Brolio and the 100 years of Chianti Classico

We recently talked about how 2024 is a year of important anniversaries for the Chianti Classico denomination. In addition to the Consortium reaching its 100-year milestone, there is also the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Gran Selezione category, in which the four Ricasoli stars – Castello di Brolio, Colledilà, Roncicone and CeniPrimo – shine. After the previews of the Chianti Classico Collection in February and Vinitaly in April, the centennial celebrations kicked off with the Grand Tasting in New York on April 29th.

“A great success,” Francesco Ricasoli recounts, “At the Masterclass featuring vintages from 1949 to 1999, all the most renowned American wine critics participated. It was a tremendous endorsement.” The tasting revealed the surprising potential for elegance and longevity of the various terroirs of the denomination, and of Brolio in particular, which was represented by the oldest vintage – a 1949 that exhibited exceptional vitality.

“There really has been a huge amount of ground covered since 1924 when my grandfather Luigi, along with 32 other ‘founding fathers,’ established what was then called the ‘Consorzio per la Difesa del vino Chianti e della sua Marca d’Origine’.” It was the first consortium of wine producers in Italy and was created with the aim of shining a light on the region, protecting the wine and the producers from the growing misinformation during that time due to the success of the emerging Chianti Classico brand. Luigi Ricasoli stood at the forefront of all this, looking to the future with great foresight.

During the nineteenth century, the success of Chianti had already grown to such an extent that a classification became necessary, and it was at Brolio that the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli created the first one with his “perfect wine formula,” creating an inextricable bond between the history of the family and that of the denomination.

“First, Bettino Ricasoli, and then my grandfather Luigi, taught us that the future lies in the protection and enhancement of both our region and the Sangiovese, which is the grape variety of choice here. It’s a philosophy that has also guided my choices since I’ve been at the helm of the business. I believe that, today, Grandfather Luigi would be proud to see that Chianti Classico, thanks in part to the consortium work initiated by him, is a brand that is recognized and admired throughout the world” continues Francesco Ricasoli.

He then concludes by saying: “Today, Chianti Classico and Ricasoli are famous and recognized worldwide, holding a place of honor among the most prestigious wines in the world and proudly representing Italian excellence. It is up to us now to continue on this path, with the hope that our descendants can continue this success story over the next 100 years.”