In October 2021 the Santo Stefano winery celebrated its 60th anniversary, inviting members of the wine press and other wine reviewers to share a special day of hospitality, including a detailed insight of the vineyards history. Also on offer was an interesting tasting flight of their Chianti Classico from 2006 to 2018, followed by a vote on the wines sampled. The celebration culminated with a spectacular luncheon in the old cellars.
It was a glorious occasion with the backdrop of a bright, crisp, sunny autumn day.
The event was hosted by Elena and the Bendinelli family and presided by renowned wine journalist Leonardo Romanelli.
The flight of wines were all Chianti Classico, except for the 2014 Chianti Classico Riserva Drugo DOCG and the 2011 Gran Selezione, which were served from Magnum.
Santo Stefano Chianti Classico 2016
This was by far the “stand out” wine of the flight: still showing its youth, but in time this outstanding wine will flush out further nuances and last for a least another quarter of a century. On this occasion, it showed ruby red in colour with an iridescence of purple undertones, predominance of red fruit, fine integrated tannins with fresh acidity. Big structure but not over muscular, showing finesse and elegance. Long juicy finish leaving the palate clean and fresh.
Points 94+ TW
Santo Stefano Chianti Classico 2006
Another terrific wine similar in style to the 2016, but now with two fundamental differences: firstly, there is a Burgundian style to this wine, so delicate, like an ice crystal; secondly the vines that produced the 2016 enjoy the benefit of another 10 years of age and have the experience that comes with time therefore being more adaptable to the rigours of the growing season.
Points 93 TW
Santo Stefano Chianti Classico Drugo Riserva 2014
The main surprise was the Riserva 2014. Yes a Riserva!…but still made during a difficult year. Yet the winemaker produced an open style Chianti Classico, not built for the long haul, but so enjoyable now. Aromatics of blue florals, red fruits, liquorice. Broad on the mid palate, orange peel showing on the back end. Putting on a great show this day.
Points 93 TW
Santo Stefano Chianti Classico 2018
Very young, not giving away too much but small hints of its potential to evolve…One to watch!
Points 92-94 TW
Santo Stefano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 from Magnum was served during lunch
Bright Ruby in colour, cherry, raspberry. Savoury. Balanced like a tight rope walker. Showing liquorice, roast meat, dry Mediterranean herbs. So formidable and elegant.
An iron fist in a velvet glove.
Points 95 TW.
My thanks to Elena and the Bendinelli family, the master of ceremonies Leonardo Romanelli with Milko Chilleri, winemaker Giampaolo Chiettini and restauranteur Matteo Caccavo.