The denomination Chianti Colli Fiorentini Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.) is just like someone who is always a bridesmaid and never a bride. While not the least mentioned of the seven sub-zones of Chianti D.O.C.G., it is rarely talked about and I think that’s a shame. This production zone is located in and around Florence and the Arno river valleys. Like its other six cousins, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Colli Aretini, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Colline Pisane, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli, producers can chose to use the denomination or not. The area was defined in 1932. With DPR 290 of July 2, 1984, the Chianti Colli Fiorentini area was officially granted DOCG recognition; The Chianti Colli Fiorentini Consortium was founded on September 20, 1994.
The wines must be at least 70% Sangiovese. They can also contain Canaiolo and Colorino, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in small quantities. I was introduced to the Chianti Colli Fiorentini in 2010 by their wonderful PR manager, Stefano. Despite living in Florence for many years, I didn’t know there was a specific denomination for the wines.
Some 18 communes can used this denomination including the following: Montelupo Fiorentino, Fiesole, Lastra a Signa, Scandicci, Impruneta, Bagno a Ripoli, Rignano sull’Arno and Pontassieve as well as Montespertoli, San Casciano Val di Pesa, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Certaldo, Barberino Val d’Elsa, Incisa, Figlini; Pelago, Reggello and Florence. Some 27 wineries are members of the Consortium.
The terroir in this area is mostly alluvial soils with good drainage. They also tend to have a high percentage of clay. Most of the vineyards are located on hills ranging from 150 to 400 meters above sea level. The exposition is quite varied. Some vineyards face southeast and southeast while others face north.
Generally, the wines from this region are well structured. While they have good tannins and acidity, they can be more approachable than some other Chianti wines. Some are more modern than you find in other areas, fruitier and easy to drink even when young.
One producer who I have met numerous times throughout the years is Malenchini. I liked both the wines and the winery owners. Another producer from the area that I know well is the Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini family who own Castello di Poppiano. I met the Count years ago at a tasting in Milan and have since come to known the family a bit better as well as the wines. I’ve tried to get them to adopt me but he chose his nephew Bernardo. What can you do….
I’m hard press to explain why these wines aren’t better known in the United States with their specific denomination. I think the theory is that Americans know Chianti Classico and Chianti only and that the rest confuses them. I disagree. I wonder if the new Gran Selezione will make any difference in getting these sub-zones their day in the sun or if they will continue to be a minor player, at least in terms of their denomination…