Monday, February 25, 2008

Gallo Nero...

180 view, Colli Senesi ©2006 photo dave trieger
... which in Italian means black rooster, is the symbol for a region in Italy between Florence and Siena called Chianti that produces some of the greatest wines in the world. The original Chianti was defined in 1716 by the Medici family and included the area around Gaiole, Greve, Radda and Castellina. The borders were extended and redrawn in 1932 to stretch to the north of Firenze, south to Castelnuovo Berardenga, west to Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and east to the Chianti Mountains. There are now 8 sub-zones:

Classico, Colli Aretini
Colli Fiorentino, Colline Pisano,
Colli Senesi, Montalbano,
Montespertoli & Rufina

The black rooster signifies the Chianti Classico producers association and you will find it on the necks of the bottles from this region. Following is a story told by Dario Castagno a few years ago describing the black rooster's origins...

In the 12th century, Florence and its rival Siena had had a long dispute about the rich territories between the two cities. Legends say they would resolve this quarrel with a race involving two knights, one from each city. The rules were agreed upon... the two knights would start the race when the cock crows. The point where the knights meet would be the new border their respective city would control. This is where it gets interesting... allegedly the Florentines had a black rooster (galletto nero) which they kept unfed for days, so by the morning of the race it crowed well before dawn. So the Florentines had an advantage because their knight left first and rode many miles deeper into rival territory, reaching Fonterutoli, a territory of Castellina. So the border was established in Castellina, close to Siena, in a place they named Croce Fiorentina.

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