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ITALIAN

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Chianti Classico Collection 2021: Tasting Notes (Part 1, A-H)

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Before we go on to the almost 300 wines I have reviewed with Tasting Notes of the Chianti Classico Collection 2021 (Chianti Classico, Gran Selezione, Riserva and IGT), I thought it might be interesting to give you a brief insight into how Chianti Classico evolved from its beginnings to today.

Chianti Classico has experienced many changes over its long history, for example: it started as a white wine!


The story of this wine region is over seven hundred years in the making. In the Middle Ages the original Lega del Chianti (League of Chianti) consisted of Gaiole, Radda and Castellina. Over the centuries other villages joined them, therefore the boundaries were redefined constantly, until in 1716 Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany issued a Bandol (edict) stating the three original villages of the Lega del Chianti as well as the village of Greve were the only official producers of Chianti.


This remained until the Italian government added another five sub zones which all became under DOC regulations in 1966.


In 1984 the Chianti Classico and the enlarged Chianti zone were separated and each given their own DOCG status.


So the Chianti Classico region is made up of the communes of Castellina, Gaiole, Greve, Radda and some parts of Barberino Val d’ Elsa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, along with Tavernelle Val di Pesa in the Province of Florence as well as Castelnuovo Berardenga and finally Poggibonsi in the Province of Siena.


The point of this mini history was to give an understanding of the huge diverse terrain, altitudes, soil composition and microclimate encompassing this large denomination that we now call Chianti Classico.


This is without doubt the single most important fact that you need to understand when comparing one estates wine to another... Diversity.

Let’s also consider the problems that Chianti, as a wine, has endured in its long history. As mentioned earlier, over the centuries Chianti started as a pale, light white wine. In the15th Century the wine from the area was a deep coloured red, for which the term “rough” would be an accurate description.


It was an unstable as a wine, probably due to incomplete fermentation, with residual active yeasts. Unclean fermentation receptacles didn’t help. Half dried grapes were added to the must to assist in the fermentation process but these additional sugars most probably caused second fermentation which in turn left carbon dioxide in the wine making it slightly sparkling.


Yet Chianti has survived through all this and even now in the 21st Century some of the original noble families are still are producing Chianti Classico, most notably:

Baron Francesco Ricasoli at Castello Brolio in Gaiole, Count Sebastian Capponi at Villa Calcinaia in Greve, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi at Rocca di Montegrossi in Gaiole, the Mazzei family at Castello di Fonterutoli in Castellina.


Today Chianti Classico production is strictly governed and the quality of these wines has never been better. Over the past thirty years a resurgence led by sustainability, organic farming, careful study of root stock, soil composition analysis and a far better understanding of “cultivated” wine making has enabled this historical wine producing region to become a new leading force in the global wine markets.

This year I received wines from 2013 to 2019. So the tasting was far more interesting than if I concentrated on a single vintage. That said, the vast majority of the 2018’s showed up very well, not as resounding as 2016 or as varied as 2017. I think the single most important contribution to a better wine in 2018 was grape selection. This was brought to my attention at Castello di AMA when I observed the vineyard floor littered with discarded good fruit. Grape selection is meticulous at Castello di AMA. This is always a tricky dilemma for the winemaker: should he/she leave grapes on the ground to achieve higher quality on the vine or have more bottles at less fruit quality?


The 2019 vintage, of which I have only sampled a few, was a really pleasant surprise. Generally, wines were full of energy, expressive, structured and fresh. One or two were jumping out of the glass!


Acknowledgement:

Due to C19 travel restrictions, my Chianti Classico Collection Review and Tasting notes of the 2021 latest releases could not have been published without the huge support offered by the Consorzio and by all the individual wineries in Chianti Classico who kindly arranged delivery of their wines to my office in Umbria.


The assistance of Silvia Fiorentini, Marketing and Communication Manager of the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico and of the all the individual producers, has been truly invaluable and I hereby offer my gratitude.


Tasting Notes

Altiero CC 2017 Riserva

Pale ruby red in colour. Sweet red cherry, violet florals, baking spice, burnt orange peel. Medium bodied. Bitter citrus on the close. A little disjointed.

Points 88 TW


Altiero CC Gran Selezione 2017

Dark ruby red in colour. Needs plenty of aeration. Red cherry, plum, clove. Medium bodied. Fades on the mid palate. Needs structure and acidity.

Point 87 TW


Altiero CC 2018

Ruby red in colour. A mixture of dry red and black fruit. Tense and inward. Lacks energy and structure. Very dry tannins.

Points 86 TW


Badia a Coltibuono Montebello IGT 2015

Ruby red in colour. Black fruits lead the way on this multi grape IGT. Different nuances come and go bringing dark chocolate, tree bark and vanilla. A second wave of red cherries, red berries white pepper and a puff of white smoke. In spite of itself it is harmonious, balanced, elegant and throughly pleasing.

Points 95 TW

Badia a Coltibuono Cultus Boni CC Riserva 2016

Intense ruby red in colour. Warm cherry, burnt orange peel, spring flower petal and liquorice fuse with ultra fine tannins and soft acidity. Structured. Great balance. Interesting mix.

Points 94 TW


Badia a Coltibuono CC Riserva 2016

Intense ruby red in colour with amber hue. Black fruit interplay with balsamic notes, pipe tobacco, Eastern spice. So precise with fresh soft tannins. Integrated. Stunning energy. Stand out wine.

Points 95 TW


Belvedere Campoli CC 2017

Ruby red in colour. Fresh aromas of ripe red fruit, burnt orange peel, eucalyptus, herbs. Expands on mid palate. Good balance. Mid weight. Tightens on the close.

Points 91 TW

Belvedere Campoli Il Tabernacolo CC Gran Selezione 2015

Bright ruby red in colour. Dazzling display of rich ripe fruits, spice, saddle leather. Silky tannins encircle the fruits. Balanced with exceptional delineation.

Points 93 TW


Belvedere Campoli CC Riserva 2016

Bright ruby red in colour. Intense display of ripe black fruit, florals and spice. Layered. Juicy. Floats on the palate.

Points 93 TW


Bibbiano CC 2019

Bright ruby red in colour. Cherry, Kirsch, vanilla. Supple. Good progression with youthful tannins and fresh acidity. Needs aeration. Little into its shell.

Points 91+ TW


Bibbiano CC Riserva 2018

Deep ruby red in colour. Warm red cherry, aromas of spring flowers followed by red berries dusted with sweet spice. Has a breadth of flavour. Layered with good balance and bright intensity.

Points 93 TW


Bibbiano Vigna del Capannino CC Gran Selezione 2018

Ruby red with purple lights. Black fruits interplay with liquorice, mocha, and Eastern spice. Bold and inviting. Coming off mid palate second nuances of blue florals and balsamic notes.

Great symmetry.

Points 95 TW


Bibbiano Vigne di Montornello CC Gran Selezione 2018

Ruby red with garnet undertones. Mixture of red and black fruits, dry forest floor , herbs, leather. Complex structure. Not a shy personality. Considerable appeal.

Points 96 TW


Borgo Scopeto CC Gran Selezione 2016

Ruby red in colour with garnet undertones. Dark cherry and plum fall upon dark chocolate dust in a decadent aroma. The rich opulence of the wine is enhanced by a second wave of warm black berries, orange peel and mocha on the mid palate. Terrific persistence. Slight seashell minerality hovers on the close. Amazing!

Points 96 TW

Borgo Scopeto Vigna Misciano CC Riserva 2017

Garnet red in colour. Red cherry, plum, sweet tobacco, liquorice, dry leather. Soft tannins and fresh acidity. Hits the right notes.

Points 92 TW


Borgo Scopeto CC 2018

Ruby red in colour. Wonderful aroma of cut flowers interpay with black soft berries. Cedar, roasted coffee beans. Firm structure but has poise and elegance.

Points 93 TW


Borratella CC 2017

Ruby red in colour. Soft red cherry, raspberry and mint. Lacks structure and acidity. Asymmetrical.

Points 86 TW


Borratella CC Riserva 2017

Ruby red in colour. Mix of red and black berries, dry Mediterranean herbs, orange peel, liquorice. Acidity comes from sour cherry notes on the back end, this does help with delineation.

Points 88 TW


Brancaia CC 2019

Pale ruby red in colour. Blackberry, dried cherry, liquorice, cigar box, rosemary. Soft juicy mouth feel. Has tremendous elegance for such a young wine. Zesty acidity mixes with mature minerality on a long close.

Points 94 TW


Brancaia CC Riserva 2016

Bright ruby red in colour. Red cherry, red berries, spice, dry leather, chocolate, slate. Inward looking and intense. Showing ripe fruits, balanced structure and concentrated flavour.

Terroir led wine and typical of Radda.

Points 95 TW


Carpineto CC 2019

Ruby red in colour. Scented mixture of red and black fruits, orange peel, wet earth, mint. Youthful tannins and fresh acidity. Tension and tightness on mid palate. Citrusy on the close.

Points 90 TW


Carpineto CC Gran Selezione 2016

Intense ruby red in colour. Concentrated core of black fruits, sweet spice, liquorice, bitter chocolate and mocha surrounded by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. Body-builder power.

Points 92 TW

Carpineto CC Riserva 2016

Ruby red in colour. Dried sweet black cherry, blueberries, espresso aromas, baked plum, tea tree. Forceful but not overdone. Has drive and power.

Points 93 TW

Casa al Vento Aria CC 2017

Ruby red in colour. Red fruits, violet, crushed sea pebble minerality. Mid weight. Fresh fine tannins. Cedar notes. Good balance. Intense.

Points 92 TW


Casa al Vento Foho CC Riserva 2016

Heady aromas of cherry and blackberries. Vanilla, violet and cedar notes. Plenty of verve. Coates the palate. Has tension and energy.

Points 93 TW

Casa al Vento V’Incanto CC Gran Selezione 2016

Bright ruby red in colour. Spectacular aromas of violet florals. Baked plum, red berries, eucalyptus, cedar, burnt orange peel. Remarkable finesse. Joyful concentration

Points 94 TW


Casa al Vento T’Amo IGT 2018

Pale ruby red in colour. Sweet dry cherry, menthol, violet, orange peel, ginger notes. Balanced and in harmony. Velvet texture. Framework of ripe tannins, acidity and minerality hold the juicy core fruit in place.

Points 92 TW


Casa Sola CC 2017

Deep ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, blackberry, liquorice and menthol form an intense, scented aroma. Chewy tannins and zesty acidity. Mid weight. Needs aeration to open.

Points 91 TW

Casa Sola CC Riserva 2016

Ruby red in colour. Red fruits, plum. Close knit tannins. Pleasant progression. Good energy.

Points 92 TW

Casa Sola CC Gran Selezione 2016

Deep garnet in colour with ruby highlights. Red cherry, pipe tobacco, cedar, dry earth. Notes of Eastern spice. Fresh fine tannins. Vivid acidity. Great balance. Good showing.

Points 93 TW


Casaloste CC 2018

Ruby red in colour. Cherry and blackberry, dried leather, eucalyptus, earthy notes, evolve into an agile wine with soft curves.

Points 91 TW


Casaloste Inversus IGT 2016

Intense ruby red in colour. Spectacular aroma of sweet cherry, orange peel, Eastern spice bitter chocolate and dried Mediterranean herbs introduce this wine. Second wave of minty fresh acidity and crushed stone minerality assist across the mid palate giving an intense display to the finish.

Points 94 TW


Casaloste Don VincEnzo IGT 2015

Intense ruby red in colour. Fresh ripe red cherry, wild strawberry, plum, roast meat, saddle leather, eucalyptus and sweet tobacco all come together to deliver a rich balanced wine. Fruit led. Finely sculpted. Ample and generous.

Points 95 TW

Casaloste CC Riserva 2017

Deep ruby red in colour. Red cherry, crushed raspberries. Distinctive eucalyptus and mint aromas. Second wave of nuances of chocolate and cedar. Framed beautifully in a balanced tannin and mineral structure.

Points 93 TW


Casaloste CC Gran Selezione 2016

Deep ruby red in colour. Dark cherry, blackberry, baked plum, chocolate and sweet tobacco.

The 15% volume of alcohol goes unnoticed. Super attractive wine. Palate is so polished. Well crafted.

Points 96 TW


Castelli del Grevepesa Rosso di Toscano 2016

Deep ruby red in colour. Ripe cherry, crushed strawberry. Faint nuances of vanilla and tobacco. Rounded. Approachable. Medium bodied.

Points 89 TW


Castelli del Grevepesa CC Riserva 2017

Intense ruby red in colour. Ripe cherry, red berry, cedar, chocolate, vanilla, pepper. Forward tannins. Back end showing an oak nuance. Savoury.

Points 91 TW


Castelli del Grevepesa Castelgreve CC 2018

Ruby red in colour. Fresh red cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, menthol, baking spice and almond. Good balance. Youthful tannins and acidity - but fresh, clean mouthfeel.

Points 93 TW


Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII CC Riserva 2017

Intense ruby red in colour. Sweet red cherry, plum, soft raspberry, vanilla, cedar, faint oak note. Distinctive. Envelopes the palate. Very serious.

Points 93 TW


Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII CC Gran Selezione 2015

Bright ruby red in colour. Red cherry, crushed raspberry, liquorice. Oak notes, essence of vanilla. Dry leather and a little smoke on the back end. Savoury. Full of character. Complex. Great weight, length and balance.

Points 94 TW


Castellinuzza CC 2017

Pale ruby red in colour. Delicate aromas of dry cherry, liquorice, orange peel, plum, menthol.

Soft inviting mouthfeel, shows incredible finesse. Rich texture. Burgundian style. Clove spice notes on the close. Beguiling.

Points 93 TW


Castellinuzza CC Riserva 2016

Bright ruby red in colour. Rich red cherry, vanilla, liquorice, blood orange all combine to explode on the mid palate. Balanced. Mineral notes. Juicy texture.

Points 92 TW


Castellinuzza CC Gran Selezione 2015

Ruby red in colour. Ripe red fruits, orange peel, eucalyptus, underbush, white mushroom powder. Ultra fine tannins. Savoury oak notes. Long and focused.

Points 93 TW


Castello di Albola Marangole CC 2017

Garnet in colour with purple translucency. Sweet red cherry, burnt orange peel, crushed blackberry. Dense flavour but Burgundian texture. Quirky.

Points 92 TW

Castello di Albola Santa Caterina CC 2017

Pale ruby red in colour. Red cherry, violet florals, liquorice, menthol. Plump and juicy entry coats the mid palate with a rich textural feel. Tangy acidity and fine grained tannins. Long broad finish.

Points 94 TW


Castello di Albola CC Riserva 2017

Ruby red in colour. Bright red cherry, baked plum, cedar, Mediterranean herbs. Medium bodied. Dark chocolate note. Freshness gives this wine great appeal.

Points 92 TW


Castello di Albola CC 2018

Bright ruby red in colour. Red cherry, mint, blood orange, herb notes, star anise. Layered minerality. Medium bodied with a juicy texture. Soft tannins and balanced acidity.

Points 92 TW


Castello di Albola Il Solatio CC Gran Selezione 2017

Ruby red in colour. A balanced mixture of fresh ripe cherry, crushed strawberry and blackberry. Notes of cedar, sweet tobacco and vanilla. Dusty tannins. Fresh acidity. A rich, seamless, opulent, structured wine typical of Radda.

Points 96 TW

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