, of Isola e Olena winery. ‘I don’t really see the need for a new category unless it relates directly to wines of origin.’
Wines that qualify for the new tier must not hit the market until 30 months after harvesting and must spend three months in the bottle. Alongside the new classification, the Consorzio will also redesign its black rooster logo, which is used on bottles.
Written by Chris Mercer