If Chianti represents the soul of Tuscany, Chianti Classico is its heart. We’ve been to the Chianti Classico area at least 6 times in the last 15 years.
Thanks to the interest generated by the Under the Tuscan Sun phenomenon as well as increased global travel, our favorite out-of-the-way places are becoming not-so-out-of-the-way.
We’d like to share them, so you can experience their beauty and simplicity before they lose their charm and innocence.
So, how do you know if you’re in the Chianti Classico area? Many of the larger towns, or communes, have made it very apparent by adding “in Chianti” to their official names. These include Greve, Castellina, Radda, and Gaiole. Communes without the “in Chianti” designation include Castelnuovo Berardenga and territories overseen by the governments of Tavernelle Val di Pesa and Monteriggioni.
Communes have administrative responsibility for the villages (frazioni) near to them. When it comes to our posts regarding Chianti, the communes and their nearby villages are:
- Greve – Montefioralle, Panzano, Lamole
- Radda – Lucarelli and Volpaia
- Gaiole – Ama, Badia a Coltibuono, Brolio, Lecchi
- Castellina – Piazza, Lilliano and Fonterutoli
- Tavernelle Val di Pesa – Badia a Passignano
To get your bearings, here’s a static map of the Chianti region. With Florence just to the north, the red pin is over Greve, considered to be the unofficial headquarters of the Chianti Classico wine district. (Map courtesy of Chianti.com.) The wines grown here reflect this sense of pride and history. If a bottle of Chianti has an illustration of a black rooster (Gallo Nero) on the cap or bottle label, it is a Chianti Classico wine. It will also be labelled DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), proof that it was grown and produced in the area and meets the high standards for Chianti Classico production.
If you’re an olive oil lover (see our article on EVOO), you’ll find that many of the best Chianti Classico DOCG producers also produce some of the area’s (and world’s) best olive oils. These oils will be labeled DOP (Protected Designation of Origin). You’ll pay more for them – but they’re definitely worth it!
Masthead photo: Early Fall Grapes in Chianti Classico (Bob)