Chianti Colli Pisane DOCG or ‘Chianti Hills Pisa’ is a red wine from the province of Pisa in Tuscany. Chianti Colline Pisane is the most westerly of the sub-regions within the wider Chianti DOCG, a detached area of 25 square miles (40 square km) in the hills south-east of Pisa (David Gleave MW: Wines of Italy 1989, p.99), between the Arno and Cecina rivers. Hills in both Pisa and Livorno provinces are gentle, forming the westernmost wing of the Apennines, stretching from the river Arno in the north to the Cornia river in the south. A group of Pisa’s producers have created the alternative Terre di Pisa DOC (‘Land of Pisa’) to disassociate their wines from the Chianti name whilst retaining the association with Pisa itself, and to encompass the more international grapes that are being planted in the area. White wines from the area include San Torpe DOC.
History: Wine-growing here dates to the Etruscans whose most important local centre at Volterra is just south of Pisa (see Costa degli Etruschi). Subsequently, Pisa itself became the major power until the 13th century.
Production zone: The zone lies south of the Arno between San Miniato and Casciana Terme (a spa town) including these communes in Pisa province: Capannoli. | Casciana Terme Lari. | Castellina Marittima. | Chianni. | Crespina Lorenzana. | Fauglia. | Lajatico. | Orciano Pisano. | Palaia. | Peccioli.| Ponsacco (southern part, with Camugliano). | Pontedera (south-western part, including La Rota, Treggiaia, and Montecastello). | Riparbella. | Santa Luce. | Terricciola (the centre of the area in the Middle Ages) and Sovana (a hilltop village with the vestiges of a castle destroyed in the wars between the Florentines and the Pisans in the late Middle Ages (Rosemary George, 2004, p.137).
Terroir: ‘Amongst the various zones of Chianti, after Chianti Classico and Rufina, the Colline Pisane is the one with the most coherent identity. While the others are mostly limited by the boundaries of the respective provinces, such as Arezzo or Siena, the Colline Pisane comprises a group of hills to the south-east of the city of Pisa, south of Pontedera and north of Volterra. They are not to be confused with the Monte Pisano, which is to the north-east of [Pisa itself]. None of these gentle hills rises much above 200 metres [700 metres is the maximum allowed for vines], in sharp contrast to the higher altitudes of Chianti Classico. This is softer, more peaceful countryside, with scattered villages and hamlets. It is very much a backwater, on the way to nowhere…in fact, the vineyards of the Colline Pisane are much closer to those of Montescudaio than Chianti Classico,’ (Rosemary George: 2004, p.137).
Pisa’s ‘hills have a distinct identity given by the warm maritime climate [of which more below]….Visitors familiar with the tourist routes through the countryside of central Tuscany will look in vain here for the medieval castles and the splended aristocratic villas of the Fiorentini and Senesi,’ (Richard Baudains: 1991 Tus Sup).
Climate: ‘The warmest of Chianti’s seven zones,’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p198).
Soil: The soil is mainly comprised of ‘substrati arenacei, calcareo marnosi, da scisti argillosi, da sabbie e ciottolami’, according to the DOC rules. The soil contains iron and other minerals it seems.
Wine route: This covers the large hilly area of the province of Pisa south of the Arno, from the border with the province of Florence to that of the province of Livorno (Leghorn): Begin in San Miniato – Sorrezzana – La Serra – Palaia [can go from Palaia north to La Rotta] – Era Valley via Montefoscoli, Fabbrica di Peccioli and Peccoli. Then crosses the Era Valley to Terricciola [can go from Terricciola to Lajatico] and continues to Lari and Crespina. Here you go either north to Cenaia or west to Fauglia, then south to Lorenzana, Casciana Terme and Chianna.
Chianti Colline Pisane DOCG: Seen as one of the Chianti DOCG region’s lighter, less considerable wines.
Chianti Colline Pisane DOCG Riserva
Certified Biodynamic: Cosimo Maria Masini.
Certified organic: Tenuta Podernovo.
David Gleave, ‘The Wines of Italy‘ (Salamander Books, London, 1989), p.99.