Castello della Paneretta is the Chianti Classico looking toward San Gimignano. Wine has been made on the estate since the 16th century and it is today owned by the Albisetti family. Though the estate itself is very large with more than 750 acres, only about 65 of the acres are in vineyards. The estate’s flagship wines are its Chiantis, though it also makes Sangiovese blends and wines made from the Canaiolo grape, once one of Tuscany’s main grapes.
Chianti is Tuscany’s most famous and historic wine district, and the Chianti Classico DOCG is the most prestigious Chianti appellation. Fittingly, it is located in the heart of the larger Chianti DOCG. Chianti’s wines were so esteemed during the Renaissance that the Medici princes of Florence designated several villages within the Chianti region as discrete production zones, setting up the first appellations in Italy. By the 20th century Chianti was Italy’s primary wine export. But the pizza parlor Chiantis sent to foreign markets were inexpensive, unremarkable reds presented in round-bottomed, straw-covered bottles. To upgrade Chianti wines and the region’s image, the Chianti Classico DOC was created in 1967, then upgraded to DOCG status in 1984, with additional modifications made in 1996. In the last 20 years a consortium of Chianti Classico producers have researched new Sangiovese clones, replanted vineyards, updated cellar practices and generally made Chianti Classico DOCG a world-class appellation. Chianti Classico must contain a minimum of 75% Sangiovese. In the 2014 edition of its annual compendium of wine ratings, Gambero Rosso noted that Chianti Classico DOCG wines were noteworthy for their “significant return to a more defined style, true to tradition.”