In Carmignano, wine has an ancient history. Carmignano DOCG is, among the great Tuscan red wines, one of the less known, yet it has a very ancient history of which few appellations in the world can boast: there are many fascinating anecdotes and illustrious personalities who have sung its praises over the centuries. In the panorama of the great Tuscan appellations, Carmignano is a wine that is still partly undiscovered, although in the past it has experienced periods of great notoriety and has been highly appreciated by nobles, men of letters and illustrious personalities.
The history of Carmignano DOCG wine begins with the Etruscans, who already produced wine in these areas. The discovery of wine jars inside some Etruscan tombs and Caesar’s assignment to his veterans, between 50 and 60 B.C., of certain lands between the Arno and Ombrone rivers are evidence of this.
One of the first documents on the wine production of these hills comes in 804: it was the time of the reign of Charlemagne and his son Pippin. From these years is the parchment, written in Latin, in which we read that the church of San Pietro a Seano granted the use of some lands with a formula of division of the harvest that can be considered a kind of “ante litteram” sharecropping.

Carmignano from 1300 to 1600

In the 1300s, famous merchant Francesco Datini placed fifteen sizable orders of Carmignano wine for his famous wine cellar in Prato through the Carmelence notary and friend Ser Lapo Mazzei. Datini willingly paid “a florin seal” for the orders, much more than the going price for the most prestigious wines of the time. Still in the 1300s the chronicler Domenico Bartoloni spoke of the wines of Carmignano and Artimino being excellent. Three centuries later, in his famous epic poem “Bacchus in Tuscany” (1685), it was instead Francesco Redi who praised the product of the Montalbano vines.
When I take in my hand
A cup of brilliant Carmignano
So gratified do I feel inside,
That neither ambrosia nor nectar do I envy from Jupiter.
Take this liquid, pressed from the brown grapes
Of very stony Tuscan vineyards,
Drink, Ariana, and keep away from it
The watery blue tresses of the Naiads:
For it would be great folly,
And ugly sin,
To drink a Carmignano watered-down within”.

The poet implies that French wines such as Claretto of Avignon or even Chianti are very good but the wines of Artimino and Carmignano are on another level.

Carmignano Wine And the Medici

This famous wine, long-aging and perfect for roasts and wild game, had historically made a great name for itself, so much so that in 1716 the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici first issued a decree and then an edict by which he established precise and strict rules for the harvest and delimited the production area. His edict, “Concerning the Declaration of the borders of the four regions of Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Valdarno Superiore” defined the production boundaries of this wine and dictated certain commercial standards, in order to protect it from counterfeiting or bad storage. Moreover, we must not forget the history of Cabernet, which is attributed to Catherine de’ Medici: in fact, it is said that it has been Caterina, queen of France, who brought this grape variety to the Carmignano area in the 16th century because she appreciated so much its fine qualities. As a testament to this history, in the local area Cabernet is still called the “French grape”.

Carmignano Wine in the twentieth CENTURY

In the past century, the great poet and novelist Gabriele D’Annunzio offered memorable praise for Carmignano wines. He probably came to know the wine from these hills during his high school stay in Prato. The fact is that in his work “Le faville del maglio” (The sparks of the mallet) the name Carmignano occurs more than once and the author, through his youthful memories, also speaks to the sensory qualities of the wine.
He wrote:
” My father tapped the barrel that smells of Violet, and this year he is happy with the Carmignano that he first matured in his vineyards in the Colli (hills) to Tuscanize first his lands and then his eldest son.”

After a difficult period, in which Carmignano was incorporated into the Chianti appellation as its own sub-zone, since the 1970s this wine has proudly reclaimed its own identity, with DOC first and DOCG later, since 1990.
It was finally clear that Chianti and Carmignano had to remain two distinct wines: history had made them two blood brothers but each one emerged for its own character and distinct personality.