Wine Blog

Words at the Wine Bar – a mini course

Last Friday I started a mini-course about wine, a sort of an ABC of wine and wine tasting with my friend and sommelier Nadia Padrin. We have been offered the possibility to do a small introduction to wine and wine tasting at a local wine bar here in Florence (Uva Nera). So for the next three Fridays, we will be talking about some different Italian wine regions. First on the agenda, last Friday was, of course, Tuscany. We talked about particularities of Chianti, Chianti Classico, Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello and the area of Bolgheri with its Supertuscans. We also touched upon vine varieties, soil, the different DOCG’s (denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin) and some history of the region.


The legend of the Gallo Nero

Talking about the history of the Chianti Classico, the question of the story behind its emblem, Gallo Nero (the Black Rooster) came up. Did you know that the legend says that the origin of the Gallo Nero goes back to the rivalry between the town districts Florence and Siena in the Middle Ages? In order to decide on the borders between the two town districts, it was agreed that two knights should start riding from their respective towns at sunrise, after the crow of a rooster. The people of Siena were feeding their rooster well, thinking he would crow louder if sated and happy, while the Florentines starved their black rooster. At the day of the racing, the black rooster of the Florentines was so hungry that he woke up and started crowing while it was still dark, however the Siena rooster countinued to sleep happily. The result was that the Florentine knight woke up early and managed to ride farther than his rival knight from Siena. Thus, most of the area of Chianti was annexed to the Republic of Florence. Even though this is only a legend, the Lega del Chianti was established in the early Middle Ages to defend their district, and indeed they chose the black rooster, the Gallo Nero, as their emblem. Some time after they also started instituting rules and regulations for wine making of the Chianti Classico.


(pic by of the previous Gallo Nere logo)

Two years ago the Consorzio del Chianti Classico did a restyling of their logo, to better reflect the Chianti Classico of today and their new “Gran Selezione”.



(pic from

Wine tasting

During the evening we tasted three different wines from Tuscany that reflected the areas of Tuscany that we were talking about. It was also a way to, in a simplified manner, show how a more professional wine tasting is carried out. One of the wines we tasted during the evening was a Nobile di Montepulciano from Canneto 2011. This is a small wine estate close to Montepulciano which was bought by Swiss wine enthusiasts in the 1970s. The wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It has a beautiful ruby red hue, with aromas of black berries, tobacco, some caramel and cacao as well as a slight hint of floreal notes. At the taste you can feel an elegant note of tannins.


Follow us on our journey through these next three mini lessons in Italian wine history and the technique of wine tasting. Please feel free to come with comments and/or suggestions. Would you furthermore be interested in a short video series of wine history and wine tasting in English? Please feel free to write me a line.


Witten by Katarina Andersson.

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

15 thoughts on “Words at the Wine Bar – a mini course”

  1. What a cool legend about the creation of the border of the two town districts! A clever solution of how to get the rooster to wake up first although I am sure the rooster didn’t appreciate it. I always enjoy your lessons on wine.

  2. I’ll be honest that I’m not much of a wine lover. However in recent months I have discovered Moscato and find that white sweet wines certainly are worth a wine tasting.

  3. Very interesting… I love red wines. Which do think is the best for a sweet berry taste? Ohh – how I would love to be in Italy trying the ‘real’ wines of the country. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. It is always interesting to learn the history behind whatever you are passionate about. Although I am not a drinker, I would love to be in on these lessons of the different Italian wine regions; what makes them distinct and what adds the character and flavour to not only their wines but to their people and their differing regional cultures. What a wonderful experience you are having in Italy. It truly sounds like you are making memories for life, Katarina.


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