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Wineries in the Chianti region will now indicate certain areas on their top wine labels and will no longer use non-Italian grape varieties in those wines.
The Consorzio Chianti Classico Assembly, the official wineries’ alliance, voted earlier this month on two important issues for the region. They agreed to formally recognize 11 subzones of the Chianti Classico, known as the Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive or UGA. Members also voted to tighten the rules for wines in the Gran Selezione category. The wines of this elite category must now contain 90% Sangiovese, and the rest of the grapes must be traditional for the region.
“90 percent voted for the UGA and I didn’t have to do anything special to convince them,” said president of the Consorzio Giovanni Manetti. “They are all more and more aware that ‘territory matters’ and that we need to strengthen the relationship between wine and the particular piece of land on which it was born. Quality is not the only satisfaction of taste, but also uniqueness, and territory is the production factor that provides it.”
As consumers become increasingly interested in the origin of the vineyards, the changes highlight the region’s unique terroirs. The names of the 11 subzones will also be added to the labels. These are Castellina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Greve, Lamole, Montefioralle, Panzano, Radda, San Casciano, San Donato in Poggio and Vagliagli.
Chianti Classico producers have been debating for a long time which is better: to simplify the labeling or to highlight the special terroirs of the historical region. The UGA decision is definitely moving towards the latter.
Initially, UGAs will only appear on labels for Gran Selezione wines, the highest quality wines in the region, accounting for about 5 percent of the wines produced from each vintage. Over the next four years, it is planned to extend the UGA concept to the rest of the Chianti Classico wines.