Territory - Features

Its climate, soil and different altitudes make Chianti territory a region ideal for the production of high-quality oil. In fact, rows of vines alternating with olive orchards are characteristic elements of the Chianti landscape.

Its climate is of the continental type, with relatively cold temperatures in winter—lower than 4 to 5° C. (39-41º F.)—and unusually hot dry summers, with temperatures frequently above 35° C. Temperatures can change substantially during the span of a single day, in part because of variations in altitudes, ranging from250 meters(820 feet) above sea level to 600 and even more than800 inthe Chianti Mountains. Annual rainfall is around 700 to800 millimeters, with rain falling primarily in late autumn and in the spring.

Soil type changes considerably from one area to another so that they cannot be strictly divided into specific types for each commune. Nevertheless, it is possible to state that marl-based soil is widespread in the San Casciano area in Val di Pesa, clayey-calcareous in the Greve in Chianti zone and all the lower-lying areas and sandstone along theChiantiMountainridge. Limestone rich in marl predominates in the central-southern part of the territory and tufa characterizes most of the Castelnuovo Berardenga zone. The hills with a heavy presence of sandstone are harsh and steep, those with limestone are rounder and gentler, and gentler still are those with a prevalence of clay. In any case, a feature common to nearly all the Chianti Classico production zone is a substantial content of crumbled rock, in other words of pebbles or stones, especially of marl.

Two-thirds of the entire territory is covered with woods; oak is almost everywhere, while chestnut woods are found mainly in the eastern portion of the territory. Conifers are concentrated on the higher elevations and there are pine groves on the low hills south ofFlorence.