The legend of the Chianti and the black rooster…
Once upon a time the most famous italian red wine: the Chianti. Once upon a time a rooster used to resolve a conflict: the black rooster. This is the lengend of the Chianti and the black rooster…
Once upon a time, in the not so far Tuscany, an exceptional wine: the Chianti. Proud of their juice, the “chiantiganis” didn’t succeed to keep for a longtime the secret of their wine (bloody Italians, stop to talk everytime !!! 😉 ), and the last one starts to be exported. But, few smarts alecs feel the good deal and produce many counterfeits. The bigoted Cosimo III, Grand-Duke of Tuscany, is absolutely furious. So he writes in 1716, the first edict of the history demarcating a zone of wine production…Then, everything goes on the best world…except that…no !!!When it’s good, it’s good ! And the Chianti carries on to be exported (historically in the fiask of straw to avoid the damages) at the beginning of the XXth. The area of 1716 isn’t big enough to furnish all the alcoholics and the production extends outside of the historical limit, with more and more imitations. Enough is enough ! In 1924, a meeting of the Chianti’s producers gathers to defend and promote their authentic wine: the Consortium for the Defence of the typical Wine of Chianti and of its Designation of Origin. Consequences:
– the historical zones will be called “Classico” and the others satellites (7 villages outside of the original limit) only the term “Chianti” (with the name of the village…if they want).
– these Chianti Classico will put a black rooster up, on the neck as a symbol of authentification. Here we are !Once upon a time the League of the Chianti, whith a black rooster as a symbol. By the way Giorgio Vasari, on the ceiling of the Hall of the Five Hundreds in the Palazzio Vecchio of Florence, painted this black rooster as an allegory of the Chianti. So, the Consortium choose it as a symbol. But it doesn’t say where does this gallinacean comes from ? The legend dates back to the Middle Ages, when Florentines and Sienne spent their time fighting. To conclude this war without end, a pacific solution was found: a knight of each city will leave his city at dawn, or more precisely at the rooster’s warbling. The place of their meeting will determinate the limits of the frontier. I know, strange but it avoids more dead ! Sienne chooses a beautiful and vigorous white rooster. At dawn, this one sings and the proud knight of Sienne, confident, leaves galloping. But which surprise was waiting for him when he saw the Florentine knight only after 12km of Sienne…knowing there are 70 km !!! Why ? These smarts alecs of Florence choose a black rooster, confined it in the darkness and starved during many days. When it exited, he “sang of hunger” before dawn and the Florentine knight left !!! The territory of Chianti has been reunified on the authority of Florence, but the story doesn’t say what the rooster became…
Today, a Chianti Classico is a token of quality, and received in 1984 the “title” of DOCG (Denomination of Origin Controled and Guaranteed), the most important designation for an italian wine. The laws are obviously stricts:
– use of grapes grow in the Chianti only;
– to have a minimum of 80% of Sangiovese (from the latin sanguis Jovi, or blood of Jupiter), the others 20% for the red “cépages” (Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet, Merlot, …) and no white cépage !
– to have a minimum of 12% of rate of alcohol (12,5% for the “Riserva”);
- – aged minimum 2 years, including 3 months in bottle for the “Riserva”; etc…etc…etc
So, if you want to taste a Chianti of quality, follow the black rooster, especially the one of Antinori, whose his Riserva 2009 captivated me by its red fruits, its chocolate and its minty aroma !!! And for the harmonization dish-wine, ask to an expert: