In 1398 there was the first document containing the earliest reference of Chianti in the qualification of origin of its wine.
In the sixteenth century this wine began to be consumed also by the Popes. Around 1536 Pope Paolo III drank it. He was adviced by Sante Lancerio, an historian and geographer, but above all he was his personal bottle-holders.
It was in 1716 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III set the boundaries of the area of production of the Chianti region, the area between the cities of Florence and Siena. Chianti wine was already very successful.
In 1932, through a specific ministerial decree, the suffix "Classico" was added to distinguish the Chianti produced in the aforementioned area of origin.
In 1984, the Chianti Classico obtained the D.O.C.G. (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) ,that is the highest recognition for quality Italian wines.
In 2016 was celebrated the 300th anniversary from Cosimo III’s promulgation and the launch of the application for Chianti Classico’s territory nomination into the UNESCO World Heritage.
The legend of the Black Rooster
The brand of Chianti Classico’s bottles has been always distinguished by the Black Rooster, that is an historical symbol of the ancient military legion of Chianti. It has been reproduced among other design by the painter Giorgio Vasari on the ceiling of Salone dei Cinquecento in the Florentine Palazzo Vecchio.
The historiography of this symbol also includes a singular legend set in the medieval period.
His story marked the definition of the political boundaries of the entire territory of Chianti, because it was precisely the behavior of a black rooster to decide its fate.
The legend set in the medieval period, when the Republics of Florence and Siena fought bitterly to prevail over each other in the Chianti territory, the intermediate area between the two cities. This zone was the subject of almost continuous disputes and to establish the peace at the boundary it was adopted a bizarre unique system.
It was agreed to start two knights from their respective capitals and to set the border at their meeting point.
The departure had to take place at sunrise and the start signal would have been the song of a rooster.
This decision was in line with the customs of the time, when the daily rhythms were still marked by natural mechanisms. Therefore in the organization of the event the choice of the rooster was decisive, more than the choice of the steed knight.
The Sienese chose a white one, while the Florentines opted for a black one, who they kept closed in a small and dark chicken coop for many days.
The fateful day of the departure, as soon as it was opened the chicken coop, the black rooster began to sing strongly although the dawn was still far away.
His singing allowed the knight of Florence to leave immediately with great advantage over the Sienese, who had to wait for the first lights of the day, when his rooster, singing regularly, allowed him to leave. Sienese knight was in late and he traveled only twelve kilometers in solitude since he met the other knight at Fonterutoli.
So it was that almost all Chianti passed under the control of the Florentine Republic, long before the fall of Siena.