This is quite a youthful and restrained Chianti Classico from Castellare di Castellina and the 2017 vintage. It has aromas of redcurrants, red fruits and firm tannins. This wine will suit another 3-5 years in bottle before approaching it or a long decant. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Website: http://www.castellare.it. Reviewed: January 2020.
This is a good wine at a fair price. Lightly coloured in the glass, the 2017 vintage of Antinori’s Peppoli Chianti Classico has typical sangiovese aromas of sour cherry and licorice. The palate has firm tannins and good length. This wine can be approached now, but will suit a couple of years in the cellar. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $27. Website: https://www.antinori.it/en/. Reviewed: October 2019.
This is a good value Chianti at $19. It has typical sangiovese aromas of sour cherry and earth, and a palate with fresh acidity, firm but not hard tannins, and little evident oak influence. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next few years. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $19. Website: https://www.cecchi.net/en.
Villa Antinori’s Toscano Rosso continues to be a great value wine. The 2015 vintage is quite the blend, featuring sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, syrah and merlot. Yet it retains a sense of place, and is identifiably Italian in style in the glass. The 2015 vintage is deeply coloured in the glass, with aromas of earth, blackcurrant and cedar. The palate is savoury and has good balance and length. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $20+. Website: www.antinori.it.
This is a very serious Bolgheri cabernet blend from Grattamacco in Tuscany. Organically grown, it’s a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 20% cabernet franc, 10% merlot and 10% sangiovese. In the glass, it is a hypothetical cross between a Napa Valley cabernet and a Bordeaux from an outstanding year. In terms of aroma, there’s plenty of new oak and cassis. The palate has saturated flavours of blackcurrant and bay leaf and is supplemented by firm tannins. This wine is an outstanding example of a Tuscan cabernet blend and is but a baby tasted in 2018. It will benefit, I expect, from at least a decade in the cellar. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.0%. Price: $100+.
From the 2012 vintage, this is a very good expression of sangiovese from Tenuta Buon Tempo in Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany. A medium intensity ruby colour in the glass, the wine opens to aromas of chocolate, earth, licorice and dried cranberries. The palate is full bodied, with quite firm but very fine tannins, high acidity and a long, earthy and savoury finish. This wine can be approached now (a good decant is recommended) or cellared and approached over the next decade. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $80.
Antinori’s Villa Antinori (red) is a very reliable wine, although I haven’t tasted it for years – the last vintage I reviewed was the 2006 vintage back in 2010. It was an interesting wine to taste blind. Neither quite fitting the profile of a Chianti Classico (the acidity and tannins were not firm enough) nor Bordeaux (the colour was insufficiently saturated and the tannins were not “cabernet” enough), it nonetheless had some characters of both. It proved to be a Toscana IGT, which in 2014 for Antinori’s Villa Antinori, is a sangiovese dominant blend, supplemented by cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah. The wine opens to restrained and savoury aromas with meaty, animal overtones. More or less medium bodied, there’s a smokey, struck match character from the oak and a general easy going character. Overall, this is a balanced, pleasant wine that finishes well. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $20s.
This is an excellent release of Poggerino’s Chianti Classico, a producer I have returned to again and again over the years. The estate is organic and has only 11 hectares under vine. The 2013 vintage tasted here reminds of why I liked the producer in the first place. And despite my musing the other week that I hadn’t seen much organic Chianti, it turns out I have been drinking it for years and just didn’t know it. Not the worst outcome really. Poggerino’s 2013 Chianti Classico (sangiovese) has aromas of cherry, earth and tar. The palate has towards long length, lovely firm tannins and is in balance. Recommended.
Rating: Good to Very Good
Vendors and website: http://poggerino-chianti-italy.com/winery/
There’s always a slight legal mystery tour with European wine labels. “Chianti Superiore” is another. From what I can tell, and feel free to correct me if you have found better sources, this label means it cannot be from the Chianti Classico subregion, must have a minimum alcohol of 11.5% and the wine must wait, like Chianti Classico, until October following vintage for release (cf. Chianti which must only wait until 1 March). So for practical purposes it’s not Chianti Classico, but expectations may be greater than for a simple Chianti. In the unlikely event that you are still reading, thank you. Maybe I should write a guide for interpreting foreign wine labels.
And what of the wine itself? This particular Chianti Superiore is very typical in its sangiovese expression. Earth, cherry and some texture. Not amazing, but not bad for $25.
Price: $ 25
Vendors and website: http://poggiotondowines.com
Organic Chianti. Not something I’ve seen before, I think, but why not. The aromatics are pleasingly typical of sangiovese in its Chianti guise. Dust, earth and ripe black cherries. The palate is mid weight, textural and savoury. Lovely Chianti for $20.
Vendors and website: http://www.poggiotondowines.com