Chianti Classico: a unique denomination synonym of absolute excellence
The term “Chianti Classico” does not indicate a geographical area, but rather a limited area of wine production within the Chianti area. The Chianti territory’s capitals are Siena and Florence and it is shared between the provinces of the two municipalities. The zone amounts to 70,000 hectares and includes the entire territories of the municipalities of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti and parts of those of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
Chianti Classico wine is only produced in this small area. What makes Chianti Classico so unique compared to other Chianti wines is the unmistakable pink label with the Black Rooster seal. Beside this, they are two distinct and separate DOCGs, with two different sets of production regulations, production zones and consortiums for the protection of the product.
The must visit wineries in Chianti Classico | The Gotto Wine Tour Selection
Vignamaggio is one of the oldest farms in Tuscany born over 600 years ago. The estate extends over 400 hectares in the city of Greve in Chianti, hence in the heart of Chianti Classico. Today Vignamaggio is not only a well-known farm, but offers also high-level hospitality, guided tours of Italian gardens and wine tastings in the Monna Lisa restaurant. The Renaissance Villa stands at the center of the farm; around the villa, there are the Italian style gardens which fill the spaces between rows of cypresses, vines and olive trees. The estate extends over 70 hectares of vineyards and includes many grape varietals such as Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano. Vignamaggio wines come from 61 vineyard plots grouped into 9 different areas. Today Vignamaggio is an awarded winery known not only on the national scene, but also on the international one.
San Felice is an ancient Tuscan hamlet located in the municipality of Castelnuovo Berardenga, near Siena, in other words, right in the heart of Chianti Classico territory. The early 1970s mark the beginning of a new development model: the estate was bought by the Allianz Group, which set its sights on enological and territorial excellence. The village was fully and painstakingly restored, through a series of works that accentuated its characteristic art and architecture. Since 1992, one year after its opening, Borgo San Felice became part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux association. An extensive programme of vine replantation was launched with a view to bring out the best in the predominant Sangiovese. The project was complemented by a scientific study of indigenous vines, in partnership with the universities of Florence and Pisa. Today the Borgo and the Agricola San Felice are two successful businesses with a single soul.
Tolaini is a beautiful estate located in the heart of the Chianti Classico, in the prestigious area of Castelnuovo Berardenga. The property consists of two plots where the balance between climate, soil and exposure is ideal. These are the farms of Montebello and San Giovanni. Since 1998 the property belongs to Pier Luigi Tolaini, a successful Italian entrepreneur who made his fortune by founding one of the most important transport companies in the United States. Emigrated over 45 years ago, Pier Luigi has always had the dream of returning to Italy to produce wine. Today his dream has come true. Today Tolaini is a modern winery that combines ancient elements with modern winemaking. The farm practices sustainable farming to respect the environment and biodiversity of the land.
Nittardi is a boutique winery situated in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, with vineyards in Chianti Classico and the Maremma. The Nittardi Estate, on the boundary between the provinces of Siena and Florence, was originally a defensive tower known as early as 1183 by the name of “Nectar Dei” (The Nectar of the God). In the 16th century, the vast property belonged to the Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti. Over the centuries the property changed hands often until, in 1982, it was taken over by the Frankfurt publisher and art gallerist Peter Femfert and his wife Stefania Canali, a historian from Venice. Stefania and Peter restored Nittardi step-by-step and with love and care. The vineyards were replanted and, in 1992, the ancient vat room was replaced by a modern cellar. Léon Femfert, Stefania and Peter’s first child, has been working full-time in the winery since early 2013.
Castello di Volpaia is an historic hamlet nestled in the heart of the Chianti Classico where hospitality and wine making date back to 1172. Volpaia is known all over the world for the beauty of its village enclosed by ancient walls. Castello di Volpaia contains history, traditions, art and nature. Today, as the eleventh century, the village is intimately involved in the wine-olive oil production, because the fermentation room and wine cellars, the vinsantaia and bottling, and the mill orciaia modern-yet-still housed in the basement, in the halls, churches desecrated and in buildings of the village, joined together by an amazing “wineduct” underground. Volpaia, is thus not a mere “theater for tourists”, but the center of a complex rural activities which are directly or indirectly linked to all the inhabitants of the village.
Riecine is a wonderful winery located in the heart of Tuscany, 35 km North-East of Siena, in the city of Gaiole in Chianti. The history of Riecine is very ancient: some ecclesiastical archives document the existence of this farm as early as 1112. The founder of contemporary Riecine is John Dunkley, an Englishman who became one of the most admired producers of the new style Chianti Classico, based on Sangiovese. Since 2011 Riecine has been family-owned and led by Lana Frank. The family is strongly committed to maintain the philosophy of Riecine and produce high quality wines. For this reason, there is a great attention on quality aspects of all operations both in the vineyards and in the cellar. The management of the vineyards follows the most rigid ecological parameters in order to preserve the natural environment and reduce the human impact.
Villa Le Corti, the Corsini family’s historical estate in Chianti, is a place where the landscape of the Tuscan hills, made of vineyards and olive trees, melds with a thousand-year history of one of the most important Italian families. In this Tuscan land between Florence and Siena, Duccio Corsini and his family follow organic agricultural methods to produce Chianti Classico and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Villa Le Corti extends over 250 hectares of land, 49 of which are vineyards. The estate consists of a rectangular Renaissance Villa surrounded by a vast park, characterized by a geometric Italian garden and centuries-old cypress trees. The historic wine cellar is unique of its kind. It was constructed in 1600 and organized on three underground levels. Here is where the great wines of Chianti Classico Principe Corsini are created.
The hamlet of Fonterutoli, an old bastion of Florence only a few kilometers from Castellina in Chianti, is blessed with an extraordinary view of Siena, which is so close that it is possible to discern the Torre del Mangia and the outline of the Duomo. The centuries-old ownership of Marchesi Mazzei has preserved the handful of houses, the church of San Miniato, and the villa erected at the end of the 1500’s in place of the citadel, more or less unchanged. Time stopped here, maintaining the charm of the Middle Ages. The wisdom of Mazzei knew how to transform the arid and rocky land of Fonterutoli into a bounty, which adopted diversity into its main style. The estate covers an overall surface of 650 hectares, 117 of which are covered in vineyards. For over six hundred years the Mazzei family has been producing unique wines with spirit and passion that are renewed from generation to generation.
Wonderful estate located between the Chianti Classico and the Crete Senesi, which extends over an area of about 600 hectares, 95 of which are cultivated with vineyards. Fèlsina belongs to the Poggiali family since 1996 and it is now managed by Giuseppe Poggiali and his son Giovanni. Fèlsina farm, developed over more than a thousand years, still represent the basic drive of our work culture, despite the post-WWII exodus from the countryside by sharecropping families. Today the farm remains the same. Fèlsina winery focuses not only on producing high-quality wines, but also on environmental sustainability. The mission of Fèlsina is to preserve the natural environment, controlling the human impact and technology, in the cellar as in the vineyards. Woods, cereal-sown fields, olive groves, ditches and streams, smaller fields for cultivated and wild herbs and medicinal plants like alfalfa, sorghum, millet, sunflower, field beans, all contribute to the preservation of biodiversity.
The first stones of Brolio Castle date back to the Middle Ages. The castle passed into the hands of the Ricasoli family thanks to an exchange of lands for which records can be found as early as 1141. Through the centuries the castle has suffered attack and destruction in numerous battles, from the Aragonese and Spanish assaults during the fifteenth century, to disputes in the seventeenth century, to the aerial bombings and rounds of artillery during the Second World War. Brolio Castle towers over the Ricasoli company lands, the most extensive in the Chianti Classico area, that unfold with a continuous succession of colors and hues over gentle hills, velvety valleys and thick woodlands of oaks and chestnuts. The 1,200 hectares of property include 235 hectares of vineyards and 26 of olive groves, in the commune of Gaiole.
The estate belongs to the Bindi Sergardi family. It is located in the northwest corner of the city of Castelnuovo Berardenga, considered the township of production for Sienese Chianti Classico. This area enjoys full light and warmth given by its southern latitude within the appellation. The peculiar altitude of 1640 feet/500 meters and the exceptional galestro and alberese soils, represent the archetype of a sangiovese vine’s aspirations. Mocenni’s vineyards create an amphitheater with an ideal southern exposure. Continuous research and experiments on new sangiovese clones and cultivation techniques are the foundations of Bindi Sergardi’s excellence. Mocenni’s origins date back to 1067 when it was a mill. Its name comes from “macina” (millstone).
Villa di Geggiano has been the family home and winery of the Bianchi Bandinelli family since 1527. Just six kilometers north-east of Siena, its facade looks out onto the enchanting hills of Chianti Classico, a region of Italy world famous for its wines, natural beauty and rich history. The first documents testifying to the family’s wine making activities date back to 1725 when Niccolò Bandinelli, who had been producing wine in the cellars of the Villa, started exporting to Great Britain. Today, brothers Andrea and Alessandro Bianchi Bandinelli, and partner Malcolm Caplan, follow the principles of organic farming in the management of the 50-acre estate. Organic farming and traditional wine making techniques, combined with the careful selection of grapes, ensure the production of top-quality wines for prestigious shops, restaurants and hotels.