Chianti: Wines from Chianti Colli Fiorentini – Worthy of Our Attention

Palazzo Strozzi

I love the Strozzi palace, the building in the picture above with its rusticated stones. As someone who lived in Florence for many years and with a Florentine for even more, I consider myself in the know about the city and its surroundings. What I didn’t know about when I lived there though was that there was a specific denomination for the wines called Chianti Colli Fiorentini.

The denomination Chianti Colli Fiorentini Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G./D.O.P) is one of the seven sub-zones of Chianti D.O.C.G. 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.

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. There are about 23 wineries that 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 southwest while others face north.

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.

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 like their wines a lot and find they are great to pair with pastas and my favorite steak of all time – Bistecca alla Fiorentina. I wish I had both here for dinner tonight. I like 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. The photo below is of their castle so you can see what I tried very hard to press my case.

I also have spent some time with the owner of Tenuta San Vito. They have been making wines using organically grown grapes for a while and are certified organic.

Many of the Chianti Colli Fiorentini producers make a number of chiantis. Sometimes they put the specific Chianti Colli Fiorentini denomination and other times they use just Chianti. I’m hard pressed 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 confuse them. I disagree. I wonder if the Gran Selezione makes any difference in getting these sub-zones their day in the sun in terms of differentiating between areas or if they will continue to be a minor player on the Chianti scene in the States, at least in terms of their denomination…

I think we are missing out here in the USA however and that these wines deserve more play and recognition. They are priced a little better than some of the more well-known Chiantis but sacrifice none of the quality. Great wines and my favorite city – a perfect combination.

Join our Italian Food Wine and Travel group on Saturday Oct. 7 at 10am CDT on Twitter as we discuss our Chianti findings. We’ll all be posting and chatting, join us! Just look for the #ItalianFWT hashtag on Twitter Saturday morning!

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  1. Ha! You were not adopted (I certainly understand your desire!) One thing caused me pause- Chianti Colli Fiorentini is a Chianti, one of the subzones- the comment Americans simply know Chianti Classico and Chianti. Perhaps I need a an Italian Espresso 😉

  2. How fortunate for you to have spent time in Florence! What a great opportunity to know these producers well. Not sure why we don’t know more about them in the US but I know here not eh west coast we have so much great local wine that it can be hard to get to know anything else!

  3. Is it typical that each subregion has their own consortium? Are there multiple consortiums within a subregion? Trying to understand this concept a bit more, as applicable in Chianti… thank you!

    • Jill-
      Yes, sub-zones can have their own consortium, absolutely. They can also participate in larger consortium. It depends on various factors including which way they label their wines and where their vineyards lie.

  4. LOL I can certainly empathize with your desire to be adopted into a family with that spectacular vineyard/home! Here’s hoping!

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