Some Chianti bottles feature a logo with a black rooster. This mark has been used in the region for approximately 600 years, although winemakers have been using it for a shorter period. Its roots spring back to the rivalry between two beautiful cities of Tuscany - Florence and Sienna. Both cities have asserted rights to the territory lying between them. Following numerous quarrels it was decided that the dispute would be settled in a bloodless manner. It was decided that on an agreed day, knights on horses would set off from the cities and the point where they met would define the border of influence. The sign for the start of their journey was to be the crowning of a rooster. After the right horses and best knights were selected all that was left was to choose the rooster. The inhabitants of Sienna picked a white, fat rooster that would be strong enough to crown. The people of Florence picked the thinnest black rooster that was locked up in a dark cage. It paid off. The black thin rooster let out of its cage started crowning out of joy, although it was only midnight. The knight set off during the night and travelled almost the entire distance stopping only a dozen kilometres or so from Sienna. I am not sure know how much of a legend is in this story and how much truth, however it is true that three Tuscan states of Castellina, Rada and Gaiole when formed the League of Chianti took the black rooster as its emblem. As wine was produced in this region, the rooster became a natural element used by winemakers. The territory of the League of Chianti largely coincides with the Chianti Classico appellation, though it must be noted that this only gives us a geographical pointer. There is a large number (maybe even the majority) of very fine Chianti that do not feature a rooster, though they can not boast of such a beautiful legend.

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