The amendments to the denomination regulations were officially announced on 1 July 2023 in the Gazzetta Ufficiale (journal of record for the Italian government). The 11 Chianti Classico UGAs, or ‘Additional Geographical Units’, that can appear on Gran Selezione labels are Castellina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Greve, Lamole, Montefioralle, Panzano, Radda, San Casciano, San Donato in Poggio, and Vagliagli.
The recent amendment also increases the minimum percentage of Sangiovese to 90% (from the 2027 vintage) and expects that up to 10% of other varieties will come from indigenous varieties.
Gran Selezione resides at the apex of Chianti Classico DOCG’s quality pyramid, representing approximately 6% of the denomination’s total production. Gran Selezione classification rules specify that all fruit in the bottle must be entirely estate-grown in vineyards under the direct management of the producer.
The Chianti Classico DOCG territory is located within the provinces of Florence and Siena, covering an area of approximately 71,800ha. Some UGAs coincide with the name of the communes, such as Radda and Gaiole, while others are specified within a larger commune, or have merged with or been divided between communes within the Chianti Classico area.
‘This is an historic achievement for the denomination,’ said Giovanni Manetti, president of the Chianti Classico consortium. ‘Now consumers will finally be able to choose wines produced in specific UGAs and fully appreciate the subtle differences inherent in the Black Rooster region. This represents a new step towards a greater appreciation of the unique characteristics of Chianti Classico.’
Manetti, who owns the Fontodi winery, emphasised that the differentiation stimulates demand and the connection that wine drinkers increasingly seek.
Federica Mascheroni Stianti of Castello di Volpaia agreed: ‘Chianti Classico has infinite facets that influence the wine produced in that micro area that belongs to a much wider denomination. The introduction of the UGA allows the consumer to “enter” the territory from which this wine comes.’
Breaking regions down into specific subzones is becoming increasingly common, both in Italy and around the world. Many of Chianti Classico’s producers believe that the UGAs will better communicate the wines’ specificities of origin to the consumer.
Fèlsina, located in Chianti Classico’s Castelnuovo Berardenga, has been communicating its wines’ origin by indicating ‘Berardengo’ on its labels for decades. ‘I always believed that it was important information for those who were tasting our wines,’ said owner, Giovanni Poggiali. ‘I voted in favour of the UGA, and I believe it can be a way to explain and enhance the differences of the territory.’
According to the consortium, 189 producers make Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. A vast majority of the consortium’s members voted in favour of the venture, so it expects a high number of producers to indicate the UGAs on their labels as early as 1 July 2023.