Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

governo, also known as governo alla toscana, since it is most closely associated with tuscany, is a winemaking technique once widely used in the various chianti production zones, and occasionally in umbria and the marche. The technique consisted of setting aside and drying grapes from the September and October harvest, pressing them in mid to late November, and introducing the resulting unfermented grape juice into young wines which had just completed their alcoholic fermentation, thereby restarting the fermentation. This practice led to a slight increase in the alcoholic strength of the wines, but its principal and most desirable effect was to encourage the malolactic conversion, which was not always easy in the cold cellars of the past, with wines made from a grape as high in acidity as sangiovese. A side-effect was to increase the level of carbon dioxide in the wine, some of which inevitably remained in young Chianti, bottled and marketed in the spring after the harvest. One of the precise purposes of the governo was to make the wines marketable at an earlier date by accelerating the malolactic conversion. Occasionally a second addition (rigoverno) is made in spring, producing a deeply coloured, fragrant wine with low acidity.