Chianti: Fights and fine wines


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Chianti wine tour

Landscape of Chianti in Tuscany, Italy

The name may be difficult for some English speakers to say (the correct way is kee-AHN-tee), but despite any minor errors in the pronunciation of Chianti, everyone is aware of the connection with the fine, red wine. The tradition of cultivating this wine goes back to the Etruscans, who lived in this area of Tuscany before the Roman Empire. Due to the almost perfect weather and soil conditions, it’s an excellent place for producing wine.

With its gentle, rolling hills, numerous vineyards and olive groves, as well as rustic little villages built in stone, the region of Chianti is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful regions in Tuscany. Bearing in mild how stunning Tuscany is, that’s saying a lot! You’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into a painting when you lay your eyes on the incredible scenery.

So, apart from being in Tuscany, where is Chianti exactly? That’s a good question, as the borders are not so clearly defined. From the middle ages, this optimum wine growing area became a continuous battlefield between the cities of Siena and Florence, who both wanted to take control of it. And who could blame them really, what with having the opportunity to produce such fantastic wine? Historically speaking, the area near the villages of Gaiole, Castellina and Radda should be given the name Chianti. The wines produced in this area are deemed ‘Chianti Classico’, and bear the ‘gallo nero‘ or black rooster symbol.

So, what on earth does a black rooster have to do with a tasty wine? Well, the legend of the gallo nero goes back to the early 1200s. These two fighting cities had been disputing for years over the Chianti zone, and to put a stop to all the feuding nonsense, a competition was set up. One horseman from Florence and one from Siena were to set out at the cock of a crow, in order to meet along the road connecting the two cities. Siena made what they thought was a good choice, a selected a well fed, white rooster to be their ‘alarm clock’, whereas Florence chose a starving black rooster. The latter of which crowed first, thus giving Florence the chance to cover more ground. At the meeting spot, lines were drawn, which established the boundaries. The majority of the classic region therefore belonged to the Florentines. Hence why now, when you see the black rooster on your bottle of red, you’ll know it’s a true Chianti.

If reading about this famous wine is getting your taste buds going, then why not choose a Chianti tour with Caf Tours? A private Chianti wine tour is the perfect way to explore the region, taste some authentic Chianti wine and also enjoy a typical Tuscan dinner.

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