|representatives (in no particular order), from the vineyards below|
The Union of Winegrowers of Panzano (Unione Viticoltori di Panzano in Chianti - nice site but mostly in Italian) consists of 19 wineries covering 300 hectares ( 740 acres) of vines situated between 350 and 500 metres above sea level on the hilly slopes surrounding the township.
The local earth is characterised by marl or lime-rich mudstone and temperatures in the area vary considerably between winter lows and summer highs. An extremely interesting and unique point about these wineries is that about 70% of their vines is cultivated organically and some are even biodynamic.
So how are these wines? I can only quote connoisseurs who have written about some of them. Without naming names, which would be unfair, I have plumped for a description of one of the Chianti Classicos from the area (my own translation):
Chianti Classico DOCG
grape: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet
aging: 10-12 months in the barrel, then 3 months in the bottle
A perfect Chianti which abandons the sharp, racy Sangiovese temperament to focus more on a wine linked to tradition but less rustic and more refined and elegant. A composite, delicate and long-lasting nose, full and savoury with good body and a brilliant ruby red colour. The aroma rises slowly and delicately to the nose, like a whisper.
The alcoholic content is not overwhelming, almost as if seeking not to disturb the characteristic floral notes of Chianti with its earthy hints.
Very elegant and balanced with gentle tannins which surround the palate leaving a pleasing sensation of warmth, roundness and overall harmony.
Character and structure are not lacking, leaving one with the impression of a wine of a certain importance.
At the end there is a considerable persistence, not extremely long, but truly pleasant.
(It is tricky to be objective when it comes to wine tasting! I hope something can be made of this poetic description which will have to stand here for all the Chianti Classico wines.)
Views of some of Panzano's wineries:
Here instead is some useful background information on Chianti Classico, culled shamelessly from the internet, for those who wish to learn more:
Nature of the terrain:
Hilly terrains with maximum altitude of 700 meters (2.297 feet): sandstone substrata, calcareous-marly, clayey schist, sand and pebbles
Sangiovese from 80% to 100%; complementary red grapes recommended or authorized for the production zone, up to 20%
Minimum density of vines per hectare:
For new vineyards there must be 3.350 vines per hectare (1,356 an acre)
Start of wine production:
Beginning with the fourth year after planting
Maximum production of grapes:
75 quintals per hectare (3,34 tons an acre); 3 kilos (6,6 pounds) per vine
Minimum total alcohol level at the time of release for consumption for Chianti Classico 12◦, for the Riserva 12,5◦
Release for consumption:
Regular wine: starting from October 1st of the year following harvest
Riserva: after at least 24 months of aging including at least 3 months of fining in the bottle
Vinification and bottling:
Vinification, preservation, bottling, fining in the bottle and aging must be carried out within the production zone
To have the right to the Chianti Classico DOCG, each consignment of wine, which must come from registered vineyards, must pass a chemical and sensory evaluation
For further information on Panzano's wine festival, look up the Vino al Vino