The Florence and Siena Competition in 1398

Have you ever wondered why there is a black rooster logo on Chianti wine? The story behind the rooster is legendary and is rooted in a period of history when it was not uncommon to have battles for territories. In 14th century Tuscany, Florence and Sienna wanted to set a boundary between their cities, so they decided to hold a competition. The contest stated that riders would set out birds from each city, and wherever the roosters met, the people would establish the boundary.

The Sienese selected a white, fat rooster. The Florentines decided on a black, skinny, malnourished rooster. That night, the Sienese fed their white rooster well, while the Florentines fed only a meager amount to their black rooster. The following day, the black rooster crowed very early in the morning due to its hunger so the Florentines were able to set out very early. The Sienese didn’t end up leaving until much later because their white rooster crowed later.

Therefore, the Florentines covered much more ground than the Sienese, and they met in Fonterutoli, which gave the Florentines the majority of the Chianti Classico region.

The black rooster has since become the logo of the Chianti Classico brand. Wine has been produced in the area since as early as 1398 during the Etruscan times.

An organization called, Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico meets each year, to check the grape varieties and yields of its members. Once they are satisfied, the members are allowed to use the famous Gallo Nero, or black rooster logo on their wine bottles.

Did You Know: Chianti is made from the Sangiovese grape varietal.

This Day in Wine History

1917: The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III, defined the geographical area as a wine region in Italy. However, some producers outside the area still tried to make fake vintage Chianti.

1866: Baron Bettino Ricasoli created the modern recipe of the Chianti Classico wine.

Want to read more? Try these books!

Somewhere in Chianti- The Confessions of a Tuscan Tour Guide Ancient Wine- The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton Science Library, 66)

References

  1. Morelli, G. (2005, Nov 3). Wine and War. Retrieved from The Florentine: https://www.theflorentine.net/2005/11/03/wine-and-war/?fbclid=IwAR1KC9MVO_u3Dpj6WIVf2Z6Zw2rU8J94xsvKce3tCSOehcZWS3F-wh8LTYw
  2. Strachan, D. (n.d.). The History of Chianti Wine. Retrieved from Tuscany Now & More: https://www.tuscanynowandmore.com/discover-italy/wine-other-italian-drinks/chanti-wine-history-tuscany

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