This book tells the story of the ancient land named Chianti and the modern wine appellation known as Chianti Classico. In 1716, Tuscany’s penultimate Medici ruler, Cosimo III, anointed the region of Chianti, along with three smaller areas in the Florentine State, as the world’s first legal appellations of origin for wine. In the succeeding centuries, this milestone was all but forgotten. By the late nineteenth century, the name Chianti, rather than signifying this historic region and its celebrated wine, identified a simple Italian red table wine in a straw-covered flask.
In the twenty-first century, Chianti Classico emerged as one of Italy’s most dynamic and fashionable wine zones. Chianti Classico relates the fascinating evolution of Chianti as a wine region and reveals its geographic and cultural complexity. Bill Nesto, MW, and Frances Di Savino explore the townships of Chianti Classico and introduce readers to the modern-day winegrowers who are helping to transform the region. The secrets of Sangiovese, the principal vine variety of Chianti, are also revealed as the book unlocks the myths and mysteries of one of Italy’s most storied wine regions. The publication of Chianti Classico coincides with the three hundredth anniversary of the Medici decree delimiting the region of Chianti on September 24, 1716.
“‘A profound desire to find the truth’ about Chianti Classico. . . . Offers a deep dive into the history, viticulture, and enology of Chianti Classico, the wine region and appellation situated snugly between Florence and Siena, distinct from the surrounding production zone simply called Chianti.”—The Boston Globe
"Everything you always wanted to know about Chianti Classico (and lots more!) . . . . Does Chianti Classico live up to my high expectations for it? Yes! A great book for anyone who loves Chianti or Tuscany or … wine!”—The Wine Economist
“An important new book on Chianti Classico: Winners of the André Simon 2013 award for their book The World of Sicilian Wine, Nesto and Di Savino have produced the investigative, scholarly and detailed book that Chianti Classico has long deserved. Nesto and Di Savino are brilliant historic investigators. . . . A must-read for anyone seriously interested in wine.”
—Walter Speller JancisRobinson.com
“Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino embrace the story, landscape and culture of Chianti Classico . . . . Ultimately, this is the story of a region in search of identity and reputation, a compelling read for anyone who enjoys the wines of Chianti Classico or Tuscany.”—The Wine Spectator
"How the perception of Chianti Classico has evolved and changed over the years, to the point where it's held in high esteem, is an interesting Italian history lesson that the authors are eager to tell. Then it turns into a delightful travelogue of the region, describing the individual vineyards, estates and wineries. The detailed tasting notes are integral to understanding what's so important about sangiovese and how it's specifically grown and vinified in this area. It made me salivate and rush out to try several of the bottlings."—Dennis Schaefer Santa Barbara News-Press
“Profoundly informative, this book speaks to anyone with a taste for Chianti Classico, or anyone who is fascinated by the layered history of Tuscany and how it relates to wine. . . . Makes a compelling argument for why Chianti Classico’s relationship to Tuscany is perhaps more profound and complex than any other denomination wine in Italy. . . . A comeback story worthy of Cosimo III’s groundbreaking intuition.”—Monica Larner The Wine Advocate
"A well-researched history book that reads like a novel."—Harriet Lembeck Society of Wine Educators
"A fascinating account of a peerless viticultural legacy. . . . Husband and wife Bill Nesto MW and Frances Di Savino make a winning combination, with Frances penning the lion's share of the meticulously researched historical chapters and Bill doing the heavy lifting with sections on Sangiovese, viticulture, and enology."
—The World of Fine Wine
“Following their excellent Sicily book, Bill Nesto and Frances di Savino have tackled Chianti, one of the most fascinating, ancient, and traduced production areas in the world of wine, with their characteristic forensic thoroughness and enthusiasm. You will find you are reading not just about a wine but about a large chunk of Italian social and economic history over a period of centuries, including, most importantly, the present one, which, like every present, is the product of its past.”—Nicolas Belfrage, MW, author of The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy