The history of Chianti dates back to at least the 13th century with the earliest incarnations of Chianti as a white wine. Today this Tuscan wine is one of Italys most well known, as the wines of Chianti grew in popularity other villages in Tuscany wanted their lands to be called Chianti. The boundaries of the region have seen many expansions and sub-divisions over the centuries, in addition to changing boundaries, the grape composition for Chianti has changed dramatically over the years. The earliest examples of Chianti were a white wine but gradually evolved into a red, baron Bettino Ricasoli, the future Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Italy created the first known Chianti recipe in 1872, recommending 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca. In 1967, the Denominazione di origine controllata regulation set by the Italian government firmly established the Ricasoli formula of a Sangiovese-based blend with 10-30% Malvasia and Trebbiano. A few producers went ahead and made their chianti as they desired but, prohibited from labeling, despite their low level classifications, these super Chiantis became internationally recognized by critics and consumers and were coined as Super Tuscans. The success of these wines encouraged government officials to reconsider the DOCG regulations with many changes made to some of these vino da tavola to be labeled as Chiantis. In the early Middle Ages, the area between Baliaccia and Monte Luco in the hills between the cities of Florence and Siena was known as the Chianti Mountain and this area was noted for its winemaking with the villages of Castellina, Gaiole and Radda gaining particular renown. These three villages formed a Lega del Chianti that the Florentine merchants would market as wines of distinction, some of these areas, such as Robbiano, included large swaths of hillside near Florence that produced lighter bodied wines that were not suitable for aging or improving in quality. The 1932 expansion was canonized into DOC regulations in 1966, in 1984 the Chianti Classico and the greater Chianti region were separated and each given their own DOCG ranking. The boundaries were to cover an area of approximate 100 square miles between Florence to the north and Siena to the south, the early history of Chianti is very much intertwined with the history of the entire Tuscany region. The history of viticulture in the dates back to its settlements by the Etruscans in the eighth century BC. From the fall of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries were the main purveyors of wines in the region, as the aristocratic and merchant classes emerged, they inherited the sharecropping system of agriculture known as mezzadria. This system took its name from the arrangement whereby the landowner provides the land, many landowners in the Chianti region would turn their half of the grape harvest into wine that would be sold to merchants in Florence. The earliest reference of Florentine wine retailers dates to 1079 with a guild for wine merchants being created in 1282, unlike France or Spain, Italy did not have a robust export market for its wines during the Middle Ages. Its closest trading partners, France and Austria, were separated from Italy by the massive Alps Mountains, the English had little interest in Italian wines at this point, finding plenty of sources in France, Spain and later Portugal to quench their thirst. While the sweet Lacryma Christi from Campania had some presence on the international market, even then this market was mostly limited to the aristocracy since outside of the major cities of Rome and Naples, there was not yet a strong middle class. During the Renaissance, the city of Florence experienced a period of growth that brought with it a middle class of guilded craftsman
Chianti was commonly associated with the straw basket enclosed bottle known as a fiasco in the late 20th century
In 1716 Cosimo III de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, legislated the first official boundaries of the Chianti region in what is today part of the Chianti Classico DOCG
The Florentine merchant Francesco di Marco Datini sold one of the earliest examples of Chianti wines and it was white, not red.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister of Italy, Bettino Ricasoli developed the first known recipe of the modern Sangiovese-based Chianti.