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The relationship between the Consorzio Chianti Classico and the Consorzio Vino Chianti has never been an easy one. There has long been a deep intolerance smouldering under the surface that has its roots in the past decades.

When it comes to Chianti wine, there’s too much confusion in the market, too many complications in explaining the difference between the two wine denominations. The Consorzio Chianti Classico finds it especially hard to tolerate the actions of the other Chianti Consortium.

Friday 8th November was the last straw. The Consorzio Chianti approved the proposed amendments to the product specification. Approving, among other things, the birth of the ‘Chianti Gran Selezione’ designation. And the Chianti Classico weren’t happy at all.

Here’s why: in 2014 it was the Consorzio Chianti Classico that launched the Gran Selezione at the top of its “qualitative pyramid” (vintage, Riserva and, above all designations, the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione), and in 2016 the Consortium saw the ‘Gran Selezione’ become part of a reorganisation of wine designations, approved by national law. Now a “Gran Selezione” from the Consorzio Chianti will be appearing on the market.

“We’ll strongly oppose the proposal of the Chianti Gran Selezione in all institutional bodies” were the words of the president of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, Giovanni Manetti. “We see this as an attack, which threatens to jeopardise the long-term collaboration efforts in Tuscany’s viticulture sector. Collaboration in which we’ve been active participants, and that have also been supported and encouraged by the Regione Toscana”.

“The process of approving the new wine designation ‘Chianti Gran Selezione’ will last about two years – the director of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Marco Alessandro Bani explained – but we’ll ask that the provision is applied with retroactive effect: this way, whoever wants to produce Chianti wine following the criteria laid down for the Gran Selezione, can do so, and sell the first bottles on the market over the next three years. The Chianti Gran Selezione wine will offer the highest quality and aims to be a niche product.”

But the Gallo Nero promises to be ready for the fight.

”We oppose the choice of the Consorzio Vino Chianti concerning the changes of the product specification. Above all we’re incredulous, because we find their management strategy non-constructive and absolutely devoid of much-needed innovative and original ideas. We’d like to highlight the fact that the Gran Selezione, which has been on the market since 2014, is solely a type of Chianti Classico, conceived by the exclusive work of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico”.

“We deeply regret – conclude the Consorzio Chianti Classico – that the proposals made by the Chianti Consortium aim at re-proposing promotional strategies already implemented by the Chianti Classico: the Gran Selezione, with exactly the same characteristics to those of the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico – such as alcohol content, ageing times and the ban on straw-covered bottle, and the mandatory certification for unbottled wine. This is enough to send confusing messages to the consumer, and deprive the Chianti wine producers of clear long-term strategies and prospects”.