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TONY

WOOD

ITALIAN

WINE

Chianti Classico Collection 2019

Updated: Feb 24, 2019

Prior to reviewing this year’s tastings, I thought it may be useful to mention some basic facts relating to Chianti Classico denomination.

Firstly a brief outline defining the nine areas that form the Chianti Classico territory laying between the provinces of Florence and Siena:


CASTELNOUVO BERARDENGA

Is the third largest of the Chianti Classico regions and the furthest south.

The area is divided by a V section from Gaiole in Chianti which splits the area in two, the eastern side being higher and cooler where the famous and revered estate of Castell'in Villa is to be found.

The lower side is in the west, the warmest part being the extreme south west.

Noteworthy estates are Dievole and Fèlsina.


GAIOLE IN CHIANTI

As previously mentioned Gaiole almost divides Castelnuovo Berandenga in two. The soil composition of Gaiole is predominantly of tufa which tends to warm quicker and retain heat (tufa is made from volcanic ash ejected from a vent during a volcanic eruption).

The land around small village of Monti typifies this terroir where high quality wines are produced, deeply coloured, rich and fruity. Finest example being Rocca di Montegrossi, other noteworthy estates are San Giusto e Rentenanno, Badia a Coltibuono and the famous Castello di Brolio. On the western side the ground rises up to Radda in Chianti where the soil changes to limestone.


RADDA IN CHIANTI

The area around the village of Radda is the highest point in Chianti, sandstone and marl are the challenging soils for vines here. The most successful estates are: Castello di Volpaia and Monteraponi, wines here are dark, intense, dense and fruit laden.

Other estates worthy of mention are Castello di Albola at 650 metres above sea level, with extreme variance from hot days to cool nights, and Istine estate.


GREVE IN CHIANTI

This area comprise one fifth of all the vineyards in the region and produces a wide variety of Chianti Classico styles. Famed for its individuality is the village of Lamole, which produces a Burgundian version of Chianti Classico; pale and vigorous with formidable bouquet. Estates of note here are: Fattoria di Lamole and Lamole di Lamole.

Then we have the famous area surrounding the town of Panzano, renowned as 80% of its vineyards are organic; that is 95% of all producers compared to the entire region of only 35%.

A special estate worthy of singular attention is Vecchie Terre di Montefili.

Due south we find the beautiful Conca d’Oro (the Golden Shell) shaped like an amphitheatre, estates of note here are Fontodi and Vignamaggio.

Another winery worthy of mention is Villa Calcinaia found south west of Greve, having a long history of producing incredible deep, structured wines of great character.


SAN CASCIANO IN VAL DI PESA

Situated in the north west of the region and noted for its dense forests and vineyards situated at different altitudes and aspects where high and low plantings from the same estates are the norm.

The vineyards to the west of the area are influenced by the Mediterranean. Estate of note is Principe Corsini - Villa Le Conti: their Cortevecchia Riserva is a wine worthy of individual attention.


TAVARNELLE VAL DI PESA

Found in the central west of the region, this area has soils of clay and rock composition.

The wines here are generally full bodied, deep and vigorous.

Estate of importance: Badia a Passignano of Antinori ownership.


BARBERINO VAL D’ELSA

This is the smallest area of the region, situated in the west, it covers only 25 square miles. It has 3,500 inhabitants and over 20% of the population is involved in agriculture and primarily in the cultivation of grapes.

Here you will find two of the most respected and highly regarded wine estates in the entire region namely: Castello di Monsanto and Isole e Olena.


CASTELLINA IN CHIANTI

Sited in the south west this is the largest of all DOCG domains. A plethora of different wines and styles are produced here.

History is represented by the Mazzei family, who have been making Chianti since 1398. Today their Castello di Fonterutoli produces outstanding wines.

Other estates of note are: Tenuta di Lilliano, Nittardi and San Fabiano Calcinaia.


POGGIBONSI

Easily overlooked as the final area of the region. Its contribution to the region’s output is approximately one - two - hundredth!

The foremost estate here is Cinciano.



To give further insight of this exceptional wine region here are a few bullet points of reference:

  • Chianti Classico was defined by a Bandol in 1716

  • The total area of the Chianti Classico territory is 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres)

  • Vineyards registered as Chianti Classico cover 7.200 hectares (18,000 acres) Average annual bottle output is 35/38 million

  • Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico has 523 members (315 of which are bottlers)

Chianti Classico is produced in 3 distinctions:

  • Chianti Classico Annata - alcohol content 12% vol minimum, 12 months minimum ageing

  • Chianti Classico Riserva - alcohol content 12.5% vol minimum, 24 months minimum ageing, 3 months minimum bottle ageing.

  • Chianti Classico Gran Selezione - alcohol content 13% vol minimum, 30 months minimum ageing, 3 months minimum bottle ageing. This wine is produced from a single vineyard or from a selection of each estates’ best grapes.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico for their kind invitation to Firenze to enable me to taste this year’s wines.



TASTING NOTES



Chianti Classico DOCG 2017


Badia a Coltibuono (barrel sample)

Light ruby red in colour. Medium bodied. Red cherry, plum, floral bouquet. Oak notes. Savoury.

Points 90-92TW


Casa Emma

Bright ruby red in colour. Medium bodied. Red cherry. Herbs. Graphite. Fresh forward tannins. Needs time.

Points 89 TW


Castellare di Castellina - Castellare

Bright ruby red in colour. Sweet red cherry. Tobacco.Forward tannins. Good acidity.

Points 89 TW


Castello di Ama - Ama

Ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, plum. Inviting bouquet of herbs and white flowers. Sweet tobacco. Well crafted. Balanced and integrated.

Points 92-94TW


Castello di Monsanto (barrel sample)

Bright ruby red in colour. Red cherry with ripe plum. Powdered charcoal. Medium bodied. Will develop with bottle time.

Points 92+ TW


Castello di Volpaia - Volpaia

Medium ruby red in colour with purple tones. Cherry and blackberry. Spice. Menthol. Rich mouthfeel. Integrated and complete. Youthful intensity. Impressive. Needs two to three years.

Points 93+ TW


Castello Vicchiomaggio - Guado Alto

Bordering on dark ruby red. Sweet fruit bouquet. Dark cherry. Fresh tannins. Good acidity.

If you like Chianti young and full bodied, this is for you!

Points 90 TW


Cinciano

Translucent ruby red in colour. Grilled mediterranean herbs. Unexpectedly approachable.

Points 89 TW


Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano (barrel sample)

Bright ruby red in colour. Dark cherry. Mocha. Herbs. Linear. Needs time.

Points 89-91 TW


Felsìna

Dark red. Cherry and plum. Medium bodied. Soft contours. Approachable.

Points 90-92 TW


Isole e Olena (barrel sample)

Ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, pomegranate, lavender, ash. Polished.

There is a reason why Paolo di Marchi is held in such high esteem…

Points 93-95 TW


Monteraponi (barrel sample)

Deep ruby red. Dark cherry, lavender. Medium bodied. Aromatic. Savoury. Mineral undertones. Given sufficient bottle age this wine has wonderful potential.

Points 92-94 TW


Rocca di Montegrossi

Brilliant ruby red. Black cherry, leather. Savoury, charcoal notes. Fresh ripe tannins, great acidity. Will integrate to add complexity and balance with bottle age.

Points 92-94 TW


Chianti Classico DOCG 2016


Isole e Olena

Ruby red in colour. Mid weight. Sweet red cherry. Incredible floral bouquet. Liquorice, wet leather. Juicy. Silky tannins. Elegance with purity. Wow!

Points 95 TW


Istine

Ruby red in colour. Mid weight. Wild cherry, herbal. Broad mid palate. Balanced. Persistent. Clever work present here!

Points 93+ TW


Querciabella

Dark ruby red. Red cherry, plum, violet, slate. Slight drying tannins. Compact and rounded.

Points 92 TW


Tenuta di Lilliano - Lilliano

Deep ruby red in colour. Sweet dark cherry. Grilled herbs. Bitter chocolate. Medium to full bodied. A powerhouse!

Points 93 TW


Vecchie Terre di Montifili

Medium ruby red in colour with shards of purple. Fresh ripe dark cherry, burn orange peel, sage, slight citrus undertones. Layered. Balanced to perfection. Delicate. Captivating. Do not miss this!

Points 96 TW


Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 2016


Castello di Volpaia

Ruby red in colour. Red cherry, plum. Delicate floral bouquet. Graphite. Savoury. Fresh ripe tannins. Understated.

Points 92 TW


Félsina Rancia

Ruby red in colour with slight amber tinge. Dark red cherry, blackberry. Textural depth.

Luscious. Comparing the 2015 with this vintage will be interesting!

Point 95 TW


Istine Le Vigne (barrel sample)

Ruby red in colour. Ripe red cherry, herbs, ash, spice.Vivid with natural breadth. So impressive!

Points 94-96 TW


Le Miccine

Medium ruby red in colour. Red cherry, orange peel. Almost Burgundian in style. Balanced. Delicate. Great Finesse. Unusual and very pleasing.

Points 94 TW


Monteraponi - Il Campitello (barrel sample)

Bright ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, red berry, orange peel, herbs, clove notes. Layered. Complex. Vibrant. A winner!

Points 95 TW


Poggerino - Bugialla

Dark ruby red in colour. Fresh dark cherry, blueberry. Juicy. Broadens mid palate. Rounded and vibrant. Elegant. Outstanding!

Points 95 TW


Principe Corsini - Villa Le CortI - Cortevecchia

Deep ruby red in colour. Sweet dark cherry, soft plum, pipe tobacco, herbs. Silky tannins. Balanced. Inviting.

Points 94 TW


Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 2015


Capannelle

Bright ruby red in colour. Red cherry, pomegranate, herbs. Silky tannins. Soft contours. Elegant. Approachable.

Points 93 TW


Castello di Albola

Ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, liquorice. Floral Bouquet. Kirsch. Balanced.

Points 92 TW


Castello di Bossi - Berardo

Dark ruby red in colour. Red cherry, sweet plum, tobacco, cedar, spice.Polished. Needs bottle time.

Points 93 TW


Castello di Monsanto

Dark ruby red in colour. Dark red cherry, blackberry, dried herbs. Intense. This is one for the cellar!

Points 93+ TW


Castello di Radda

Ruby red in colour. Sour cherry, mocha, ash. Linear. Strong forward tannins.

Point 89 TW


Querciabella

Ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, pomegranate, liquorice, graphite. Precise. Long finish.

Needs bottle time.

Points 93 TW


Tenuta di Lilliano - Lilliano

Dark ruby red in colour. Black cherry, blackberry, liquorice, leather. Chewy. Natural breadth. Intense.

Points 93+ TW


Vecchie Terre di Montefili

Deep ruby red in colour. Full bodied. Dark cherry. Liquorice. Precise and powerful. Long finish. Since my last tasting in the Summer, this wine has relaxed in bottle and is revealing more of its complexity.

Points 94+ TW


Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 2013


Castell’in Villa

Ruby red in colour. Sweet cherry,plum, liquorice, leather, grilled Mediterranean herbs. Showing well. Unusually approachable for this estate.

Points 94 TW


Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2016


Castello di Ama - San Lorenzo

Deep ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, dark plum, dry thyme, liquorice, ripe green olive. Balanced. Juicy. Great pedigree. A joy!

Points 95 TW


Castello di Ama - Vigneto Bellavista

Dark ruby red in colour with purple undertones. Delicate floral bouquet. Fresh dark sweet cherry, pomegranate, sweet tobacco, grilled Mediterranean herbs. Captivates from the beginning then takes you on a journey of sheer joy! Incredibly balanced, each element in total cohesion. Gently seduces the mid palate, then introduces a finish that lasts for minutes.

Points 99 TW


Castello di Fonterutoli

Dark ruby red in colour. Red cherry, blackberry, burnt liquorice, grilled herbs. Linear. Fresh tannins. Needs time.

Points 93 TW


Conti Capponi /Villa Calcinaia - Vigna Bastignano

Ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, pomegranate, liquorice, slate. Fresh tannins needing time to integrate.

Points 92 TW


Conti Capponi /Villa Calcinaia - Vigna La Fornace

Dark ruby red. Black cherry, liquorice, wet leather, tobacco. Spice notes on the back end. A brooding giant of a wine with great overall balance.

Points 93 TW


Conti Capponi/Villa Calcinaia - Vigna Contessa Luisa

Brilliant ruby red. Dar sweet cherry, pomegranate, lavender, bitter orange peel. Intense precision. This is great!

Points 94 TW


Rocca delle Macìe - Riserva di Fizzano

Ruby red in colour. Dark red cherry, blueberry, liquorice, leather. Vertical. Powerful yet soft contour.

Points 94 TW


Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2015


Casaloste

Depp ruby red in colour. Sweet red cherry and plum. Liquorice, herbs. Medium to full body. Intense. Wonderful example of Chianti Classico. So deep and broad, just goes on and on. A beauty. Do not miss this!

Points 95 TW


Castello di Albola - Il Solatio

Bright ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, pipe tobacco, graphite. Unusual style for a wine from Radda. Appealing, unexpected.

Points 95 TW


Castello di Verrazzano - Sassello

Ruby red in colour. Dear cherry, blackberry, liquorice, graphite, leather Fresh tannins. Structured.

Points 92 TW


Castello Vicchiomaggio - La Prima

Ruby red in colour. Ripe plum, jammy, graphite. Not showing well.

Points 87 TW


Cinciano

Ruby red in colour with amber hue. Red cherry, liquorice, smoked herbs. Irregular balance. Not showing well.

Points 88 TW


Lamole di Lamole - Vigneto di Campolungo

Deep ruby red. Red cherry, ripe plum, liquorice. Bouquet typical of its terroir - white flowers. Bright.

Points 91 TW


Fontodi - Vigna del Sorbo

Pale ruby red. Red cherry, blueberry, aromatic, slate. Silky tannins and fresh ripe acidity. Seamless. A joy that will require patience!

Points 96 TW


Felsìna - Colonia

Dark ruby red in colour. Black cherry, blackberry, liquorice, sweet tobacco. Rich multilayered floral notes. Captivating. Everything in its place now but will last for many decades to come. Do not miss this wine!

Points 97 TW


Rocca delle Macìe - Sergio Zingarelli

Deep ruby red. Black cherry, Kirsch, liquorice, slate. Integrated. Well rounded. Fades slightly at the back end.

Points 92 TW


Tenuta di Lilliano

Deep ruby red in colour. Sweet dark cherry, lavender notes, herbs, orange peel. Integrated. Silky tannins. Layered. This estate is rocking!

Point 94 TW


Vallepicciola

Dark ruby red in colour. Fresh red cherry, ripe plums, liquorice, slate, mint. Such purity. Vivid, captivating. What a wine! Do not miss this.

Points 96 TW


Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013


Casaloste - Don Vincenzo

Dark ruby red in colour. Dark red fruit, herbs, slate, savoury. Dense and expansive.

Points 92 TW


Ormanni - Dugentanni Etichetta Storica

Ruby red in colour. Red cherry, bitter orange peel, liquorice. Rich, structured, polished. Ready to enjoy!

Points 93 TW


Summary


The 2017 vintage shows great promise, similar in style to 2016 but with Mother Nature being difficult: frost in April, humid late Spring-Summer, then very hot end of July-August, rain in September helped.


The 2016 vintage has sublime quality across the region. A vintage not to be ignored showing Chianti Classico in its purest form.


The 2015 vintage had Mother Nature doing all the right things at the right time but perhaps this “ perfect year” did not challenge the hardy Sangiovese vines enough. The wines produced from vintage were out of step with the essence of Chianti Classico in my opinion, with one one or two notable exceptions.


Politely skipping over 2014, to the 2013 vintage which generally shows good wines and some great wines, approachable now and built to last.


The Chianti Classico region is now producing great quality wines. It is by far the most improved wine region in Italy. Its market is heavily concentrated in the USA and Canada, in fact 77% of all production is designated for export…that still leaves 23% for us to enjoy in Italy!





© 2019 Tony Wood Italian Wine


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