Always tasting Italian wines, doin’ allright


Back in the summer of 1987 I attended the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia. This was considered “the benchmark year for Umbria Jazz in terms of the Festival’s appeal, its quality, its ability to combine popularity with exclusivity, with mass concerts in the football stadium and the fantastic evenings inside St. Francis’ church.” The memories of that July 16th to 18th weekend are strong, persistently vivid and what happened there was clearly transformational in my life. Sting had played the weekend previous and though my crew could not stay long enough to see Miles Davis on Sunday the 18th still there were grand moments indelibly stamped upon our lives. Walking the Piazza IV Novembre up to Nicola and Giovanni Pisano’s Fontana Maggiore, drinking in the fés, Sly and Robbie sitting at the next table. But the highlight happened at the Stadio Renato Curi where Dexter Gordon blew his horn and our minds. The saxophonist was fresh off of a revivalist’s record and hit movie. He was Doin’ Allright, as were we.


Jazz and wine. Two inextribly linked subjects and emotions in the summer of 1987. Now 35 years later I’m listening to Gordon’s seminal record and tasting wine. Time spent Far Niente. Tasting Italian wines from a wide ranging group of producers while paraphrasing from thoughts about the music of the OG big man, with no disrespect intended to Clarence Clemons. Dexter’s life and this group of wines are representative of that kind of size. Their rhythm section plays for the grape, seeming to sense what it wants, following the varietal lead and never falling out of balance. Full toned manner of wines, loping in medium tempo, solos unhurried, logil, warming and full of Italian melodies.

Umbria, July 1987

There are white wines that play beautifully and pensively while others pick up the mood by spinning out solos, staying texturally relaxed and thoughtful, ending with some perfumed chords. There are short bits and interludes but ultimately the way these wines handle their ballads is an indition of their length and depth. They know what it’s all about. The reds are at times wines of tchy and contrasting themes but they truly know how to build a solo. In today’s warming climate they climb up in temperature, chorus after chorus, until finally they satisfy at their apex. There are moments when the reds seem to be skipping and marching, alternating between funky riffs, leaping rhythmic figures and brightly lit burning flames of fruit and acidities. They build more slowly to climax while expanding in tones and for longer periods of time. There are chordal explorations in reds, blacks and of course blues. What connects them all is underlying substance in waves and weaves throughout each ensemble. Tasted consecutively or together theses wines all prove to be mutually signifint. Thank you to Ira Gitler for the inspirational notes, to Stefania Tacconi and the prodcuers for sharing their wines.

Inama Vin Soave Classico DOC 2020, Veneto

Anything but entry-level from the grape garganega once known as Graenicum grown in the basaltic lava, volnic tuffs and orizzonti rossi. About as correct and defining as it gets for Soave, yellow and green floral, fruit rell more of the same and then the volnic rock alterations that give the mineral-salty feel. While there might be a wish for a little bit more complexity and grape spirit there is some gelid to viscous texture in this 2020. In any se Inama’s is well made, edutional and right on the varietal money. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Abrigo Giovanni Favorita DOC 2020, Piedmont

As for white wines from Italy’s northern climes there are those that speak to many and then there is the “favorita” of others, the varietal Piedmontese white for the dreamers and the romantics. This from Abrigo out of Diano d’Alba avoids the bitters, pith and boozy thiol moments to instead pture all the white flowers and more. The scents are fruity over metallic and clean instead of waxy. There is precision and most importantly a toothsome grace over the palate that brings you back for more and more. A picnic in the hills, a chilled glass after the day’s movement and the scent of dusk. That is favorita when it’s right. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Terra Costantino Etna Bianco DOC Deaetna 2019, Sicily

Terra Costantino’s is from Contrada Blandano in the Comune Viagrande, on soils sabbie di matrice vulni, a blend of rrinte and tarratto, three to one, at 500m, part bush vine and part spurred cordon. Were the flinty smoulder the only beautiful thing going for this Etna Bianco it might almost be enough but the gelid and sweetly ripened fruit takes every moment to a higher ste and level. The thought of these wines being honeyed is not all that common and yet he we are, aromatilly speaking, lemon meringue and curd, angel food ke, with the barrel impart knowable in vanilla and light ramel terms. A metallic feel as well, pure platinum gold, texture and some age already put behind. Not so typil but curious and highly enjoyable nonetheless. A drink now chardonnay or chenin blanc alternative that will begin to oxidize in a couple of years time. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted May 2022

Poggio Argentiera Morellino Di Snsano DOCG Bellamarsilia 2020, Tusny

High-toned in 2020 with a marked level of volatile acidity and good if not maximum ripeness from sangiovese grown either in a (relatively) cooler year near the (Maremma) Tusn coast. It would seem the winemaker is also looking for restraint and maintaining positive acidity beuse at this low level (13.5 per cent) of alcohol the resinous and stemmy nature of sangiovese is duly noted, if also accentuated. Texture is a bit chalky, almost grainy and the tannins throw a touch of green. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted May 2022

Usiglian Del Vescovo Il Barbiglione 2015, Terre Di Pisa DOC, Tusny

From estate grapes in the Pisa DOC and from a winery also producing wines both coastal and in Chianti appellations. Centred around syrah with small percentages of bernet grown in greyish, dry, shallow, sandy soil with some clay, lime and fossils. A bright, currants and other red fruit syrah with notable tang and wood resins. A touch pectin sappy while satisfying and complete. Held back to tame its wild side and drink upon purchase. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted June 2022

La Regola 2018, Tosna Rosso IGT

A place of Etrusn origin just five kms from the Tyrrhenian Sea at Riparbella in the Cecina Valley. The vineyard lays within the Montescudaio DOC at 150-200m with soils described as Mediterranean with an abundance of stones. La Regola’s (the rule) is varietal bernet franc, abundant, heady and as compared to the blended reds, so unfettered and uncluttered. The varietal purity is expressly coastal, of saltiness, algae, seaweed, tar and fruit so much more than a plenty. This is truly a stylistic and a place that makes wines just like this here screaming with clarity and truth. There seems to be little doubt that bernet franc fits, unlike sangiovese, syrah or bernet sauvignon. Franc is the signature red and 2018 announces its success. The structure, unimpeded drive and length confirm the pronouncement. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted June 2022

Bosrelli Vino Nobile De Montepulciano DOCG 2019, Tusny

Bosrelli is a name to conjure with, a producer from Montepulciano as direct and exciting as a communitor of sangiovese emotion as any, consistently declarative in attack. se in point this 2019 though with the added advantage of a most generous and unselfish vintage. Fruit comes from estate vineyards in the parish or pieve?of Cervognano, one of 12 newly minted UGAs, a.k.a. unità geografiche aggiuntive. These additional mentions for the overall appellation give us the consumer a more pinpointed sense of place and in Bosrelli’s world the vines were planted in the late 1990s. Depth burrows in an endless seeking of mineral wealth while highlights rise unencumbered, defying gravity and setting this lol sangiovese free. When sangiovese does both it’s a bit of a revelation and in Montepulciano the truth is not always easy to come by. The wines n make you work for your pleasure and this 2019 gifts it freely. Drink now and for the next 10 years. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted May 2022

Il Bole Montefalco Rosso DOC 2018, Umbria

The Umbrian work of i famiglia Valentini based around sangiovese accented by the lol sagrantino, then merlot and colorino. Unequivolly balanced if not quite the increasingly generous vintage that will follow in 2019. The succulence and juiciness of the Montefalco Rosso appellation is ptured with precise and succinct advantage and done so without any due stress or adversity. The fruit spreads with ripples into fine acidity and supple tannins like a large rock dropped into a pool of water. The rock disappears but the fluidity and gentle set of wakes linger on, ever so slowly decreasing their size and intensity. Bole’s ’18 is an effortless Rosso, aromatic, flavourful and elastic. This is just what a top producer knows how to do. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted June 2022

Il Bole Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2016, Umbria

From the Valentini family dating back to 2002 and a varietal sagrantino of the highest selection. “Bole is the dialect word that indites the two litre mug of wine or oil, but, above all, the name with which this family from Montefalco has always been identified.” From the most democratic of Montefalco vintages, long, studious and just, indeed a wine giusto e completo, time having settled the once formidable tannin and connecting the early unconnected parts. A wholly unique profile, inditive of tar, dark chocolate and espresso yet subtly so, with an allowance of many complexities to join the parade. Quite special in so many regards. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted April 2022

Il Palio, Siena, July 1987

Riecine Chianti Classico DOCG 2019, Tusny

Grande Gaiole compass, cinch and girth in naturally swarthy sangiovese from Riecine in 2019, crunchy and tart. Inching up towards the volatile but such is the word in pace for the vintage. The fruit n handle the stark reality and veritable truth, equipped with grip and ready for the inevitable circumstance. Maybe wait a year for further resolution. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Villa Di pezzana rmignano DOCG 2017, Tusny

Consistently presents with an evolved aromatic tendency as it breathes maturity into every phrase it plays. The jazzy mix of violet, spice cupboard and freshly baked earthenware speaks in open and knowable truth for a wine so upwardly representative of a DOCG with roots dating back to 1716. That is when Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tusny granted exclusive status to rmignano at the same time he did so for the Classico territory of Chianti. Was not the easiest vintage to deal with and yet this is one of the Tusn stars what with the piquant yet elastic spice condition rolling off of the palate with sage, fresh tobacco, finnocchi and tartufo. Deals with 14.5 per cent alcohol without adversity while modelling symbiosis between sangiovese and bernet sauvignon. Hard to do much better with the aridity and warmth, breathe life and plan for five-plus more years of pleasure. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted June 2022

Azienda Agricola Reassi Sparviere 2018, Colli Euganei bernet DOC, Veneto

Reassi’s two-thirds bernet sauvignon and one-third bernet franc comes from the Padova area in the Veneto, famously home to some of Giotto’s most profound and important 13th/14th century frescoes housed in the ppella degli Scrovegni. The estate’s 1997 planted wines are loted in the zone of rbonara di Rovolon, harvested near the end of September and only 3,500 bottles are produced. This is a cheeky bernet at the lead for the Colli Euganei DOC, full of sweet tar and tobacco, petrol in rs, wood resins, fruit from pods that grown on trees and really quite bright in disposition. How n you not adore the vitality and low alcohol proposition (12.5 per cent) plus this genteel pectin and glycerol feel. “Oh, it’s magic, Uh oh, it’s magic. Just a little magic, you know it’s true.” Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted May 2022

Abrigo Giovanni Barbera d’Alba DOC Marminela 2019, Piedmont

At the DOC Barbera level it would be hard to find another example so open, forthright, up front, bright, getable and delicious than this Marminela by Abrigo. Classic interpretation indeed yet without rustic strings tethering it to the past, instead expressive of a freedom to explore. Here barbera throws aside traditions in a spirit of experimentation. This is a blend of grapes from two vineyards in the municipalities of Grinzane vour and Diano d’Alba and aging takes place for nine months in concrete vats. Freshness is dutifully ptured, preserved and the barbera perseveres. Will drink this way for two, maybe even three full years ahead. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted June 2022

Rocche dei Frisu is Abrigo’s top end, purest expression of barbera, from vineyards in Diano d’Alba and also nearby. The sites range in elevation between 230-360m, on clay-based soils mixed with sand and limestone, depending on the block. The name could mean “cones of frieze” in the literal sense but probably a name given to a hill of natural architecture that when looked at from afar there would be some sort of illusory effect. As in art, whereby a trompe l’oeuil or trick of the eye is created by a broad horizontal band of sculpted or painted decoration. In any se the barbera in this bottle does the exact opposite with its openly blatant and striking set of ripe fruit, varietal acidity and full throttle potency. Not shy to be sure, nor heavy neither but there is power contained within this bottle. Even after nearly four years the Frisu does not relent and as a member of the Alba Superiore fraternity the representation is bang on. Plenty of stuffing will see this through to the end of this dede. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted May 2022

Abrigo Giovanni Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC 2019, Piedmont

Marked valuation in animal musk through the masculine scent of Abrigo’s nebbiolo from Diano d’Alba, a parochial example equally rich in classic DOC notes. Only the nebbiolo from Alba’s territory smells and tastes like this, accentuated by wood with spice infiltration inside and out. The animal magnetism is ptivating, as much as the barrel accents are condiments to the fruit and earth that fill up this nebbiolo. Quite tight for 2019, needing some time, acids equally taut and being open three days helped immensely. Be patient with this Alba, it will reward those who are. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted June 2022

Abrigo Giovanni Barolo DOCG Ravera 2017, Piedmont

Diano d’Alba producer of a Barolo in the municipality/cru/MGA of Novello. Meets the specs of Tortonian soil, laminated Sant’Agata fossil marl, in other words lreous clay, deeply entrenched, at 400m, vine age ranging 20 to 35 years. Fifty per cent is treated to long skin maceration i.e. ppello sommerso and despite the aridity and heat of 2017 there is freshness ptured in Abrigo’s Ravera. Luminous and immediately spicy, a piquancy of pure nebbiolo spiked by time, vintage and lastly barrel. Amazingly persistent Barolo, full, substantial and in charge. Must give this three more years to integrate and allow us to grow as tasters, eventually to be ready and willing to enjoy this wine. Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted June 2022

Tenuta Di Pietrafusa Villa Matilde Avallone Fusonero 2015, Taurasi DOCG, mpania

Varietal aglianico from the Taurasi DOCG and a producer that also fashions top quality wines at IGT mpania prices coming in at under $20 CDN. This top drop comes from the production zone of Montemarano e Paternopoli off of vines planted in 1968 and 1985. The first commercial vintage was 2004 and so here in the 12th iteration is a most generous vintage from which the best of all worlds is accessed. The world of aglianico is reached earlier than that which hesitantly emerges out of some hard, at times sufferable and surely tannic vintages. Here the fruit is nearly up front, artistilly open and and even playing with musil swagger. There is room for all the aglianico beuse they provide the opportunity to enjoy the standards, originals and forward thinking examples. Fusonero is a delightful combination of all three and for that we are grateful. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted June 2022

Good to go!






The five estates of Planeta earth

Welcome to Planeta Earth

The question often asked, if you could go back in time and meet just one person, who would it be? Shakespeare, Golda Meir, Beethoven, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Galileo, Marie Curie, Einstein, or maybe Gandhi? In the winemaking world there would be many great men and women to consider but this current fascination with Sicilia leads to the name Diego Planeta. Pioneer, visionary and a man who considered the entire island an agricultural playground where anything was possible. The Planeta family has Spanish origins and roots dating back five hundred years. Diego Planeta was the former president of the Settesoli Cooperative and founder of Planeta winery. His passing in 2020 left an irreplaceable hole but 15 cousins, including Alessio, Frances and Santi Planeta are the beneficiaries of their uncle’s plans and legacy. Five family members run the day-to day operation and more than 200 vinicultural, viticultural, administrative and marketing artisans share in the collective vision. Today they work, farm sustainably and reap the benefits of five distinct estates but more than that they bring the fruits of these lotions to the world. No other producer in Sicilia does this, not with the scope and breadth they do. This is the story of the five Sicilian estates of Planeta earth.

Godello, L’Etna

Related – Planeta’s Sicily

Un percorso non suale, fortemente legato alla diversità dei paesaggi, dei venti, del rattere degli uomini e quindi dei loro vini. Not an accidental journey but one inextribly linked to the diversity of five landspes, in soil, wind, climate and the relationship between the custodians and the wines they shepherd. Menfi, Vittoria, Noto, L’Etna and po Milazzo. No two are the same and all five contribute to the fabric of Planeta’s extant association and alliance with Sicilia. The Planeta family and head winemaker Patricia Tóth abide by their surroundings, as do the agriculturalists, guardians and retakers, of olive groves, orchards, hinterlands and plantations. The pentamerous grouping of estates in all its micro and collective diversity is at once staggering to consider and then a thing of sensory overload. Taking in one at a time and appreciating the profundity of each place is the key to understanding. In March of 2022 I had the honour and pleasure to visit two properties and were it not for Covid-19 and later in June travel misteps I would have seen a third, quite possibly a fourth and perhaps even all five. As it is my personal and professional life have become enriched in ways that could never have been imagined.

Menfi Coast

Only me outside to watch the nightfall with the rain. I heard you making patterns rhyme

Not to be overlooked is above all else, Planeta’s production of IGP olive oil. Their’s is a painstaking process to achieve uncompromising quality borne of the trees in a landspe destined to deliver greatness. The fields of hospitality and cultural ventures integrate into their viticultural activities, all purposed to enliven the Sicilian experience. Sustainability without exception,? respect for the land and wineries completely integrated within the landspe are the values which guide the company’s activities. Winemaker Patricia Tóth was born in Hungary and received a degree in 2004 at the University of Corvinus in Budapest in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits. Tóth worked at Le Vigne di Zamò Friuli, Bava in Piemonte and Vylyan in Hungary. She began her 17 year Planeta run in 2005 at Noto, then in Vittoria, later managing the setup of the estate in po Milazzo and on L’Etna. She now splits her time at 900m above sea level on the volno’s north face and also nearest the beating heart control centre of operations in Menfi.

Related – All the wines of?Sicily

Baglio di Ulmo

In Menfi the variety of terroir is infinite and to walk the phrygana is to stop time. The fauna ignites in the olive oil and the wines from Ulmo in a variety of styles and varietal personalities as sundry as the numbers of women and men who create them. They n be fast or slow, rich or discreet, loud or soft, hard or tender, loving or intense. They n be so packed full of notes it may feel like life speeded up. They n also be lming and interpretive. They n be anything at all.

L’Etna eruption, 1981

On L’Etna space and melody, in particular aboard the volno’s north face (versante nord) there is a use of space so artful it enables the melodies of the original lines in the wines. Though Planeta (and so many others) use improvisations and embellishments, they do so in order to integrate the leading voice to grow together with the supporting st. The main declarations of nerello maslese and rrinte are joined by nerello ppuccio, tarratto and grenico, all evolving together organilly, swelling and retreating as the complete pulse of the wines, the inner pulse guiding the creativity itself, as it is dictated.

The inimitable human and paradigmatic winemaker Patricia To?th

In Vittoria, Noto and po Milazzo the path indited is that of quiet intensity, of melodies so phrased that the rhythm and the space together build wines of strong driving forces. Their collective agency is power achieved without volume, tension without distortion. Some wines grab you and drive everything else from your mind. They seduce, softly engage your whole attention and lure you into the grooves they are travelling. All this without you being aware, of what is happening until it has already happened.

This is planet earth you’re looking at planet earth
Bop bop bop bop bop bop bop bop this is planet earth

Alessio Planeta

Related – Sicily in review

Paraphrasing from something Alessio Planeta said back in 2018, Planeta looks to connect the island by the phrase stato stazione delle una perfetta, meaning the union is currently situated in a perfect state, working together for the common good. Alessio and his family’s rich set of wine-producing circumstances, whether it be the individual refrains of each estate or the collaborative effect of the group, is a constantly growing and changing undertaking but never with the kind of urgency implied in some other producers’ body of work. Planeta’s is more than methodil, it is meditative, contemplative and organic. lculated? Of course but with the future in mind and the greater good always considered. Leadership inrnate, always hospitable and most importantly positive. When I fell ill with Covid whilst visiting with Alessio and Patricia I felt safe and set up for recovery. I n never thank them enough, for their humanity and support.

Meet next gen Planeta custodian and burgeoning chef, Costante Planeta

Here are the 45 Planeta wines tasted in late March and early April in a cross-section of a portfolio interconnected and jointly illustrative of five estates. Their quality is what makes it so satisfying to taste, assess, compose, edit and finally publish the results. Working through these wines, like listening to the albums of a band’s tenure, or sitting in a club while they play their songs, well this makes for a great trip through an intensely diverse and ever-evolving viticultural terrain.

Menfi phrygana


The Menfi situation is really one of Ulmo, or rather Ulmo is Menfi. Here on the island’s southwest coast beneath Palermo is where Planeta’s first winery opened in 1995 near the village of Sambu di Sicilia, Built near an ancient 16th-century baglio, or stone farmhouse, situated above Lake Arancio and blessed with chalky limestone soils.?In the middle of the 1980’s Planeta planted their first vines around the baglio which the family has always owned. The Iter Vitis museum, surrounded by a “collection meadow’” of different Sicilian and Georgian vines, “inspired by the idea of enhancing the rich Sicilian winemaking tradition.” The nature footpath lled La Segreta runs from the winery, connects with those that intersect the Menfi hills and also 250 cultivated hectares of vineyard. The name adorns the quadripartite set of wine labels that are arguably Sicily’s most well-known. The crux, core and heart is Dispensa where production, administration and planning all happen.

Beach at Menfi

The Infernotto, inside the small winery, is the family veau, one of the most lming placing to read, rest and taste through Planeta’s portfolio of wines. Ulmo, Maroccoli, Cirami, Baglio di Ulmo and the 6th century B.C. Palmento di Bosco della Resinata; places of affinity, integration and varietal kinship. Of grillo, fiano, chardonnay, grenico, sauvignon blanc, viognier, nero d’Avola, syrah, merlot, bernet franc and bernet sauvignon. The chardonnay stands out as the iconic label, a super chardonnay to be sure beuse no other varietal example delivers the two pillars of quality and quality like this Planeta label.

Planeta Serra Ferdinandea Rosato 2021, Sicilia DOC

A joint venture between Planeta and the family Oddo from the south of France. Rosato, Bianco and Rosso made high in the hills above the sea near Menfi, closer to Sambu. Here nero d’avola and syrah made in the airiest, salty and light tart way, quenching and satisfying. The name refers to the story of a volnic island that suddenly rose from the sea in 1831, fought over for claim by the Italians, French and British, before disappearing back in to the water many months later. There it sits 30 to 40 metres below the surface. You n drink the town dry out of this Rosato, any day, any time. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Ulmo Chardonnay

Planeta Chardonnay 2020, Sicilia DOC

Chardonnay comes from two vineyards, Storico which is the large white rock at 270m above the Menfi lake and Marrocoli, where red grapes (bernet franc, merlot and syrah) really thrive. Here chardonnay is given roundness to mix with the stoic-stony and intense directness of what it could have been. A place of vibrations and nerves and so Marrocoli is needed to tame and soften Storico’s blunt edginess. That it does, injecting peach fleshy sunshine into the linearity of the wine. Keep in mind that 200,000 bottles a year are made and that doesn’t even keep up with the demand. Arch classic Planeta bread and butter wine, also in style. One of the planet’s great chardonnays of double Q effect. Quantity and quality. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Chardonnay 2019, Sicilia DOC

The two vineyards are Storico at 270m above the Menfi lake and Marrocoli where really white lri predominates. While there is the plump presence of chardonnay giving “morbido” roundness in apposite to the mineral Storico fruit, there is also this persistent buzz and and nervy character. For a wine for which upwards of 200,000 bottles a year are produced it really is quite incredible how vintage dictates the personality of the wine. Fresh quality bread and churned butter in the glass. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Cometa 2020, Sicilia Menfi DOC

As a reminder Cometa comes from two vineyards, the important one being Dispensa right by the winery and Paso di Gura, 10 kms away. Fiano, not off of volnics but clay soils close to the sea, well-ripened, in a place where it likes the sun, suffers and gets a bit bronzing and golden. A fiano of white and yellow flowers, chamomile and the like. While the universe busy was sending more than enough chaos to humanity, in this vintage there were only good conditions and therefore excellent to raise a proper Cometa. Feels plump and salty, full and herbal, bitters so minor and subtleties available to those who wait for it. The upward trend continues, towards greatness. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Cometa 2019, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Cometa is fiano “di Ulmo” in Menfi out of two vineyards, Dispensa and Paso di Gura. Clay soils over lcium rbonate and a place for full ripeness within the context of fulfilling the promise for golden grapes. The florals sing from 2019, more white than yellow and the vintage delivers a credibly balanced affair. In this last vintage before the world went mad Cometa seems at ease, confident and secure. Not as round and plump as the following 2020 yet equally saline, herbal if sweetly so and the crunchiest Cometa ever encountered. Not a shock beuse “every vintage of fiano is unpredictable” explains Alessio Planeta. More vertil, linear and direct. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Cometa 2018, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Experimental grape introduction of fiano to Menfi in 1994 with the first vintage being 2000. “They (Avellino) grow fiano on volnic soil in the mountains and we grow it in clay soils by the sea,” tells Alessio Planeta. “With low yields and small bunches.” Here it n be tropil but it’s always herbal and breezy. n’t help but be salty, after all the air is filled with marine life.? Last tasted March 2022

Cometa has changed or rather in its youthful state of ultimate reductive freshness is so straight-laced, linear, tightrope walking along a razor sharp edge. There’s a tonic injection that helps to propel it forward and the envisioning projects two years ahead to see it develop some sweeter fruit notes, straight from the orchard’s hip. Watch for this special vintage of fiano, the ancient noble variety from mpania that Planeta’s braintrust took a well-advised flyer on in the 1990s. Drink 2020-2026.? Tasted May 2019

Planeta Didacus 2019, Sicilia Menfi DOC

The name Didacus is Diego, from the Latin, a chardonnay dedited to Alessio Planeta’s visionary uncle, the late Diego Planeta. These Storico Vineyard Menfi vines were planted in 1985 on the hillside up to 270m of elevation and below the white rock on lreous-clay soils above the lake. As a vintage 2019 was dryer and warmer than 2018, especially in summer. Results in a richly concentrated chardonnay but one picked earlier with acids in tact and phenols well developed. Plenty of water stocks in the soil after a wet 2018 allowed the plants to ease through ’19 and take full advantage of the dry season. Full malo feel, good mineral backbone and a long sensation swept across the palate puts this in a place of Menfi specificity while also leaving an impression that next level notes will emerge over a good period of time. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Didacus 2018, Sicilia Menfi DOC

The chardonnay dedited to Diego Planeta, from the oldest Menfi vines, planted in 1985. The name Didacus is indeed Diego in Latin and the inherent plus inferred further meaning is as thought, a didactic one, which says something about many things. It speaks to the pioneer Mr. Planeta’s two-toned, ahead of its time work and to the way chardonnay takes Sicily into another realm and brings reductive freshness into buttery bites that ties two voices together. And they will speak as one. Soon. Drink 2021-2027.? Tasted May 2019 and March 2022

Planeta Ulmo tasting

Planeta Didacus bernet Franc 2017, Sicilia Menfi DOC

The Didacus red is a varietal bernet franc from a very specific Ulmo block, also named for Diego Planeta, visionary and pioneer for wines in Sicily. The Piano del Sommacco (sumac) is the source, treated to whole bunch fermentation and aged in tonneaux beuse of the fruit’s great potential. The heat did not come until just before harvest (after a cooler season early). This is good for franc when the heat comes late for more concentration though also one picked later as it should be. The unnny smell of rob and even bokser pod fruit, properly herbal, just the right amount of pyrazine, balsamic and spice. Long, blue and true. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Didacus is Diego, from the Latin and like the chardonnay this bernet franc is dedited in kinship to Alessio Planeta’s uncle, pioneer and visionary, the late Diego Planeta. Storico Vineyard in Menfi was planted in 1985 on white rock-lreous-clay soils above the lake. There is little surprise that 2016 was a serious franc vintage, long and drawn out, perfect to bring the ripeness of necessary phenols that the grape so clearly needs and dearly deserves. Shows off bernet franc’s dreamy complexion with a side of pyrazine though depth of fruit and dearth of (including Amerin) oak are really the pair in charge. There is something Rioja Gran Reserva about Didacus but even more so there is Sicilian depth, Moorish density and Planeta gravity. Or gravitas it should be conceded from and for a wine of many splendored seasoning and structure. Perfume flies in the air and dreams will someday come true. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted March 2022

Fishes by Costante Planeta

Planeta Alastro 2021, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Alsatro the yellow flower that appears all over Menfi in Spring. Mainly grenico with some sauvignon blanc, the former essentially the same grape as garganega. Similar to a Soave ideal, to add some aromatic swagger in a friendship to work with a lol grape. Lean and light, like garganega in wet concrete, straight ahead citrus, neutral and refreshing with just a hint of petrol. Cool white. Drink 2022-2025. Tasted March 2022

Planeta Grillo Terebinto 2021, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Terebinto the red flower all over the hills of Menfi in spring, especially as you approach the sea. A cross between the aromatics and intensity of taratto and the gregarious flavours of zibbibo. Made as a pure variety but only since 2016 beuse Alessio Planeta realized it was a beautiful beast. While the sunshine and richness are very much accumulated there is also the sea in this gently rolling and saline white. A great vintage of this wine and just what grillo should be. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Plumbago Nero d’Avola 2019, Sicilia DOC

Plumbago or “Ploom-baggo” grows in Menfi and around Ulmo, coming out in Spring though not right away. In nero d’avola it is a red that manifests Menfi missives though Planeta chooses to label it not in menzione geographi terms but rather Sicilia DOC. This is beuse a new vineyard’s fruit is involved and so it was not requested to be Menfi, but again in 2021 will be. Always rolling deep and seasoned, a black cherry and seasoned meaty depth yet ’19 seems to have more stones, air and lightness, a relative thing but it makes a difference. This Plumbago really gets it, or maybe we get it and how it translates transparently. Less rustic than usual, a wood adjustment made and so here with a bit more sympathy and less dealing with the devil. Or more perhaps? It may say, “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name. But what’s puzzling you, is the nature of my game.” Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Maroccoli Syrah 2017, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Syrah, from a con facing the lake in Ulmo, more lreous than where the chardonnay grows, a sea of sediment that is more alluvial going down to the shore. This syrah grows on the white lcium rbonate which surely gives vivid florals to mitigate a hematic meatiness created by the clay, sun and varietal tendency. Not a syrah of bacon or smoked meat and also not overtly concentrated but instead quite pretty and elegant. It should be expected this direction will continue with subsequent vintages. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Vineyards in Ulmo

Planeta Maroccoli Syrah 2016, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Syrah is grown above the lake in Ulmo on a “con“ of alluvial and lreous clay soils notably white and the purple flower aromas are surely there in this vintage. So are the meaty ones but also those that imagine roasted melanzane and other toasty vegetative scents. While there used to be so much concentration in this wine it seems that 2016 marks a turn towards restraint and that thing we like to ll elegance. Still the dripping meat juices fragrance and flavour rear up in this ’16, as they have always been known to do. Ready to go now with the first hints of balsamic and flint coming through. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Sito Dell’Ulmo Planeta Merlot 2016, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Pure merlot made since 1995, one of the first for Planeta and one that used to be lled simply “merlot.” A style of spice and even balsamic but once again the florals, lighter activity and respect for vineyard in their sense of place is what really matters today. These were the first vineyards planted in 1985, along with chardonnay, nero d’avola and grenico. The experimental early days. At 31 years-old these merlot vines are highly experienced, the varietal give is exactly of itself and the wine is almost OCD stringent. That is to say it knows what it is and wants to be. Not overtly rich but surely pable of aging and again a vintage of freshness meets long, cool and slow ripening. “A bit too fresh for me,” says Alessio Planeta and then “nordic style,” adds Patri Tóth.” Beautifully chalky and like a Sicilian I will fight to the death to argue that soil has much to do with the mouthfeel of this merlot. Still needs one more year. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Burdese 2016, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Burdese (Boor-dee-say) from a Sicilian dialect, as in Bordelais, looking back in time at Bordeaux, using the two bernets from Ulmo, sauvignon and franc, 70-30 in every vintage except ’97-99, when it was only sauvignon. There is an acidity that n only be described as “Burdese,” even when the sauvignon dries out a bit, by the lreous raised franc and most importantly the freshest of Menfi vintages. Here a fragrant and bright Bordeaux (or perhaps Ulmese?) joint, a blend that sings and raises the bar for such wines in Sicily. Tart and chalky, structured and really long. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Burdese 2015, Sicilia Menfi DOC

Burdese, the Sicilian Bordeaux blend, a word brought back and employed here in Menfi as the French dispatch for bernet sauvignon (70 per cent) and franc grown in Ulmo. Now settled into its Bordelais by way of Sicilian skin, tannins softened and acids too. Feels like a warm season created the resolve in this wine but then again it also seems like there are parts unknown and things yet revealed. After all “all great beauties withhold their deepest secrets.” Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Sicilia DOC

Planeta La Segreta Grillo 2021, Sicilia DOC

An extension from the original Bianco bottle, added a few years back (2016) when grillo and nero d’avola were recognized as protected varieties under the Sicilia DOC. While made in greater quantity and with less complexity than the Terebinto grillo the idea and the ideal are one in the same. Citrus and herbs, some fleshiness and sunshine though quiet and lm. Spot on balance and amenability. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta La Segreta Il Bianco 2021, Sicilia DOC

Il Bianco is the original La Segreta, a blend of (50 per cent) grenico with viognier, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Remarkably the aromatics do tell of viognier but that changes across a palate that? s expressly grenico with shades of the other grapes. Broader and more rounded than grillo, perhaps antithetilly so but less specificity Makes Il Bianco the one to work for all. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta La Segreta Nero d’Avola 2021, Sicilia DOC

An extension from the original Rosso bottle, added a few years back (2016) when nero d’avola and grillo were recognized and added as protected varieties under the Sicilia DOC. Essentially Planeta’s varietal “lite,” a lithe and honest, pure and transparent entry into the Ulmo world for nero d’avola, with just a small portion from Noto. The key is all estate grapes, an entry into and sort of second set of wines for Planeta. The selection comes within the availability of 370 hectares of production. Safe, straightforward, varietally correct, tart and also too easy to knock back. Drink 2022-2024. T asted March 2022

Planeta La Segreta Il Rosso 2021, Sicilia DOC

As with Il Bianco, Il Rosso is the original red under the La Segreta label, a blend of (50 per cent) nero d’avola with merlot, syrah and splashes of bernet franc. Deeper if not darker but certainly meatier and more ferric than the varietal nero. Herbal as well, a note of Amaro and dark chocolate shavings. As with the other three La Segreta wines the Rosso is a matter of different vineyard management as compared with the other Planeta wines, with the intendment to be less concentrated, less tannic and to drink right here and right now. That it does, especially with pasta in a sauce of eggplant and tomatoes from Vittoria. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Lava flow, Feudo di Mezzo


The year was 2008 when Planeta settled on the north side of Etna, among the lava flows and the woods which surround the village of Passopisciaro. Vines of planted nerello and rrinte were planted and then in 2012 the winery was also established. The hospitality is housed to the north at Montelaguardia, in the middle of the Sciaranuova vineyard at more than 800m above sea level. Here the Etna cru are produced, in pinot nero, nerello maslese, riesling and rrinte. To the south the Feudo di Mezzo winery and vineyard (for Etna Rosso) are right in the centre of a 15th century lava flow. Nearby at Torreguarino and Rampante the vines are also best suited to red wines. At Sciaranuova the old terraces were transformed into a “Theatre in the Vineyard,” home to the Sciaranuova Festival.

Sciaranuova, Etna

To get a true sense of geography and lotion there are four passeggiate that will unlock the door to Etna enlightenment. The first is through the 15th century lava flow at Feudo di Mezzo and the vineyards with their gnarly bush vines. The second is the lava flow of “L’Etna 1981,” an eruption between the 17th and 23rd of March, at which time the village of Randazzo below me this close to being swallowed whole. The third is through Parco Statella to gain a sense of how Etna’s north face integrates Alberello vineyards, woods and homes. The fourth is ambling over volnic boulder flows, admiring all the layers of lava rock, exploring the ancient, gnarly and propitious aboard L’Etna, as seen in Passopisciaro.

Planeta Eruzione 1614 rrinte 2019, Terre Siciliane IGT

Eruzione is always picked later than the rrinte for the Etna Bianco (from Monetalguardia), at least a week later, finished on the 20th of October, really early. You smell and taste the Bianco from 2019 and think it’s tight but then you do the same with the Eruzione and then realize just what tight is. In this amazingly compact ’19 there is the feeling of salts dissolving into the fine grain of the wine, volnics in rrinte disappearing with immediacy though their presence never leaves your palate. A vintage that so precisely and clearly defines what it means to grow this grape on the northern slope of the mountain between 810-900m, even though at this elevation it n’t qualify for DOC Etna. The higher you go, the tighter are the wines and the longer they live. That is a fact. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Parco Statella, Etna

Planeta Eruzione 1614 rrinte 2014, Terre Siciliane IGT

This is just perfect. To re-taste Eruzione rrinte five years later, almost to the day and just past the halfway point in this 1614’s expected tenure. In fact it barely feels like any time has passed save for a fumé moment of character that Tóth admits “I don’t know where it comes from,” meaning it’s not technologilly possible. Which means it comes from the vineyard. Or, the original sapid part of the wine transforming into smoulder. The texture is not organza but sheer, you n feel through it. The salt has fully melted to now extend the flavour but the wine remains tight. And so the longevity abides. And the score also rises, as the sun. Drink through 2027.? ?Last tasted March 2022

“Not everyone n rry the weight of the world,” save perhaps Planeta’s Patricia Tóth, a winemaker who celebrates the past, the endemic varietal and in the present, the glaring truth. The name Eruzione is evotive of the estate’s Cru dell’Etna and in a mind’s eye transports history through the narrative of rrinte (with 10 per cent riesling). It brings the legendary 1614 Mount Etna eruption to life, a longest ever recorded tastrophe that lasted ten years, halting just on the border of the vineyards of Sciaranuova. This is veritable mountain altitude wine, from high (790-890m) terraced, volnic black soils delivering fresh conifer savour, saltiness and palpable mineral style. It is sharp and composed on the nose, with citrus distillate and elevated acidity. It does not matter whether you are wide awake or deep in R.E.M sleep. At all times it is a revelation for rrinte. This is what it n be! There was no need for crop thinning, it was picked four to five weeks after the sparkling and it spent five months on the lees. The texture and the potential longevity are thankful for this. “Combien, combien, combien du temps?” At least seven years. Talk about the passion. Drink 2018-2025.? ?Tasted March 2017

Quarantine passegiata, Versante Nord, Etna

Planeta Riesling 2018, Terre Siciliane IGT

What do you compare Etna riesling to? Nothing save perhaps Eden Valley but what’s the point? Texturally this from Planeta is quite soft but no matter the texture every sip goes salty. Volnics, or more to the lava flow point, living, breathing and current (within the last 400 years) volnics will do that, for real. Not like other “volnic” soils, those from mountains that erupted maybe one million years ago. But that’s only half of the matter. The other and equally important matter is elevation, at 900m, less fancy, attractive and sexy. But this is real and this is what riesling wants and needs. Not Mosel, not Trentino, not Argentina but L’Etna heights. She is present and she presents. “Elevation is not as sexy as volnics, “ said no one ever but this is the thing. Riesling was never that or like this but it has arrived. Say hello to my little friend TS-IGT. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Sciaranuova Vineyard

Planeta Eruzione 1614 Pinot Nero 2018, Terre Siciliane IGT

Super fine pinot noir from Patricia Tóth on Etna’s north slope at 820m, like well-prepared sea urchin, stracto di manzo manteto and fegato d’o. If not the best Etna Rosso vineyard it may as well be in the conversation beuse this kind of pinot noir depth is usually reserved for nerello maslese. Something cool this way comes every morning and dry, no matter the settling of precipitation the night before. Here the fineness of varietal and block share a feeling, a commonality of place within to the third degree, mimicking gastronomy and asking for the right set of partners. There is fennel and there are dried spices, cumin perhaps in how the delite yet forceful south asianer’s rpet really ties the wine together. Sweet meanderings in dried rags really bring the rusti?and the autenti. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Making friends in Parco Statella, Etna

Planeta Etna Bianco DOC 2020

Widest and most inviting smile yet from Planeta and winemaker Patricia Tóth’s 2020 Etna Bianco, generous gift of the volno and the sun, elemental salts and even ripeness, controlled eruption and fleshy intensity. A relaxed bianco as an extension of the vineyard, 100 per cent rrinte from Contrada Taccione in the village of Monetalguardia. The soil is deeply organic, nourishing, dark for Etna at 690-720m. Hard to find more direct accommodation and physil beauty than what this Bianco wants to share, without demands, strings or expecting anything in return. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Etna hospitality, Planeta

Planeta Etna Bianco DOC 2019

Though the next vintage of Etna Bianco DOC will be the perfect one, for everyone and all, this from 2019 is no difficult one, it’s just more linear, laser focused and intense. There are times when 100 per cent rrinte n act this way, not beuse of any varietally finicky reason but just beuse the vintage makes it so. More central, linear, severe and seeking ways to branch out but that still may not be possible at this time. Super compact and it looks as though 2021 could also be this way. The grapes me early, seemingly counterintuitive to how things turned out and the winemaker looked around, not believing the harvest was done. But forget about it Patricia. It’s Etna. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022


Planeta Etna Rosso DOC 2020

A 100 per cent nerello maslese from Pietramarina and Feudo di Mezzo (where the cellar is loted), two vineyards 5km between them at 600m of elevation. The nose is almost clay even though there is none on Etna making for a very clean aromatic profile. Made in the Piedmontese ppelo sommerso method, 35-40 days on skins, beuse nerello maslese doesn’t like and doesn’t need oxygen, regardless of its tannic structure. The vintage is a round and gifting one for all, bianco and rosso alike, less compact than some and fleshy as a ripe plum, especially with reds. A 2020 in which recent volnics are a matter of wringing out a basalt sponge with the resulting juices running with charismatic invitation. That said a Planeta Etna Rosso clearly needs some time, not forever mind you and in this se a depth of developed fruit and mineral swath keeps things wrapped and taut. Notable for the red citrus bite, pique and pith across the back end. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Feudo di Mezzo, Etna

Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Maslese 2018, Terre Siciliane IGT

Varietal nerello maslese grown above the DOC line is a matter of great, compact and vertil concern from out of the 2018 vintage. Was a rainy and “fragile” vintage, a matter of nature putting more stress on bunches that n result in variegate meaning. The concept of rigorous table sorting and the use of a basket press are essential tools to getting pristine fruit and then juice. Etna’s conditions are so unique to Sicily and so here in Sciaranuova it is the last of Planeta’s estates to figure out the what, why and how for making quality wine. On the whites it was in and around ’16 and for the reds probably right here with this sharp, spiced and meaningful red. While it is quite compressed there is also an expansiveness that presses to the full extent in how the palate is swarmed and covered. My goodness. Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted March 2022

Parco Statella, Versante Nord, Etna

Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Maslese 2017, Terre Siciliane IGT

Sciaranuova is the place closest to the village of Passopisciaro for nerello maslese of a very specific style. From a warm vintage and one when there was nine per cent ppuccio mixed in with the maslese. More of a salumi, curative and dried skins vintage, not just with an extra year affecting the wine but also beuse of the ppuccio influence with an increase in oxidative feel. Feels quite ready to rock and roll, more of the latter perhaps and with the right moment there will be a scorrevole of maslese sensation running and then sliding across the palate. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

po Milazzo, Sicily

po Milazzo

Sicilia’s most extreme and dramatic northeast corner is home to some of Planeta’s most extreme and dramatic wines. po Milazzo’s soils are alluvial, deep soils, friables, born out of rivers that me from the northern mountains. The peninsula’s proximity to the sea leads to wines that are salty, with algae, black cherry and cypress. The four hectare vineyard is lled La Baronia, used for the Sicilia DOCs in Nocera and Mamertino but also experimentally and for research in three ancient varieties known as varietà reliquie; vitraruolo, lucignola and tanese nera.

Planeta Nocera 2018, Nocero Sicilia DOC

Specific to Milazzo in the northeast of Sicily, in two appellations, Faro and Mamertino. Noce is “nuts,” growing in big bunches and blue-hued (much more so than bernet sauvignon). Grows on volnics, in a place with an active volno (Stromboli) which is signifint and in 2018 the vintage didn’t turn out the same beast of a bruiser in terms of the grape’s intensity of tannins. Forget the comparisons to sangiovese, barbera and tannat beuse this ’18 is a wonderfully harmonious and balanced varietal wine. Still the presence and obviousness of black cherry, peppery nocellara olive and just a kiss of orange. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Planeta Mamertino 2017, Mamertino Sicilia DOC

From the dramatic land and seaspe that is po Milazzo and a wine surely as close to winemaker Patricia Tóth’s heart as any in her Planeta dreams. Blends 60 per cent nero d’Avola, with (40) nocera while paying homage to the Mamertini who produced a version of this wine at Milazzo, described by Pliny and beloved by Julius esar. First vintage was 2013 and so only the fifth by this warm vintage example. n be a bruiser and a brooder but ’17 exhibits a surprising antithetil brightness and invitation for pleasure. Even when this young, now moving, not evolving but relenting, in structure and for spirit. The two grapes work in seamless if also delicious tandem, pushing and giving a little, extending an olive branch through clear Mediterranean scents, flavours and style. Like morning dew, soulfully guitar driven, modern jazzy in pure stone groove. Unexpected and warranted at the very same time. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted April 2022


Noto is the birthplace of nero d’Avola, graced with lreous soils like Jerez and Champagne, not really comparable to anywhere else. Noto is close to Vittoria in how the wines come to be but it’s a mobile texture, silken and with velvety tannins. The soft hills of Buonivini are blessed by soft breezes arising from the meeting of two seas, ideal for nero d’Avola and mosto, but also almonds, robs and olives, symbolic plants of the Mediterranean lotion. The three vineyards are agliastro, buonvini and zuppardo on 45 hectares, acquired piece by piece, today producing the DOC wines Santa Cecilia, Mosto di Noto and Passito di Noto.

Planeta Allemanda 2021, Sicilia Noto DOC

Allemanda, opening baroque dance, 100 per cent mosto bianco, fully, completely Noto. The concept is before the meal, a winder upper, ahead of several courses and pairings, in lieu of that wine killing sundowner, Sicilian style. Quite a tart and powerfully stinging revivalist, to wake one up and keep the spirit alive well into the night. A palate refresher, making use of the indigenous and the parochial. Crisp, clean, tightly wound, acidity high, difficulty low. Revive your energy with a glass of Allemanda, dancer in the mouth. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted April 2022

Mosto Di Noto Dry 2021, Sicilia Noto DOC

Sister to Allemanda, 100 per cent mosto (di Noto) yet here dry as the southern Sicilian desert (proverbially speaking) and acids running jet propelled high. In the vein of riesling or say Hunter Valley sémillon, austere, intense, at present unknowable but tenable as time will surely race on by. Lime and the dream of petrol, sharp herbs and even sharper citrus, though not straightforward as such. Most curious and intense white wine, best with sea creatures now but with time, who knows, the sky just may be the limit. Age some and see what transpires. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted April 2022

Planeta Controdanza 2018, Sicilia Noto DOC

Not quite a year has passed and while a settling seems noticeable there still pulses and vibrates a dance of sorts. The white soils have yet to leave the floor and the wines continues to slide over the sleek surface. The nero needs more time, the austerity must chill out and the integration is still somewhat far away. Keep to the program.? Last tasted April 2022

Noto’s bianci soils on the Buonivini estate are the Controdanza source at of Sicily’s furthest southeastern point. Planeta’s relationship here dates back to 1998. The hoedown,”quadrille” or square dance is 85 per cent nero d’Avola plus (15) merlot, super Sicilian by way of Noto and no matter how many vintages pass on by there is still this irony between barn dancing and post-modern blending. It takes tasting this 2018 to realize how dominant the nero d’Avola really is and while merlot is supposed to soften and add a cream centre, in 2018 that’s a big request. Now 2017 makes even more sense and is a cream puff compared to this tannic and grippy 2018. A bigger wine of greater fortitude and one that needs some time to soften. Hold off on the Controdanza for now, the wine and the dance. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted June 2021

Planeta Santa Cecilia 2016, DOC Noto

That idea behind tertiary fungi and umami is still a dream and should be shelved for at least four to five years. That said there is some movement now into the secondary, just hints mind you but there are the plums baked into the minced meat of a sciachiatta pie. Even a note of red pepper flake, parsley and dandelion to accent the sausage. Drinking with most excellent gastronomy right now.? Last tasted April 2022

The flagship 100 per cent nero d’avola must be poured last beuse of the power and the fact that it’s not something so easily understood. If you were to try and taste other wines after this it would be like Eric Clapton going on after Jimi Hendrix. There’s a deep olive, blood orange, tar and ribena profile that you just know will seek out truffle, porcini, tar and roses. Welcome to the world of aging Sicilian wines and in this very specific world, nero d’avola from Noto. Drink 2022-2034.? Tasted May 2019

Planeta Santa Cecilia 2011, DOC Noto

Santa Cecilia from 2011 is a special nero d’avola, balanced in silent but sweetly deadly acquiescence of Noto’s white chalky soils. Her tannins are abundant and smooth, running in one direction and so it’s a wonder how un-evolved and yet so involved this nero d’avola is equipped to believe about and with great kindred spirit with itself. That it presents this youthful and yet to advance is a thing magil and sincere. Inner strength is one thing but outward beauty is the real deal. Or is it the other way around? Either way they combine for one of Cecilia’s greatest acuity and remainder of structure. Drink 2018-2026.? Tasted May 2018 and April 2022

Planeta Santa Cecilia 2008, DOC Noto

Having now tasted several vintages, including a few older examples of Santa Cecilia the idea of taking nothing for granted is now engrained. Something happens to this nero d’avola after several years in bottle, part chemistry and part magic. When 10 years get behind this wine it begins to dig, deep and purposefully into the Noto soil, finding minerals and elements that never seemed to before be present in this wine. Well past the fruit stage here in this 2008, now underlying, primitive and fundamental. And yet it reeks of nero, wood a thing of the past, a perfume st with spellbound, gripping and intriguing fascination. No shortage of earth and cocoa derivations but mostly the curiosity of place. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted April 2022

Planeta Santa Cecilia 2005, DOC Noto

Finding oneself in a state of utter disbelief upon nosing an older Santa Cecilia has just happened with thanks to this 2005 and the unthinkable aromatics it possesses. There have been some older examples like 2007, 2008 and 2011 which all showed morphologil magic but this, this is something other. The state of perfumed preservation is impossible, the floral emanations and fruit continuance implausible and in suspension of belief. The 2005 is almost perfect, dark berries and red citrus alive, acids in perfect condition, wood dissolved, resolved and walked straight out the door. The life and vitality reside in the arena of the flawless, faultless and achievable. This is what nero d’avola, Santa Cecilia, Noto and Planeta n be, at its collective finest. Will drink this way (and also that) for five more years and with ease. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted April 2022

Planeta Passito Di Noto 2019, Sicilia Noto DOC

Planeta’s Passito di Noto is a rare and singular dessert wine, now in its 17th year of production, made with mosto (di Noto) and from vines so old it may not be known just how old they are. The grapes are dried using the appassimento method and then turned into this concentrated and naturally sweet dessert wine. This is a very particular viscosity and profile with resins and vapours as tenable as are the sugars, with herbs and plants nearby mixing with their vinous qualities for a sticky of superior savour and character. Imagine pineapple soaked in rosemary and vermouth, apricots bathing in fennel and golden Amaro, hazelnuts toasted with long pepper and green vines. Not unusual but particular, spoken personality and in the end, so very fine. Drink 2024-2035. Planeta’s Passito di Noto is a rare and singular dessert wine, now in its 17th year of production, made with mosto (di Noto) and from vines so old it may not be known just how old they are. The grapes are dried using the appassimento method and then turned into this concentrated and naturally sweet dessert wine. This is a very particular viscosity and profile with resins and vapours as tenable as are the sugars, with herbs and plants nearby mixing with their vinous qualities for a sticky of superior savour and character. Imagine pineapple soaked in rosemary and vermouth, apricots bathing in fennel and golden Amaro, hazelnuts toasted with long pepper and green vines. Not unusual but particular, spoken personality and in the end, so very fine. Drink 2024-2035. Tasted April 2022.Tasted April 2022


Southeastern Vittoria is home to the only Sicilian DOCG lled Cerasuola di Vittoria, a blend of nero d’Avola and frappato grown on red sandy soils. As winemaker Patricia Tóth likes to say, “the main actor in all these wines is the beloved nero’d’Avola,” most important variety on the island, planted across 60 per cent of vinicultural surface area. Nero is the adaptable one, like pinot noir in France, nebbiolo in Piemonte and sangiovese in Tusny. Vittoria’s are fresher and ignite more passion as compared to what comes from Noto and parts further east on Sicilia.


Planeta Frappato Sicilia Vittoria DOC 2020

First vintage of Planeta’s frappato was 2013 so by count this eighth is a Vittoria DOC of experiential signifince, rare, low output yielding and as always, never showy. The grape and the amazing singularity it possesses makes for comparisons that are desperate but ultimately useless. That frappato in Planeta’s way n deliver this fresh strawberry and reductively earthy combination is testament to soil and sea. Think of the ripest fruit cut clear and clean by wet stoniness and sharp imagery. Crystalline vintage here for Planeta, potent, vehement and heartfelt. There is no hiding from such clarity and tempered ethos. The 2020 shows a little of that Etna Rosso feeling and from a lotion so far away. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted April 2022

Planeta Frappato Sicilia Vittoria DOC 2019

An extra year effects a signifint amount of change and difference, especially when that vintage was so warm and generous. In the realm of rare and dignified frappato there are moods, as if sounds, environment, beats and emotion have become involved, as if music saved my life. The strawberries are wilder and deeper, the herbals ground by pestle and the sea just a bit dark, turned up and stormy. The mid-palate on 2019 is completely filled in, the acids circulative, the finish weighty and defiant. Not the light and bright frappato of some years and yet always sharp, direct, pointed. It n’t help but be. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted April 2022

Winemaker or dog whisperer? Both

Planeta Cerasuolo Di Vittoria DOCG 2020

From the red soils of the Dorilli estate and Sicily’s only DOCG in pture of a seriously striking vintage. The southerly lotion lands between the sea and the Iblean mountains, the name coming from cerasa, cherry in Sicilian dialect. Typil for Planeta’s take, blend of 60 per cent nero d’Avola with (40) frappato, coming together like Hall and Oates, a little bit 80s, funky and pretty. Cerasuola as method of modern love, in which “dreams are made of a different stuff.” Cerasuola pitting strawberry and cherry against a red citrus backdrop, remarkably well constructed and produced. Two grapes in harmony, with strong hooks and overlaying melodies. Adheres to traditional soul traditions while turning out the pop. Thus the DOCG. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted April 2022

Dorilli Sicilia Cerasuola Di Vittoria Classico DOCG 2017

Dorilli represents the pinnacle of the eponymous estate sound and vision in a Cerasuolo more Bowie and Lennon than any duo aligned for hits. The 2017 is Planeta’s Fame, higher in nero d’Avola (70 per cent) and lesser (30) in frappato as compared to the normale. Named for the nearby river Dirillo, “landing place of brave Aeneas,” and a red blend that aches with both maturity and confidence. “Could it be the best, could it be? Really be really babe. Could it be my babe could it babe?” The answer is yes, in spite of a warm vintage with some dustiness and dried fruit. Fame n be and is had with bowie knife sharpness and young Sicilian intensity. Yes this 2017 is too youthful to ll but time will be kind and this wine will be timeless. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted April 2022

Good to go!


Welcome to Planeta Earth





Forever in Chianti Classico

Gallo Nero at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

An ambassador’s return, Chianti Classico Collection 2022, 4 LCBO videos, 11 UGAs, 37 estate visits and 450 tasting notes

The story of two hats

The last pre-pandemic supper in Panzano takes place in the Officina della Bistec at Dario Cecchini’s Anti Macelleria Restaurant on the 19th of February, 2020. Little could any one of the revelers that night have any inclination what lay ahead. Who could foresee less than a week later there would be a sablan-esque slipping out of Faenza in the middle of the night, heading to Firenze for a flight out of Italy before first light. A funny thing happens in between. Tutti Matti Chef Alida Solomon from Toronto is already feasting at the long Bistec harvest table when the party nadese arrives. A wonderful surprise save for the fact that Tusny is actually her home. That night the writer surreptitiously leave his Sienese ppella in the officina and the next day no one at Cecchini is able lote it. Hat vanishing act. On route to Montalcino a necessary stop is made in Siena, specifilly the Piazza del mpo, for a Spritz and the purchase of a new hat. Borsalino is closed so ppelleria Bertacchi is the next best option and a brand new, similarly styled hat is procured. The following day, while sitting upstairs tasting Brunello on the terrazza of ffè La Fortezza in Montalcino who walks in but Solomon, tosses up the aforementioned and abandoned hat, nothing is spoken and away Chef goes. This is the story of being the owner of two hats.

Tasting with Michaela Morris at Il Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, March 2022

A prodigal ambasciatore‘s return

This may be considered an inflated way to refer to one’s self in the third person but truth is that third person recounts with the fondest of memories 10 pre-pandemic Tusn excursions in four years before the world shuts down to travel. The restart launches in October 2021 with the first of four more over the course of six ’21-’22 abridging months. There are extroverts and introverts but there are also ambiverts, those who exhibit tendencies in roughly equal proportions. Some are in the middle or on the fence when it comes to Chianti Classico wines. If one is to refer to oneself as a proud ambassador for said wines then there must be synergistic feelings of belonging. There will be connectivity with the wines, territory and a most profound connection with the people. In October of 2021 a rebirth takes place in the guise of travel renascence, a re-entry for the first time in 20 months made available by the most erudite, generous and hospitable folks at Gambero Rosso. An ambassador who sits not on a fence has zero trepidation in making a decision to fly first to Firenze for three days of arranged visits in the Classico zone to precede the Tre Bicchieri’s festivities in Rome. When a month later a special edition of Benvenuto Brunello is organized it makes super sense to follow that up with three more days of visits in the territory shared by Firenze and Siena. To see great Consorzio friends and colleagues again restores faith in this world. r rides, lunches, dinners, tank, barrel, latest release and archived tastings, ffès and chats in the sun. Grazie tantissimo to Giovanni Manetti, rlotta Gori, Silvia Fiorentini, Christine Lechner and terina Mori, as always, sempre e per sempre.

Related – Chianti Classico goes to eleven

Chianti Classico Edution in Toronto

The UGA designation, LCBO videos and continuing Chianti Classico edution

In June of 2021 the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico announces the shift to 11 additional units of geographil designation to rve out new parameters and progressiveness for the territory. These ùnita Geografiche?Aggiuntive allow producers to make mention on labels of Gran Selezione wines. A first step towards full disclosure across all Chianti Classico wine labels in the future. This information comes to the writer on the heels of keeping busy during lockdowns and pandemic restrictions that sees the proliferation of tastings and edution via platforms like Zoom. Connecting producers with sommeliers and prospective agents is key to continuity and Godello obliges whenever the ll to duty arrives. The return in person late in 2021 and through the first four months of 2022 sees restaurant edution sessions reach dozens upon dozens of sommeliers, front of house and back of house staff, denizens of Toronto’s restaurant industry eager to resume their absorption of wine information, especially as it pertains to tasting sangiovese. The filming of four edutional videos for the LCBO is particularly gratifying, pped by a win of an LCBO Elsie Award for said videos. In three weeks time the producers will arrive in Toronto to participate in the WineAlign critic and Ambasciatore‘s Masterclass. They will also pour their wines at both trade and consumer walk-around tastings. The Toronto Island Chianti Classico Cup happens on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 and “Experience the Wine, Olive Oil & Food of Chianti Classico,” Monday, May 30, 2022 at The Globe and Mail Centre.” Click on the link for more information. Forever in Chianti Classico, even while at home.

Filming Chianti Classico videos for the LCBO, at Praise Bottle Shop, Toronto

End of season reaction to the April frost of 2021

For Lu Martini di Cigala of San Giusto a Rentannano the first vintage when he realized something was not right was 1998, when the skin of the berries were burned by the sun. Climate change, events and extremes are not something that just popper up in the past few years.?

Paolo de Marchi does not so much look at yields before high density but rather yields that are a quotient of each square metre as a function of bunches per plant. In a frost year like 2021 Guyot produces more fruit from secondary buds. Paolo makes use of a selection of clones but more importantly a massal vineyard. “This is how you get rid of vines that are not good and replite those that are. Bud break is often so early and we will never espe the frost anymore. The real problem starts with earlier winter and Spring.”

UGA in reverse, Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

At sa Emma Paolo Paffi admits to a 35 per cent loss in 2021 due to the April frosts, a vintage when even problems occurred even in the higher reaches. “You would have to go back to 1995 to find another vintage where this happened,” tells Paffi. At Villa Le Corti Principe Duccio Corisini and Oenologist Claudio Giglioni noted that in 2021 the single vineyard Guliae, nicknamed the Figo, produced seven tonnes per hectare. It remained safe from the frost, perhaps beuse of biodynamics, perhaps beuse of Guyot training, perhaps beuse of position. Maybe all three but regardless it was not ught in the April frost zone.

At Il Molino di Grace in Panzano their particular frost zone resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in yields.? There was a good quantity of water in the winter, a cool spring, warm and ideal summer, rain in the second half of August. “A perfect situation for quality and quantity,”? had the frosts not come. Says Iacopo Morganti, “we need to build artificial lakes.”

Related – When frost strikes, Chianti Classico?responds

Chianti Classico Experience in Toronto

Fontodi and Consorzio President Giovanni Manetti owns over 20 hectares of over 40 years. He explains that even if there are 20-30 days separating the picking from start to finish in a vintage there is always a marker, especially with sangiovese. “And with old vines they are not nearly as susceptible to stressors,” says Manetti. “Vigna del Sorbo will succeed even with all of what is mentioned here.” At Bindi Sergardi I Colli is where Alessandra sini Bindi Sergardi was born and grew up. Built in the 1400s for the family, lower in elevation (350m) as compared to Mocenni (500m), still rich in Alberese but also high in iron content across the road in the Chianti Colli Senesi. Some frost kill but not signifint enough to mention. For Angela Fronti of Istine, “this year 20-25 per cent less, part frost and part cinghiale, qualcosa nell-aia.” Something in the yard.

Alone with Chianti Classico Sangiovese, rooftop terrace, Hotel Plaza Lucchesi, Firenze

Roberto Bianchi of Val delle Corti: “It’s been a difficult year and we’re very lucky to be in Radda. We did not fear the frost. Most Radda producers esped loss due to frost but the animals are another matter all together. Drought pushes the animals (wild boar, deer the size of cows), out of the forest and grapes are there biggest resource recourse.” Bianchi is still looking higher and a few years ago planted Malpensa Vineyard upwards of 650m. As did Fedecri Mascheroni of Volpaia. Their new vineyard is planted at 650m, using five clones of sangiovese from Il Puro with two chosen for planting as half of the small (one hectare vineyard) and also malvasia and trebbiano for Vinsanto. It was finished in the Spring of 2021.

Eduting the LCBO Buyers, February 2022

What about naiolo?

“naiolo is an underestimated variety,” insists Isole e Olena’s Paolo de Marchi. “It ripened so early this (2021) season and was picked before the chardonnay. It just may be the future” While that may sound like sacrilege in a land where sangiovese is the (literal) life blood of the wines, de Marchi is not the only one focusing extra energy on the endemic variety. L’Erta di Radda’s Diego Finocchi sees naiolo as essential to blending into sangiovese beuse of its higher level of pH, a talyst for balancing not only the high acidity of sangiovese but also helping to temper and even hide alcohol in warm and dry vintages. Both Robin Mugnaini and Claudio Gozzi of Fattoria le Masse would surety agree. Their Timeo is a 100 per cent naiolo from 60 year-old vines (planted in 1961), picked in late September but before the hottest final days. A wine that is truly a matter of pH waving over the palate.

Learning with Paolo de Marchi, Isole e Olena, San Donato in Poggio

Angela Fronti of Istine in Radda has planted some naiolo and malvasia nera, the latter replacing bernet to return to roots and grow what is meant for this part of the territory. Salt and pepper if you will also to have more diversity going forward into the ever-changing climate change unknown. naiolo is more vigorous and so n add some good balance, both more quantity and for freshness in warmer vintages. At San Giusto a Rentennano 15 of 30 hectares are on tufo soil, not exactly volnic but the left over from a receding ocean that left a mix of sand and pebbles of six or so inches over a bank of clay. This plus many large fossil shells makes for sangiovese of medium hue, specific mineral saltiness and a very specific Chianti Classico profile. naiolo is not a factor here.

Estate Vineyard, Monte Bernardi, Panzano

Old is the new agriculture?

There was a profound and at time controversial but always enlightening discussion with Monte Bernardi’s Michael Schmelzer. Michael talked of green harvest, rootstocks, Pietraforte, whole bunch fermentation and instincts. Standing in his Retromarcia Vineyard on a cool but perfectly blue mid-November day I asked him about climate change and what needs to be done about it. n’t say his answers were what I expected. He began with the concept of dropping fruit. “We haven’t dropped since 2007.? We have to think like the old farmers thought. The new way was to have you reduce fruit to make better wine. It’s like losing nutrients in the ground. I look at the wine bunches as on a sle, they’re not unripe, they’re just less ripe. They help me come up to 55 quintali per hectare. I still get acidity and sapidity. For me the concept should be re-examined and re-thought. I look at everything as an asset. You should be using your fruit. What other industry drops 30 per cent of their produce? We should be seeing 30-35 year-old vineyards going to 50-55 years. Overall we’ve lost more than we have gained.”

New Fontodi vineyard, Lamole

Schmelzer continues onto the idea of choosing 110 Richter, instead of the commonly used 420A rootstock, showing how internodes should be the size of a fist and nes as pencil thinness or bigger. “People are compromising beuse they’ve chosen the wrong rootstocks,” he explains. “Granted we’re picking earlier than before but mid to late September is not extreme. We haven’t seen anything yet.”

“The only thing I don’t like is people telling me how to make my Riserva,” are the words of a winemaker who has seen his fair share of rejection. Perhaps I encourage the minor rant beuse there are two sides to every story. Maybe it’s the fault (or the advantage, depending on your perspective) of the rocks. “Brenna Quigley (Napa Geologist) me and made a study of all the famous soils of Chianti Classico and Monte Bernardi was identified as the plot with the hardest Pietraforte of all.” Sa’Etta Vineyard was planted in 1968, now 53 years old (similar to both Monte Bernardi and Tzingana) and trained in double (doppio) Guyot. For stello di Monsanto’s Laura Bianchi the constant posit tug is Guyot vs Sperrone and both exist in a vacuum where necessity is the mother of invention.?

Macigno di Marne, Lamole

In terms of stems Schmelzer’s decisions are essentially instinctual, like that of a cook. “I don’t look at numbers. I feel as a winemaker it’s important to free yourself from technilities and use your instincts. If you follow numbers you will always make a mistake that has to be later corrected.” As for barrel use, “if there is wood in a wine I want it to be so subtle. (Again) thinking like a cook. I’ve more stems, for longer, in post and of course also during maceration. Natural tannins come from the stems in that post-maceration state.” The conclusion lies in how stems are talysts for the polymerization of tannin, without a trace of humidity. Completely secco.

Wines of Lamole

Nowhere is the “old is the new agriculture” refrain spoken with greater clarity than in the Greve frazione and newly minted UGA of Lamole. The spectacular amphitheatre is home to high elevation vineyards of a particular geology where Macigno del Chianti, schist and marl gift a most specific perfume to the sangiovese. Lamole is home to I Fabbri, Lamole di Lamole, Podere stellinuzza, stellinuzza e Piu, Le Masse Di Lamole and stello di Lamole. The UGA also houses one of Chianti Classico’s most famous vineyards, Paolo Cocci’s Vigna Grospoli Antico Lamole, from which several producers have rented fruit to make über-Lamole scented wines. Still others are looking to the frazione to expand on their portfolios, including Podere Poggio Slette (of Jurij Fiore) and Querciabella from the Ruffoli hill in Greve. It is well known that Fontodi’s Giovanni Manetti produces Filetta di Lamole from his cousin’s vineyard but the latest project will take Lamole to an entirely new and different level. Manetti’s new plantation on Macigno di Marne, a wholly singular marine sandstone geology, will be a game changer.

Conzorzio President Giovanni Manetti and Filippo Bartolotta presenting Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

Estate visits, the Chianti Classico Collection and Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi

This is the author’s most comprehensive Chianti Classico report to date. Nearly half of the wines chosen to taste were Annata and this is beuse there were numerous opportunities during estate visits to rell “lost” vintages as a result of the pandemic, along with the newer 2020s and 2019s presented at the collection. In February 2020 the Ambassador Ad Honorem from nada organizes and acts as chaperone to nine compatriots (plus one favolosa Amerina) for five days of exploration throughout the 11 UGAs of the area. sa Chianti Classico, President Manetti, the Consorzio and the producers host La Squadra nadese of sommeliers; John Szabo MS, Nadia Fournier, Scott Zebarth, Kristi Linneboe, Joris Garcia, roline Beaulieu, Hannah Egan-Lee, Natalie Pope and Paige McIntyre. A memorable trip. A month later on day two of the Chianti Classico Collection a masterclass is presented by Italian wine expert Filippo Bartolotta and Consorzio President Giovanni Manetti titled Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi. Chianti Classico wines dating back to 1949 are poured during a most fascinating presentation and study, replete with historil images on screen depicting politil, religious, cinematic, pop cultural, artistic and iconic scenes of Italian heritage, civilization and society. There are moments of white grapes mixing with their counterpart reds, old wines gifting scents and textures as if by Vin Santo and others so clearly a product of when they were made. That the wines show incredibly well owes to the longevity of sangiovese and its perseverance in the poise of Chianti Classico. More on this tasting will be shared through a separate article in the coming days.

The producers with Filippo Bartolotta and Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

Over the course of the four trips to the region in October, November, February and March, 34 estates are visited; Bindi Sergardi, ntalici, sa Emma, rpineta Fontalpino, stell’In Villa, stello di Monsanto, stello di Radda, stello di Volpaia, Cigliano di Sopra, Fattoria dell’Aiola, Fattoria Le Masse, Fattoria di Pomona, Fattoria San Giusto A Rentennano,?Fontodi, I Fabbri, Il Molino di Grace, Il Palagio di Panzano, Isole e Olena, Istine, La Sala, Le Fonti di Panzano, L’Erta di Radda, Monte Bernardi, Montelvi, Podere paccia, Quercia al Poggio, Querciabella, Roc delle Macìe, Roc di Montegrossi, San Felice, Tenuta di rleone, Val delle Corti, Villa lcinaia – Conti pponi and Villa Le Corti – Principe Corsini. During the coming weeks further reports in greater detail will appear on Godello concerning several of these visits.

Walk-around tasting at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

Over two days at the 2022 Chianti Classico Collection more than 650 different wines from 180 gallo nero estates are made available to journalists and trade; 364 Annata, 161 Riserva and 125 Gran Selezione, along with 39 barrel samples from the 2021 vintage. Sales of Chianti Classico wines continue on an upwards steady trend. In 2021 the growth is plus-21 per cent versus 2020 and plus-11 relative to 2019. Through February of 2022 the increase is plus-seven per cent over the same time period of 2021. Grape prices are up 20 per cent, the United States holds strong at 33 per cent sales while nada sits in third place with their 10 per cent share. A prediction towards 11 per cent by the end of 2022 holds strong. The great emergence is South Korea where sales have doubled and quadrupled relative to 2020 and 2021. Not surprising Seoul-based journalist Jung Yong Cho becomes the latest appointee as Chianti Classico Ambassador for 2022.

Godello in Firenze

The structure of the tasting notes remains consistent in terms of running through the three appellative levels but here for the first time each listing includes a mention of the associated UGA. Without attempting to review wines that would result in equal footing there is a good level of equanimity in that all 11 UGAs are well documented. The following 450 tasting notes are broken down as follows: stellina (48); stelnuovo Berardenga (32); Gaiole (59); Greve (30); Lamole (18); Montefioralle (10); Panzano (39); Radda (55); San sciano (28); San Donato in Poggio (34); Vagliagli (25) and IGTs (72). By appellation the number of reviews are: Chianti Classico (201); Chianti Classico Riserva (113) and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (59). By vintage the breakdown is Chianti Classico 2020 (46); CC2019 (110); CC2018 (24); Older vintages (20). Chianti Classico Riserva 2019 (15); CCR2018 (45); CCR2017 (10); CCR2016 (10), Older vintages (33). Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019 (2); CCGS18 (24); CCGS17 (12); CCGS16 (13); Older vintages (9). Vin Santo del Chianti Classico (7). Finally there are sangiovese from 137 estates reviewed in this report, the largest number covered to date.

Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

Arillo In Terrabian Chianti Classico DOCG Sacello 2020


Open and fragrant, south Raddese acidity on display, light and breezy with no oak interference whatsoever. Sacello in lolità Terrabian is a sangiovese joy to sip, so long as someone else is lifting the heavy bottle and pouring your glass. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Banfi is another semi-closed and reductive 2020, not uncommon for the vintage and also surely used in part by just how little time the wine has been in bottle. Cherry fruit and the mild bitterness of the pit dominate the aromas (at this early stage) while texture is pectin and glycerin, strawberry smoothie and a few drops of blood orange bitters. Not getting a real sense of lotion, perhaps herbal like Gaiole and red fruit centric like stellina though savoury as if by San sciano. Take your pick. Regardless of vineyard place this is so very sangiovese, acids et al. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Bertinga Chianti Classico DOCG La Porta Di Vertine 2020


Gaiole savour in all its woods and brush comes clear into aromatics and view through this ’19 Annata, almost vividly so. Deep well of varietal fruit, über sangiovese but more so Gaiole. Good and sweet ’19 tannins are plentiful and there is some green astringency as they pass over the palate. Wait a year and then drink for two more after that. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted March 2022

cio e Pepe on a perfect February day in Firenze

Bibbiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Bibbiano’s is at the forefront of youthfulness in that there is a closed aromatic launch and some reduction needing to blow off before the hounds of charm n be released. Head straight to the palate to be graced with the interspersions of texture and structure, first liquid stellina chalky, then wound around the body of this wine. Sangiovese needs the bottle and with eyes closed those words of Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi play in refrain over and over again. Be patient and kind to his wine and in turn you will be kindly rewarded. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Brania Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

Radda and stellina

Brania 2020 takes the torch from 2019 in so many ways and then again, not in every way. Same fruit exposition and multi-site expression but deep and soulful for 2020, as opposed to bright and airy. More texture and crunch in 2020 while also finest of fine acids. A bigger wine and yet things travel consistently from one vintage through to the next. The new era continues for Barbara Widmer and team. Drink 2022-2026. Tasted March 2022

ntine Guidi Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San Donato in Poggio

From Poggibonsi and a 2020 showing stewed fruit and oxidation. Tasted from two bottles, each showing the same problematic notes.? Tasted March 2022

Artichokes, San sciano

rpineto Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


rpineto’s Greve sangiovese is both unmistakable and akin to wines from another time, of thyme and incense, acids and innocence. You might swear this wine is wearing bell bottoms and preaching about peace and love. Love for the territory and especially the land underfoot. This smells like things that grow, of herbs and tea, resins and saps. Light and with a fluid glycerol feel. Lovely and herbal vintage for the Zaccheo team. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

sa Emma Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San Donato in Poggio

Distinctly sa Emma from their corner of San Donato in Poggio though a bit deeper and darker of a blood orange sanguinity in 2020. Not the lightest or brightest vintage interpretation and really quite smooth, round, even lower in acid. One bottle shows this lm quality and surprising ease but a second bottle exhibits more acid, sharpness and clarity. Still there is a density of fruit and settling that’s a bit inconsistent with previous vintages while the tannins do take charge at the finish. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

stagnoli, stellina

stagnoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


A reminder that Jacopo di Battista is sitting on one of the most striking properties and vineyard at elevation in stellina so proximate to both Radda and Panzano. Here a striking Annata, sharp and also weighty, reductive behind which florals clearly lurk. Rich, luxurious even and with sour acids that infiltrate the drupe. Lots going on here and surely needs tome to settle in. Strange perhaps, misunderstood to a degree and yet all will fall into place. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stellare Di stellina Chianti Classico DOCG stellare 2020


Dusty, high acid, crunchy and lightly acetic sangiovese, not unusual for stellina and stellare, especially when the wine is so young. Tart is the understatement and tight the over, while some sweetness in the structure indites there will be some fine push pull moments not too far way. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stelli Del Grevepesa stelgreve Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

From the cooperative in San sciano and their stelgreve label, new and improved and a darker if more extracted version for the vintage. Not so much the light and bright example but one extracted, juicy, variegated of several points of acidities and really quite dense in texture. Gravity has a gain on stelgreve and this will drink earlier than many. A touch of green and grey is already showing. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

stelli Del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

The San sciano cooperative’s knowable and most recognizable bottle is this Clemente VII, who incidentally was Giulio Zanobi di Giuliano de’ Medici, head of the tholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from November 19, 1523 until his death on September 25, 1534. The wine has not been made quite that long but it is one of the territory’s elder sangiovese statesmen and the 2020 version is a heady and fulsome one indeed. Higher in alcohol than some, concentrated to the fullest extent of the year (and Papal law if you like) with silky texture and sour acids. Classic really. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

UGAs of the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

stello Di Ama Ama Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


A sign of the vintage is at first the declared alcohol (13.5 per cent) but also more than that a dichotomous relationship between lightness of actionability and creeping structural accountability. stello di Ama’s Gaiole sangiovese exhibits these push-pull traits with both dictionary and thesaurus reality. A chiaroscuro Chianti Classico if ever there was, dappling of light against a darker shaded background, fruit swelling in the foreground with chalky grains liquifying throughout and behind. Time is essential and this wine has plenty of time. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Meleto Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Moving from strength to strength here we arrive at 2020 with a fruit-centric stello di Meleto although like many recently bottled of the vintage there is some reduction to blow through. That said there is a depth to Meleto’s ’20 that holds attention for quite a stretch of time. Full and with palpable intensity in a desirably structured sangiovese. Also recognizable as Gaiole in origin, in a nutshell and so exemplary for the UGA. The clarity and understanding of changes are more than evident. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Querceto Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


No shocker that stello di Querceto’s Dudda Valley lotion has produced a light and open-knit sangiovese from the less than round 2020 vintage. Like many others however there is a sly and crafty set of structural circumstances happening and running through this low alcohol (13 per cent declared) wine. Dare it be said old-school Chianti Classico but with modern clarity and charm. Could drink this every day of the week. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello di Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico DOCG San Jacopo 2020


San Jacopo is a Vicchiomaggio understudy, staying at the ready to step in, an Annata that knows all the parts and lines of the estate with it’s range of lead wines. This is straightforward and sure as sangiovese Annata, sturdy, solid and playing a perfectly reasonable support role. Well seasoned but never a wood-driven wine, salt and pepper got just right. The appetizer. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

stello di Vicchiomaggio Chianti Clasico DOCG Guado Alto 2020


Guado and Alto, meaning “a shallow crossing-place in a river” and “high” which seems like an oxymoron but allow me to explain. This second and arguably more important of two Annata by Vicchiomaggio is an über fresh one, lightly rbonic and juicy as a medieval quench from the Greve River. Tart and pulsating, oddly reminding me of poulsard. All this to mean Guado Alto is high-toned while creating a horizontal stretch of Chianti Classico openness.? Drink 2022-2024. Tasted March 2022

With Federi Mascheroni, Volpaia, Radda

stello Di Volpaia Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Freshness inrnate exudes from Volpaia’s 2020 Annata and in fact the wine seems like it has barely achieved its alcohol and malolactic fermentation. In fact at a realistilly labeled 13.5 per cent this from Radda is as beautiful and honest as it gets. Modern as well, stylish, of great attitude and delicious. The Raddese acidity is of course present and accounted for but that fruit. My. Oh My. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

stello La Leccia Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


stello La Leccia’s stellina lotion close to Macìe is northerly yet halfway between Lilliano and Fonterutoli. Certainly a Galestro soil happenstance and with 2020 that geology stands out. Classic and that is meant with the most complimentary commune and UGA commentary, blessed by perfectly lol, parochial and conventional wisdom. Red to hematic blueing and blackening fruit, quite firm and grippy, tart, nearly searing and really driven. Needs time and when it arrives should persist for three to five proper drinking years. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

stello Monterinaldi Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


No other 2020 seems to scent like this from Monterinaldi and so it is more than worth commenting on the sense of place that is their southwestern Radda lotion. Herbal and dried flower potpourri but also something unknowable, intangible, even mysterious. Yes there is some early reduction but it n’t suppress the open-air meets underbrush perfume. Equanimity between maceration and fermentation makes this a ndidate for top mid-term aging Annata, in other words begin drinking soon and make great use for three to four years thereafter. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Colombaio Di Cencio Chianti Classico DOCG Monticello 2020


Colombaio di Cencio presents a Gaiole herbology that’s always inditive and distinctive, sometimes by way of faintly sweet Amaro liqueur. That’s the first and then recurring feeling coming from this 2020, chalky and with acids that slide along with the red fruit speckled with fresh and also dried herbs. The tannins follow the latter with some pretty austere aridity. This will drink well in a few years, that much is certain, but unfortunately the bottle will not get any lighter. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Famiglia Nunzi Conti Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

So young and impressionable, hematic, red blood of sangiovese while fresh, nervy and exciting. Also deep and concerned, dusty brood of San sciano fruit, sottosuolo and fully nuanced earthy flavours. Big, big wine that needs to be looked at again a year forward beuse the youthfulness distracts from the potential. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

With Michaela Morris, Matteo Vacri and Maddalena Fucile, Cigliano di Sopra, San sciano

Fattoria Cigliano Di Sopra Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

The emergence of 2020 is real, right now and while who knows for how long going forward, perhaps with luck and fortuitous execution, the suiting could be seemingly forever. What transpires here is nothing short of an epiphany and even perhaps a Chianti Classico miracle. How the most precociousness and hard work n conspire to make such a beautiful wine is beyond comprehension. But it does not matter beuse it has happened. Grande Maddalena. Bravo Matteo.? Last tasted March 2022

Will be bottled in December so essentially a finished wine. From 10 plots (of 11, one is merlot) facing southeast to southwest. Includes a small part of Vigneto Bran, the name of the fattoria and of who was working there. Here the fifth vintage for Matteo Vacri and Maddalena Fucile is not only mature from a perspective of energy but also both succulence and sapidity that comes from changes, risks and learning what is possible. A bit oaky at this time but really showing what all these plots n effect, with solo sangiovese. No longer about precociousness but instead two winemakers who have arrived. “We don’t re about perfect phenolic maturity,” explains Vacri, “when we feel the bitterness is gone, the tannins are good, then let’s extract.” Extract away young phenoms. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted November 2021

Viola Meacci and Alessandro Polombo, Luiano, San sciano

Fattoria Di Luiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

Classico San sciano as a notion of fresh and aromatic hillside reality, a purity of lolized perpetuity through a glass of light and shadow, dappling, chiaroscuro. Wood creaming the red to black cherry, swirling, making it gelid. Stylish sangiovese in every respect, suave and instructive. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico DOCG Nuovo 2020


Piero Lanza’s 2020 is a bright, effusive and luminescent version of itself in that there seems to be a lightness of being and avoidance of rich density. Quite the aromatic lift this early and time around, floral, like roses, hibiscus and fresh tar, not unlike some Tortonian raised nebbiolo. As sangiovese there is sneaky structure in quantifiably knowable admonition and that is said in the most complimentary of ways. Radda chalk, sand and whole bunch verdancy bring complexities and the struggle is real. Disregard the appellative concept of Annata in part, beuse this should go long. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

stelnuovo Berardenga

Notably dusty and structured right of the top, feeling the wide open stelnuovo airiness, sunshine and tart red fruit substantiality. Poised and restrained by extraction and pressing yet the Annata is a very taut and tight wine when assessed this young. Fèlsina always needs time and 2020 is far from the exception to that rule. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

I Collazzi I Bastioni Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San sciano

Dark if high-toned sangiovese, not atypilly San sciano with first a musky note. Rich and filled with wood salve, creamy and textured, liquid chalky and sweetly tannic. Early signs of soy and tar so drink this early before the fruit turns to earth and mulch. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Angela Fronti, Istine, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

Radda and Gaiole

Just bottled last week, One hundred per cent sangiovese, “a wine to be drinkable,” insists Angela Fronti, “like my grandfather did in the past, at lunch.” A wine of freshness and acidity but also one that n age 10-12 years. Istine was planted in 2000, varchione in 2010 and sanova dell’Aia just a few years ago. All contribute to this Annata and all play a prominent role. If a bit (bottle) shocky no matter beuse Fronti, whether by purpose or promise manages to coax the best of all her fruit sources. What is showing early is this sort of herbaceous bernet franc in sangiovese reality character, fleeting for sure and soon to come into a beautiful place. A reminder that 2020 was THE Covid vintage and so Angela was able to spend every waking moment with her vineyards and the season was neither hot nor cold but just perfectly somewhere in between. Drink 2023-2027.? ?Tasted February 2022

mpione da Botte, L’Erta di Radda

L’Erta Di Radda Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


From a sample labeled mpione da botte, in other words a tank sample. Freshness abounds, Radda style, from the breath of the woods, the cool of the stones and the rise of the hills. Herbal like fresh Genovese basil, spicy that way with a hint of anise and cinnamon. A co-fermentation of sangiovese and naiolo (five per cent), the latter adding le forma, volume and expansione, all of which are self-explanatory. An opposite of linearity, not roundness but a sapid expanse across the palate and in the mouth. This is the harmony pulled and coaxed from the ’20 Annata in a wine that makes you feel but more importantly exists by the dint of how it feels. Full. Not yet bottled but will be soon and truth is while the wine is tight the aromatics and mouthfeel are good to go. Worth a full review. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Maurizio Brogioni Chianti Classico DOCG H’Amorosa 2020


H’Amarosa as in “a love affair” or perhaps “I have a lover,” which could be sangiovese, perhaps Greve in Chianti or in a more broader sense, Chianti Classico. n’t help but think about Jackson Browne, ballads, a splash of merlot and what’s happening these days. In 2020 that would be truth, openness and clarity with respect to the wines which are the storytelling by the producers. Brogioni’s is forthright, specific, real and for everyman. Juicy and in touch with both reality but also emotions. “I had a lover, I don’t think I’d risk another these days, these days.” Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico DOCG Retromarcia 2020


Michael Schmelzer’s 2020 takes up right where everything he had been working on and through in 2019 left off. That is to say full on agricultural indemnity with all fruit all the time in use and winemaking that is afraid of nothing. The silky swarthiness of his ’20 Retromarcia endorsement and structural surety combine for freedom, exception and security. This Retromarcia ushers fruit in waves, oscillations, acetic sweeps and swells, coming at the palate with the full force of laws provided by nature. What happens at Monte Bernardi stays at Monte Bernardi, where lculated inventiveness experiences living life on the edge. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Alessandra Deiana and Michele Braganti, Monteraponi, Radda

Monteraponi Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Monteraponi from Michele Braganti breathes in the high elevation Radda air and exhales with clarity, not to mention exclusivity. Yet another reductive 2020, albeit mildly so and not difficult to coax out of its savoury ndied shell. While tart and even intense there is something mysterious and shadowy in the recesses of this sangiovese’s temperament and intelligence. Something guarded and misunderstood but time will make it all work out right. Keep this away and allow it to soften as it slowly gets to know you. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Montesecondo Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


A baritone beginning, low held Gaiole notes below with red to black fruit above. Not closed yet not expressive or generous either, reticent even and holding out beuse the tannins are in charge. Fruit quality and fleshiness are substantial, as is the wood and so the malic, creamy and sheathing sensation will need to settle before integration opens up the wine. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Podere stellinuzza Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Big but not dense and for Lamole a heady sangiovese from the not so magnanimous Chianti Classico vintage. More than anything it is essential and encouraged to concentrate on the floral aspects of this wine, perfumed to the hilt with that Lamole commodity. Like all the bushy herbs in bloom, of purples and pinks, scenting the air at dusk even if one fails to brush on by. Lovely texture in 2020, mildly glycerol and giving the impression of almost gelid but surely sweet sangiovese fruit. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Podere Poggio Slette Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


There n be no surprise that Jurji Fiore’s 2020 is one of the more transparent and striking scintillants of sangiovese to emerge from out of the verifiable and veritably airy 2020 vintage. Sharp and pointed red limestone fruit off of the Ruffoli hill, rich undercurrent of currants red and also some black, intensity of right bank Greve acidity and tannins to rry this Annata longer than most. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted March 2022

Quercia al Poggio, San Donato in Poggio

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

San Donato in Poggio

The combination of definable and deliverable San Donato in Poggio terroir mixed with vintage compaction makes for this solid, chewy and fulsome Annata. Liquorice and blood orange, a deeper sentiment that for some reason seems to be a frazione thing for this vintage beuse this consistency of full emotive and textural sentiment runs through many of the wines. Look to San Donato in Poggio for more of everything in 2020. The wines are bigger than some of the other UGAs. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Querceto Di stellina Chianti Classico DOCG L’Aura 2020


This is not a Riserva, that is made quite clear from a 100 per cent sangiovese that used to include some merlot. Now a matter of picking and choosing plots from the steep and sloping vineyard starting from the bottom at 450m and rising up to 510. Sees 12 months in 3rd and 4th passage French wood. L’Aura is Iacopo Di Battista’s mother, as in the “aura of Laura” and a label produced since 1998. Not red but ochre-purple limestone literally begets and becomes this Annata, a.k.a fully completely Alberese soil. What comes from 2020 is a doubling down, regardless of appellative level, a wow factor of laser sharp stone cut by even sharper acidity. Edgy balsamic tannins increase the seriousness of this wine. Sell it now if you must but this Annata needs time. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Riecine Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Riecine from Gaiole is the most radiant and glycerin version of itself, clean and concise, grippy yet available almost whenever you find yourself ready and in the sangiovese mood. Not a tart or intense Riecine by any stretch of the imagination, nor is there any real tannic demand. This is meant for now and should be embraced that way. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Incorporates five per cent merlot into the sangiovese, the grapes coming from all four Roc delle Macìe estates. Essential, consistent and knowable for stellina and especially a style that is unwavering as Roc delle Macìe. A wine of layered commune earth, deep and even a bit brooding, so very sangiovese and with real Annata depth. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Roc Di stagnoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Young, taut, impressionable, high-toned and bright red fruit Gaiole Annata, rich in 2020 polyphenols and thiols, quite vibrant and intense. Less herbal than many of its lole and even past iterations of itself while the fruit concentrates and works through the earliest stages of its youth. Fine and meshing the way Annata should and offering beauty above all else. Will drink at peak next year and for four after that. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Marco Rirosli Firidolfi, Roc di Montegrossi, Gaiole

Roc Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico DOCG 2020


Always 90 per cent sangiovese, here with (8) naiolo and (2) colorino. “Quite a regular growing season, warm but never too much,” says Marco Risoli, “and very cool nights.” The main character is first colour in a Classico never stressed by heat and so fruit freshens, with acidity sure to follow. A crunchy Annata, not too hard and not too soft. Picked in the last week of September, late enough for full maturity. Monti (in Gaiole) is a warmer area and while the alcohol checks in at 14 per cent it’s a well-managed and balanced wine all the way through. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Ruffino Chianti Classico DOCG Santedame 2020


Always a different and purposefully designed Annata from Ruffino, so very cherry liqueur, thickened by soil chalk in liquid varietal form. Here sangiovese with help from smoothing international varieties makes for a consistency of Chianti Classico to draw a crowd. Just a bit reductive and hypo-fresh, tart and sour-edged. Not edgy though and smooth as silk. Very professional wine and a good vintage from which to make that happen. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

San Felice Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

stelnuovo Berardenga

A blend of sangiovese, pugnitello and colorino, the same dating back to 2009. Yet another warm vintage though with great changes in agricultural practices this Annata now shows great juicy freshness, especially from 2019 and now through this 2020. The acidity is more than maintained, the wood kept well in the back and this is just up front, accessible and on point. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Tenuta Di mpomaggio Chianti Classico DOCG mpomaggio 2020


Raddese from the start, acids singing, zinging and slinging the lightning red fruit to the fore. In youth clearly dusty while a clarity and purity exists in a vacuum where lightness mixed with barrel make for a truly spirited Chianti Classico. Expressly and dutifully Radda sangiovese. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Terra Di Seta Chianti Classico DOCG 2020

stelnuovo Beradenga

From stelnuovo Beradenga and the Pellegrini farm where the wines are constructed with strict adherence to Glatt Kosher rules. Tart and chewy red fruit with a toasted and roasted quality, in other words cooked but with a light touch and sense of sangiovese gastronomy. As fas as Kosher for Passover wines are considered this Terra di Seta should reside at the top of anyone’s list. As for Chianti Classico it is real and exemplary of place albeit needing food alongside to tame the tannins and prepared food quality of the wine. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Tolaini Chianti Classico DOCG Vallenuova 2020

stelnuovo Berardenga

Vallenuovo from stelnuovo Berardenga’s Tolaini is an extracted, generously macerated and humorously concentrated 2020. There is just something about Tolaini, an aromatic potpourri specific to this wine in great hyperbole. A bit reductive as many are so early in this vessel and yet agitation really does release the charm. A really well constructed Chianti Classico that will appeal to those who look for fullness, especially through the texture and the finish. Drink 2023-2027. Tasted March 2022

Pizzeria Lo Speso in Il Ferrone

Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

Azienda Agricola Mori Concetta Chianti Classico Morino DOCG 2019

San sciano

Purely, expressly and properly San sciano, structured woolly and snugly wrapped around fruit kept warm and nurtured in a blanket of re. Fragrant with fine tannins, “legno,” as it is said. A touch of green that is San sciano beuse of the particular kind of savour and temper. Some minor austerity and demand in these tannins but mostly a sangiovese of land and air to express where it comes from. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Badia A Coltibuono Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Immediate attention is paid to the herbs and resins in the aromas of Badia a Colibuono’s 2019. From the outset this is clear and present Gaiole sangiovese, lol, parochial and a sign of the time. No question the fruit is healthy and substantial but the vinoso quality of all that surrounds is just too blatant to ignore. As are the crisp acids and finely austere tannins. Transparent clarity is a given, as is a structural belief that this Chianti Classico Annata will live long with the best of them.? Last tasted March 2022

A distinctly herbal Annata from Badia a Coltibuono out of 2019, so very Monti with herbs and brush of all iterations. Notably rosemary with undertones of sage, cypress and gariga. The fruit keeps up with the greens but there is no mistaking the minty and pine forest behaviour of this wine. Super herbal, tart cherries and good fruit ripeness. Well managed tannins but those herbs! Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Belvedere mpòli Conte Guicciardini Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

Again it is San sciano that opens up the select savoury gates in an openly fragrant and knit sangiovese that is clearly and unequivolly 100 per cent just that. With thanks to a generous vintage and what is clearly a site that ripens ahead of many, the wine comes out smooth, itself also quite generous and even what could be lled morbido. As easy as varietal Classico gets and ready to go. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Bibbiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Bibbiano’s Annata moves to the rhythm of infinite wisdom, coagulation, conjoining and come together, of dual terroirs, bright red fruit alighting with stern, edging to austerity tannin. The vintage rebelled against is one from which Tommaso Marocchesi Marzi sticks to his guns and creates an Annata of undeniable estate conviction. Needing time and yet smiling that stellina smile, finishing with that spicy Bibbiano spice. n’t think of more than three other Classico at this price that are equal in representation to pour by the glass. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Bindi Sergardi, Vagliagli

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico DOCG La Ghirlanda Tenuta Mocenni 2019


Exuberant Mocenni perfume and one could not help but to be fully cognizant of how expressively floral and stone cool it is. For Annata it gets neither more concentrated nor more in tune with a vineyard than this. So transparent and connected to Mocenni which is how and why Annata’s naked character is so important to explain an estate’s riches and what is possible with the other elevated, concentrated and investigative appellations. Wood is ambitious and justified in such a se, even at this Annata level, for later on. As for now or just around the corner, well that works as well. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico DOCG Ser Gardo 2019


Taken solely from the I Colli Estate’s vineyards in the UGA zone of Vaglialgi at the western edge of stelnuovo Berardenga commune, adjacent the Chianti Colli Senesi, 10 kilometres from Mocenni Estate, 15 minutes house to house. Makes for an antithetil Classico expression to what comes from the Mocenni amphitheatre. The difference is dramatic, higher in pH, lower in acidity, velvety, easier, readier. This 2019 vintage is a prime example, lush, 100 per cent sangiovese ripe, aged no more than six months in used barriques. Picked near to the last week of September, without exception, a week before Mocenni. Just a hint of phenolic chalkiness repeated on the back palate. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted October and November 2021

Borgo Salcetino Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Radda in 100 per cent sangiovese kicks into high acid and elevated tones, lifted and placed in the air above. Quite tart and also tannic, drying over the palate, feeling arid, dusty and enervating. Not a tired wine per se but one that makes you feel this way. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted March 2022

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Vagliagli is the UGA and a 10 per cent combination of same-same colorino and merlot bring some colour and also softness to Borgo Scopeto’s sangiovese face. Crunchy sangiovese that is, well developed from the happy vintage though not without some austerity and grip in the tannin. More so than many vintages for this western stelnuovo estate and the interest lies in how they will integrate and resolve. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted March 2022

faggio Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


faggio so beautifully and comfortably represents Panzano from 2019, fruit at the front, mild structure settling in easily at the back. A pure frazione expression of sangiovese and from a vintage that laid such possibility out on a silver platter. faggio clearly heeded the ll and jumped on the opportunity. Finest Annata from the estate in quite some time. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

ntalici Chianti Classico DOCG Baruffo 2019


Full on Gaiole from Baruffo in 2019, unsurprising and in effect expected from an estate that looks for fullness, wellness and acceptance from their generous wines. All sangiovese and nothing but the great red hope in desire for ntalici and Chianti Classico. Crisp in fact, well seasoned while noticeably tannic yet there is a feeling that you are requested to drink this as soon as possible. Find some Prosciutto di Parma, Fennocchiona and Pecorino for best results. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022


With Filippo and Gioia Cresti, rpineta Fontalpino, stelnuovo Berardenga

rpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

“A wonderful harvest for us and for the farm” tells Gioia Cresti. In terms of UGA this is stelnuovo and as a broad expression this Annata is a micro-version ptured in bottle, of wide open space and air. There are three vineyard lotions, 10 hectares in stelnuovo near to the winery, seven in Dofana (Vagliagli) and three in Montaperti. So fresh, 20 (normal) days on skins and the sweetest tannins available, even for a rpineta Annata. Linear and long, elastilly fleshy and just well, perfect. Yes, Gioia Cresti is a very good winemaker. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

sa Emma Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

A ninety per cent sangiovese with five per cent each naiolo and malvasia nera, fermented in stainless steel and concrete vats, aged one year in tonneaux (500ml), yet 40 per cent remains in barrel. An ideal and balanced vintage, slower to ripen than ’18 with no rush too fast to “fruitiness and complexity.” Also beuse the sub-zone of San Donato in Poggio performs better in warmer vintages. Great freshness, blood orange and intense red fruit but it’s just unnny how this could be nothing but sa Emma sangiovese. Tannins are denser, longer and impressive, the overall feel one that tells us this Annata n go deep. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

saloste Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Notable ripe fruit and also a verdant austerity makes for a wine of two positions, angles and disparate emotions. A sangiovese of floral and also avian display while in delivery of liquorice and bitter herbs. Almost Riserva in style, glycerol and concentration at the fore, the rest waiting in the wings. Needs time. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Ristoro di Lamole

stagnoli Chianti Classico DOCG?2019


stagnoli procures a deeply satisfying and fulsome Annata, ripe and at the ready through a coupling to acidity and a tripling beuse the tannin is fully engaged. Tripped and let loose more like it in a sangiovese of swirls, thrills and intensity. Feels like stellina at elevation with serious Galestro effects for an eventual date with elegance. Five years down the road from vintage it would seem. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted February 2022

stellinuzza E Piu Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Clearly, unequivolly and unmistakably Lamole beuse that perfume jumps from the glass to gain your immediate attention. Part Macigno and part lri, so much vinous resin and a walk through a pine forest. Cool Lamole liqueur, fine pture of 2019 and really just an ideal vintage for e Piu of stellinuzza lineage in their native Lamole habitat. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Dei Rampolla Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Highest level of Panzano richness, depth of fruit and Pietraforte infiltration, allowed to emanate in natural highlights throughout. All these elements are together exhibited in great co-conspiratorial desire. Full on push-pull of sliding sle piques and roundness in a sangiovese that wants to be both and have it all. ky too with merlot plus bernet sauvignon for surety and fruit explosiveness. Substantial and even if some vintages include petit verdot methinks not this one. A “clean” one for Rampolla, as it is said, international in the best possible way. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

stello della Paneretta, San Donato in Poggio

stello Della Paneretta Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

From the San Donato in Poggio property with 404 years of experience behind this upstanding, generous, reful and thorough Annata from the 2019 vintage. The blood orange, red currant and chalky Galestro-Alberese chime n only be from this additional geographil unit, a frazione so distinctive, like the 11:30am Sunday bells that ring through Florence. A perfect time to taste by the way, refreshing, affirming and ready to set one on their way. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Bossi Chianti Classico DOCG C. Berardenga 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

Clear, ernest and ressing fruit is ptured from the open generosity of the 2019 vintage. This stelnuovo Berardenga example shows what 100 per cent sangiovese of warmth and substance n effect for über drinkable Chianti Classico. Bossi’s is readier than many, seasoned by spice more than it exhibits qualities urged on by structure. A slight drying finish indites a few years of life lay ahead. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di cchiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Really parochial and specific, a Monti in Chianti Galestro gifted CC, aromatic yet wound quite tight. Sheds some perfumed Gaiole light on the state and possibility in this mainly sangiovese wine that receives minor support from endemic and pH supporting roles provided by naiolo and malvasia nera. Good promise may just result in better fortune should you give this and the austere tannin some time. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico DOCG valiere d’Oro 2019

San sciano

While Gabbiano produces large volumes of other denominational wines it needs reminding that their Chianti Classico numbers are signifintly lower and the attention paid to these wines spares no emotion, attention or expense. Economies of sle allow for bargain pricing and the wines over deliver at all appellative levels. se in point the valiere d’Oro 2019, fragrant and graceful, salutary acids riding shotgun to promising fruit like a well orchestrated pack with Galestro-driven tannin. Everything together, delivering the goods and for the money. Almost unbeatable. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Meleto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


With 763 years existence and experience behind this 2019 Annata you just know someone has a distinct territorial advantage. stello di Meleto’s is quite rich, luxe and creamy for Annata and especially Gaiol, but is comes replete with great and preserving parochial acidity. That and sweet herbs, brushy savour and long strides. Solid, fresh for the vintage and the estate. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

With Laura Bianchi, stello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

A vintage with more Riserva in a five to one ratio (to Annata) when usually the numbers are four to one. Of course more savour and grip than 2018 and long-chained tannins. The length is not merely outstanding in fact it resonates through all the senses, including there at which the quotidian and fantastic converge. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021?and February 2022

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Mainly sangiovese with 10 per cent colorino and naiolo, from a diplomatic vintage, promising of quality and generous of quantity. For estate director Stefano Peruzzi it is harmonious and very much like 2016. Such a professionally composed and pragmatilly styled Chianti Classico, not what could be lled luxe or lush though clearly balanced in its fruit to acid compendium. Delivers a purity of citrus crunch and is surely a design of tradition and place. While you feel a slight malo creaminess this is not a question of texture but one that speaks in fresh sangiovese tones specific to these lower hills of Radda.? Last tasted March 2022

A fine vintage here for stello di Radda with their well-judged, sweetly sumptuous and succulent sangiovese. Shows a level of consistency in place that may have or would not have been possible just ten years ago. Warmer vintages and dedited agricultural concern elevate the year after year game. In 2019 the acids and spices merge, unite and fixate on the fruit for a lovely circular swirl of freshness, vim and flavour. Really fine in nine. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

stello Di Verrazzano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Really sweet perfumed Montefioralle entry from Verrazzano’s endemic and impartible Annata, mainly sangiovese with five per cent “other” autochthonous varieties. One of the most cherry red Chianti Classico in every respect; hue, aroma and flavour, then finishing with the slightest bitter pit. Just that touch of green in the tannin mixed with the purity of acidity makes this really sing. A song for Montefioralle. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Volpaia Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


No doubt that Chianti Classico will always be fresh and spirited from Volpaia but it somehow finds a way in every vintage to become increasingly fluid, silky, clear and beautiful. The upper vineyards are helping more and more every year, plus a team working the vines and the wines together for more than 20 years. Yet this vintage still shows some backbone while overall much of the story remains to unfold and be told. Re-visit next year and the one after that for the emergence of the full story. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Filippo Bartolotta presents Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

stelvecchi Chianti Classico DOCG potondo 2019


Lovely textured vintage for the potondo in full pture of rich and ripe fruit. Some grip in tannin but mainly acidity that elevates and perches the substantial sangiovese up where it belongs in the Radda ether and with 2019 as the backdrop. Great work for the vintage. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Cinciano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

An ancient sea salty and airy western Chianti Classico sangiovese from Cinciano does Poggibonsi/San Donato in Poggio proud if in just a bit of its owns speacial and ulterior way. Always that silky, glycerol and substantial fruit ahead of all else. Beauty and purity, ease and such drink-ability. At the height of that ideal from 2019. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Colle Bereto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


So very Radda from Bernardo Bianchi’s ’19 Annata, fruit and acid structure in the arena of the cool while plenty of both preside. Only a small percentage of colorino shades the sangiovese from red to further red and the palate is simply sangiovese. There are parts iron and others blood orange out of 2019, fruit sorted to optimum purity and the least amount of bitters pressed into the hull of the wine. Quite structured and as always, impressive. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Condoro Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Condoro is stellina on the western front, quietly aromatic and shilling the high toned, almost acetic style from the western edge of the central valley. Quite tart and astringent, more parts that make this tough and out of balance. Drink 2022.? Tasted March 2022

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Fine and far from presumptuous Annata here from Il Conte, exemplary of a Greve, digging a bit deeper into Montefioralle sangiovese. Firm of dark and even dusty fruit, antsy and a bit racy while still this youthful, unsettled and needing time. Firm and grippy for the vintage, absolutely lcinaia in style and a true representation of the multifarious estate soils. Drink 2024-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Dievole Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


From the geographil zone of Vagliagli in the western section of stelnuovo Berardenga commune and a sangiovese augmented by seven per cent naiolo plus (3) colorino grown at 335m. Spends 13 months in 41 hl (untoasted) French oak barrels. Classicism inrnate for the territory with a Vagliagli twist, über savoury, youthful and fuelled by stone-strewn Alberese (limestone) vineyards. Creates a tannic austerity and a request for allowing this sangiovese Annata time to flesh out and settle in. Two years minimum, after which the very cherry fruit will act more aromatilly expressive. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted December 2021

Dievole Chianti Classico DOCG Petrignano 2019


Petrignano is what Dievole assigns the lede of “a nuova voce del Chianti Classico,” a new voice, especially at the Annata level. The Gran Selezione is from Vigna Sessina and here 2019 is spoken through the younger vines and more precocious if not fully yet understood vineyard of Petrignano. Certainly a fresh and savoury Annata, sour citrus chalky and very primary. Almost nouveau but without the rbonic yet still this is as light and potentially sumptuous as it gets. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

Matteo Vacri and Maddalena Fucile, Cigliano di Sopra, San sciano

Fattoria Cigliano Di Sopra Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

This the fourth vintage of Maddalena Fucile and Matteo Vacri’s Chianti Classico takes the next step, with a level of sweet acidity that really moves your palate and also beuse decreased wood does less to distract as much as in ’17 and ’18. Also de-stemmed by hand (as opposed to a new machine that will do a much better job in 2020), so here there is also some crushing. While there is some efficy and esculente essence in the tannins there is also a delite nature about this San sciano sangiovese. Very good energy, very river stone, sand-felt and also by a little bit of Galestro rolled into one fine and lengthy Chianti Classico. Good tannin management is executed with precocious acumen with help from adding the previous year’s lees in the bottle. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Fattoria della’Aiola Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Mainly sangiovese with 10 per cent merlot and colorino aged in large botti plus stainless steel. Pitchy purple, Galestro meeting Macigno silk, mid-weight compaction and concern. Tannins are equalizing with the wood making a textural statement in a Vagliagli with good linger. Not a flashy Chianti Classico but one entrenched in the UGA soil. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Di Montecchio Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

The Annata of Montecchio always express a deeper San Donato in Poggio, classilly citrus and red fruit meeting salumi cure, but there is always more. To the story and the point, Annata from 2019 gives earth, juice bled through stone and clay. If other UGAs are akin to Santenay than this Barberino Tavarnelle could be compared to say, Volnay. In sangiovese of course and Montecchio accedes to a Villages level, here in their suitably hyperbolic Annata. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria La Leccia Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Beautifully blood orange sangiovese from stellina’s La Leccia, fully equipped with red citrus, even some pink grapefruit. Then the structure and the verdancy take charge, especially on the palate, with some tannin unresolved and yet other structural parts that will work overtime to make the grade. Wait a year or two in any se. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Claudio, Cristina and Sole, Fattoria Le Masse, San Donato in Poggio

Fattoria Le Masse Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

“To me, one of the best years for grapes,” tells winemaker Claudio Gozzi and the wood tank used for fermentation and now aging makes this noticeably a year wiser (than 2018) and so much more suitable to making this 100 per cent sangiovese. Even without tasting you n tell there’s a refinement, a lm and a settling that 2018 does not have. Cleaner, much more precision and seamless behaviour. Perfect volatility, sweet acidity and long, fine chains of tannin. Pure and honest, exacting, readier and will be just ideal with another year or so of time. Approximately 7,500 bottles produced. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico DOCG Nuovo 2019


Fulsome and so purposefully developed sangiovese from Piero Lanza’s roll and sway of a Radda vineyard. Gelid yet tumbling and even a bit cumbersome while this youthful but what Poggerino is given is what Poggerino gives back. Strength over power, headiness over density, reality over headlines. A full and satisfying Chianti Classico with so much integrity in correct alignment with this place. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Pomona Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Yet another Pomona Annata pretty in pulchritude, handsome in heavenly sangiovese and grande by the goodness of grace. The blood orange by jove of sangiovese juiced for success. Trust when you hear that Moni Raspi’s cloudy ferments look like they will never clarify, purify and deliver the message of her stellina vineyards but they have and they do. There is risk and leaps of faith in her work but she is a true scientist with artistic style and merit. She makes great Annata and more with 2019 being a new launching pad to prove the point.? Last tasted February 2022

The flesh and full palate address continues where 2018 left off though there is an openness to ’19 that speaks to more warmth and a weightiness of developed tannin. Of comports in structural components, polymerizing commotions and long chains of conveyance. Bread as sustenance and life from a 100 per cent sangiovese Annata out of Moni Raspi’s Sant’Ilario and Vigna del Termine vineyards teaming up for ress and no distress. Oh sweet Chianti Classico surrender, “I’d be a fool to try to espe you.” Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Fattoria Santo Stefano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Greve and 100 per cent sangiovese, super Greve in fact, heady, sturdy, red lightning cherry and volumetric in terms of substance, alcohol and structure. Linear, translucent, dusty-savoury with more texture and silky consistency than what may have first been ascertained. Quietly aromatic yet attractively informative. Not what should be considered or lled a crushable wine beuse all the constituent parts are solid, in tact, tactful and together. Almost seamless and perhaps an estate en route to being (almost) famous. Drink 2024–2028.? Tasted February and March 2022

Felciano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Panzano and 100 per cent sangiovese, without a shadow of a doubt on either front, chewy and fulsome fruit, lots of sun and ripeness, chalky Galestro and perhaps even Pietraforte-induced structure. Acids are quite high for 2019 but then again it’s all sangiovese so why be surprised. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Giovanni and Bernardo Manetti, Fontodi, Panzano

Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Giovanni Manetti explains “I have over 20 hectares of over 40 years. Even if there are 20-30 days separating the picking from start to finish in a vintage there is always a marker, especially with sangiovese. And with old vines they are not nearly as susceptible to stressors. This Vigna del Sorbo will succeed, even with all of the (climate events and vintage stressors) mentioned here.” Annata 2019 was bottled in July and is not yet released. “The vintage of balance, pleasant wines, very charming.” That said also toned musculature, grip, fineness of tannins. Plenty of acidity, here at 6.50 tA, chalky liquidity, round enough to offer an immensity of early pleasure. Don’t be fooled into thinking ’19 is simply for the here and now as longevity is a guarantee. This was known from the start when the wines were in tank, showing great perfume and tasting with Fontodi freshness and acidity. Not easy drinking but drinkable, with Panzano resin and parochial acidity. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Lamole di Fontodi

Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG Filetta Di Lamole 2019


Filetta waits its turn, always the last picked vineyard in Lamole and as with 2018 October 10th was the date for Fontodi’s fruit. Giovanni’s cousin owns the vineyard and records date back to 1045, rare and historic for Chianti Classico. A restrained, elastic and finessed vintage is 2019, blessed with the Lamole perfume, blood orange addendum and Fontodi body. Not a vintage of power or strength and so much more so Lamole which makes one wonder just how cool climate accentuated the other producers’ 2019s will be. Other vintages of Filetta have been fine, even ressing and reaching levels of deep understanding but 2019 is more of a pop and pour vintage with true frazione acids and a harmonizing palate creaminess. Drink this while ’18 continues to settle in. Drink 2022-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Frescobaldi’s Tenuta Perano takes full advantage of the white lreous soils to set upon a path for and with great vintage promise. The sangiovese in this bottle is smooth, suave and mineral, tart and full on gregarious of a specific Gaiole tang. A drinkable Annata, tried and true, delicious, accessible and yet nary a moment of flaccidity or softness abounds. Ideal for three years on without any concern for devolution or change. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Gagliole Chianti Classico DOCG Rubiolo 2019


Panzano sangiovese does not get any more pure, transparent and fulsome than Rubiolo, all the while spoken in utmost clarity. Not full, nor heady, nigh density neither. Think sweetness, aromatilly lling, fruit speaking. Seasoning, not salt and pepper necessarily but spices unnamed, unthought, undeclared. An old friend dressed so dapper, not perfectly pressed but characterful and timeless. Like music played as adagio with very slight dynamic change, aesthetics and script expressed in equally essential concentration. The Annata you want. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted March 2022

I Collazzi I Bastioni Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

Woody, savoury and sour-edged sangiovese, tart and oddly confected. Quick and if stylish in its own way the San sciano aspect is covered by the wood and the work. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Susanna Grassi, I Fabbri, Lamole

I Fabbri Olinto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Olinto, always from the highest elevation, Lamole perfume up to 11 where there is also some merlot planted, at 12 per cent part of the blend and again no barrel. Freshness at the highest premium and with the merlot so ripe with thanks to vine age and warmer climate conditions, a wine so drinkable you could hardly believe the truth. Beauty in florals inrnate, especially violets and ndied iris, juicy if peppery pansy and nasturtium. Last tasted February 2022

Aside from the upfront, obvious and always beautiful I Fabbri as a function of Lamole perfume there is this incredulous ripeness and sweetness of fruit. Disbelieving beuse of the elevation and how it was once virtually impossible to achieve such sugar and phenolic ripeness in this part of Greve for Chianti Classico wines. The 20 per cent merlot is just so apropos for blending into sangiovese, from this most generous vintage and to tame the high level of acidity. While this classic normale from Susanna Grassi is about as crushable as any 2019 one n’t help but wonder if sangiovese needed no help this time around. No matter really. Just enjoy. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October and November 2021

I Fabbri Chianti Classico DOCG Lamole Olinto Grassie E Figlio 2019


Not that other vintages are lacking the clarity of Lamole perfume and terroir but 2019 brings the want and desire beyond the frazione’s intangibles. They being flesh and mid-palate, again not absent in other years though magnified, elastic and extra from 19’s warm generosity. Great thanks and aromatic response, more than this in the ways of accession, reach and scope. Purely Lamole plus, plus. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted February 2022

La Squadra nadese at I Fabbri, Lamole

I Fabbri Chianti Classico DOCG Terra Di Lamole 2019


The top “tier” Annata in Susanna Fabbri’s range is this main terroir sangiovese, the Terre di Lamole. Lamole at heights, in hyperbole, expressive and of course, so very perfumed. A veritable potpourri of Macigno del Chianti and all the florals imagined, tied up in one red petalled, native herb and mineral bouquet. Grace and understated charm, seamlessness and the sort of structure that build and builds but does so without mortar between the stones. Natural and beautiful. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


The Solo Sangiovese Annata (and listed as such only on Amerin labels), bottled just three weeks ago, über fresh, a picture perfect vintage for all appellative levels but beginning here with sangiovese. So easy to drink, very pure, balanced, all things “it has to be beuse this is Chianti Classico, not Gran Selezione,” explains and insists Iacopo Morganti. Less acidity than ’18 but more than ample amount to strike an accord with ideally reasoned and ripened fruit. Picked in October and you’d know but not know it. Really like the liquorice chew in this sangiovese, it sticks to and along with you. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Il Palagio Di Panzano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


More than promising and beautiful vintage for Monia Piccini’s Annata but a true Panzano expression of the swift and the sweet, patterned and handsome. Draws from vineyard blocks ever evolving and not from those one step short of necessary ripeness. Even keel and a knowledge meeting emotion just right for a wine like this. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Istine Estate Vineyard, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

Radda and Gaiole

Made from the first pass in all of Angela Fronti’s vineyards, two in Radda and three in Gaiole, although the philosophy is to concentrate on Radda beuse that is the home-front and there is a prejudice provided by what happens through the vintage. That said Angela waits a full year before deciding where the grapes end up, as “the most objective approach.” A decent yielding vintage comparatively speaking and a Chianti Classico in 2019 as generous and round as Fronti has ever made. But in truth the Radda plus Gaiole freshness times savour multiplied by sapidity results in a quotient of great cumulative respect. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Istine Chianti Classico DOCG Vigna Istine 2019


One must have to look at, walk this and stand in awe of of this vineyard, the steepness at 30-50 per cent grade with a terrace in the middle to break it up. Heavy in Alberese inclusive of massive yellow lreous boulders and also Galestro. In fact the medium stones removed were transferred to create terraces for olive trees on the other side of the ntina (by Angela Fronti’s father no less). The vineyard faces north so the freshness is off the charts, while the ripeness is so matter of purposeful vintage fact. The label represents the position of the vines in coordinates, echoed in the machicolations of a Fronti sangiovese that drops all the Radda stones on unsuspecting palates through fruit openings between supporting acid corbels of a projecting tannic parapet. Vigna Istine is at the forefront of Chianti Classico’s battle to win over the world. Follow this example. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Istine, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico DOCG Vigna sanova Dell’Aia 2019


Smaller stones in Alberese and Galestro soils, in Radda, a four hectare plot where trebbiano and malvasia bian are also planted. The older plantings, their clones and density were not up to snuff so Angela restored and re-planted several years ago. The vines are just now coming into Raddese fruition. That zonal acidity is wholly unique and really shows through in this single-vineyard sangiovese, even if the breadth, complexity and power are not yet there, though elegance, charm and great possibility surely are. Look to 2021 for high end results. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Istine Chianti Classico DOCG Vigna varchione 2019


Less rocky than the Radda vineyards, here a single steep block surrounded by forest everywhere and picked ahead of sanova, therefore for 2019 in mid-September. The richest of the single vineyard Classico crus, a wine of texture, integration and qualcosa di varchione, a fullness and a feeling of Gaiole woods, herbals, distillate and brush. The under, over and what’s growing all round. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

The 2019 has some spice, that much is true and that is the result of selection, ideally suited sangioivese clones and the pH directive brought about by some of Chianti Classico’s finest naiolo. Fermented in stainless, aged in medium sized oak barrels, but older ones. Has entered a more structured and tannic stage and it may be wondered if that is the norm. Yes tells Paolo, when first in bottle there is freshness and fruit, then after a few months it closes in before opening up again the following summer.? Last tasted February 2022

Bottled only one month ago and a vintage that brings a pragmatic smile to Paolo de Marchi’s face, with thanks to good volume meeting even better quality. As a vintage “easier than 2015,” tells de Marchi, “which for Cepparello was a bernet vintage.” Wink-wink. Here 15 per cent naiolo intersects with sangiovese for a perfectly timed and executed balance between pH and acidity. “There’s always naiolo in my Chianti Classico,” says Paolo and the truth lies in the generosity of both aromatics and structure. The 2018 was a more uneven season and the wine it produced is actually quite ready to drink, so why wait on it? The 2019 on the other hand has it all, from a growing period so facile and while more difficult to manage during fermentation (not to mention de Marchi’s battle with pneumonia) the end result is a Chianti Classico emblematic of Olena and one to see evolve slowly over a ten to 12 year stretch. Drink 2023-2030.? Tasted October 2021

sole, Lamole

Lamole Di Lamole Chianti Classico DOCG Duelame 2019


The yellow to brown (or tan) label from Lamole di Lamole is the high-toned, highest of UGA acid sangiovese. Even a five per cent of pH balancing naiolo does not seem to tame the acidity in this lightning red sangiovese. That said the wood brings a creaminess and an accentuation of malic meets morbido texture. Curious Lamole, characterful to be sure. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Lamole Di Lamole Chianti Classico DOCG Maggiolo 2019


From 2019 the UGA’s estate coupling of nomenclature and doubling of additional geographic denominational vernacular finds beauty and silk road length. This sangiovese digs deep into the Macigno, Galestro and Alberese for a wide-ranging, multi-layered and form fitting Chianti Classico. Drink early. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

La Sala Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

Mainly sangiovese (95 per cent) and merlot in large format wood, beuse tells oenologist Stefano di Blasi “in general in Chianti Classico we are moving away from small barrels and into large sk.” Gateway sangiovese drug in that there is a plushness, softness and accessibility but also a purity and a San sciano honesty. If the intention is honourable then you n drink this right now but also five years forward for a most positive result. An exacting wine from La Sala nel Chianti Classico, a comment so suitable for an estate in territorial description. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Le Cinciole Chianti Classico 2019


The Panzano work of Valeria Viganò and Lu Orsini travels from strength to strength and while this ’19 Annata was only bottled one month ago it shows the best freshness and right kind of crunchiness here at the Chianti Classico Collection. Indelibly stamped with Le Cinciole and Panzano terroir, a combination of earth and fruit showing as well as any these days. n’t help but relish the level of tart and eye-popping flavours with an immediacy of early drinking possibility. Terrific Annata in every respect. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Le Miccine Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Le Miccine is truly, ostensibly and unequivolly Gaiole sangiovese what with the herbs and brush coming straight out of the forests of the UGA’s hills. It is also an Annata of great vintage ripeness, generosity and flesh. Deliciously delivered, well crafted and perfectly suitable for now plus five years forward. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Le Muricce Chianti Classico DOCG Leccione 2019


Le Murrice is a producer from Greve in Chianti with wines also made from lands north of the territory. The Greve (100 per cent) sangiovese is this Leccione, tart and lactic, old-school yet with a young and promising heart. Lacking some fruit and relies on winemaking to create a Chianti Classico experience, mostly succeeding though not really delivering Greve. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted March 2022

L’erta Di Radda Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Same work as is done in 2020 with five per cent naiolo in a vintage of more body and yet similar soul to the year that will follow. Definitely fuller and just as expansive but a touch rounder in 2019. Was a 25-27 day maceration, a week longer than L’Erta di Radda norm. Was released in September 2021 and will soon be sold through to allow the ’20 Annata to hit the market, likely in June.? Last tasted March 2022

Grown together so essentially a field blend and Diego Finocchi likes to use some naiolo (five per cent) beuse it adds more pH to the wine, up to 3.5-3.65 compared to the 3.0-3.1 of sangiovese. But just the five per cent beuse it brings up that pH so that there is a salty sensation on the palate while the sapidity and freshness are guaranteed as well. Diego has also figured out over the last five years to allow his fruit to hang for seven to 10 more days, finding balance and with that extra pH, total harmony in his Chianti Classico. Alcohol is not considered and need not be beuse balance is everything, as witnessed by this pitch perfect Annata. Co-fermented and in terms of next up for Chianti Classico this is the one you have to try, taste and understand. Of structure that suspends for so long. A Classico epiphany. Only 14,000 bottles made. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted November 2021

Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Fleshy and refreshing will best describe the Mazzei Annata from 2019, a sangiovese-plus example from stellina well heeded of fruit and looking to be given immediate attention. In return it will offer immediate gratifition. Drink now and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Michael Schmelzer, Monte Bernardi, Panzano

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico DOCG Sangió 2019


Panzano vineyard purchased in December of 2018, of Pietraforte and Galestro. Sala is the name of the property, in conversion to organics and biodynamics, this being the first vintage of this wine from that property. Ripens at or earlier than Monte Bernardi, a place of higher winds and also sun. No stem usage yet in the first year beuse Michael Schmelzer feels that he needs to get a grip on the place but starting from 2020 stems are in the mix. Comes across like blood orange, a factor of heat and wind, with ripe tannins as a brightness from a young vineyard’s fruit. A sangiovese moving towards complex dynamism yet for now the opposite of cyclil viscous movement, angles rounded and such a crunchy wine. Brightness inrnate. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico DOCG Retromarcia 2019


A vintage of great fruit and acidity so heavy stem usage and also beuse Michael Schmelzer learned from a minor mistake in 2017. That vintage had better acidity then anticipated and so more stem use should have been employed. “I love the vintage, though I like the classic vintages more, like ’16 and ’18.” Here the high tannin quality and that acidity is really about as good as it gets. “I want people to think I make great wines but then find out they happen to be natural. It’s not a goal.” Everything is in check and all the edginess is just right there, lift, animal, swarthiness and grip. “Anaerobic winemaking is to me a broken idea. We see this in wines that preserve oxidative character.” And so this is a wine that will not fall apart as it ages. Here an Annata that will go well into ten-plus years.? Drink 2022-2028. Tasted November 2021

Montelvi Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


A portion is whole cluster somewhere in the 20-25 per cent range, at once a precise number and yet vague enough to not be held accountable. Also a portion left on skins for more than two months time. Clearly a wine in which the winemaker (Tim Manning) held no fear of volatile acidity and this sits well under the threshold. Not exactly a 100 per cent sangiovese beuse there are some rows of naiolo and also nina nera but not enough to quantify a percentage. Surely a wine of texture and what feels like a “thickened” acidity meaning there is no sear, certainly not out of fear and as a sangiovese is really quite near and dear. Darker cherry incidentally in a Chianti Classico that feels like tradition albeit new and in a very tactile way. I feel the touch.? Last tasted March 2022

Just a lovely, lm and inviting entry into Classico Annata, equalized by a harmoniously seasoned palate w,ell-integrated and equanimous set of sweet acidity and fine tannin. Modern and beautiful, fresh and refreshing, wood a player while also serving to make things whole. Drink early and often. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Montefioralle Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Getting to know the eponymous producer Montefioralle’s arch classic and definitive Montefioralle Classico is not easy beuse when you make so few bottles only a select number of people n actually access to taste. They are now in Ontario and if fortune smiles you will note the stealth savoury character and lithe swarthiness, the ndid accessibility and clean groove running throughout. If 2019 is a perfect vintage for this Annata I nnot say but it naturally fits the Montefioralle UGA’s vernacular, softly spoken, in clarity and also humility. What may be referred to athletilly as a natural. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Monterotondo Chianti Classico DOCG Vigna Vaggiolata 2019


Dusty in youthful tonality for this 85 per cent Gaiole sangiovese in which naiolo and malvasia nera bring the extra added seasoning into the multi-endemic varietal mix. Baking spice, of cinnamon and nutmeg, then savouries, by cumin and coriander, finishing with grasses, of stem and hay. Liquid wood salve texture changes the gears, adds to the credibility and creativity, even the complexity. Needs time to try and come together. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Chianti Classico Edution in Toronto

Nittardi Chianti Classico DOCG sanuova Di Nittardi La Doghessa 2019


Full juiced, pressed and throttled Annata here from 2019, deep, toasty and firm. All the fruit and more, berries, cherries and plum, tart and dependent on acids for support. That they receive and then some, especially with the level of tannic thrush so purposefully aligned. This is sangiovese that needs the bottle as much as any so oblige and set what bottles you own aside. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Ormanni Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

Talk about the passion and sangiovese needing the bottle. Thankfully Ormanni and so many Chianti Classico have time. Thankfully the world is opening to a deeper understanding that sangiovese must be given respect and an open-ended line. The dust and the cries in this wine need to settle, the tannins lm down and the fruit be allowed to shine. It is there, all red leathery, juicy and tart, finishing on a quivering astringent string note. Bof Compte A Rebours. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Panzanello Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


High level of volatility surrounds and distracts from quality richness in fruit aching to be heard. Panzano does not often exhibit this high level of VA and so the maceration here went on just a bit long, followed by a pressing off that brought some angst along for the ride. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted March 2022

Pasolini Dall’onda Chianti Classico DOCG Pio 7 2019

San Donato in Poggio

Here from San Donato in Poggio comes a lovely if modern sangiovese augmented by “other varieties” but the push-pull, acid-pH balance seems to be a blessing of naiolo in disguise. Merlot likely, as well if in addition to another international party due to the verdant and creamy swirl running through the blood orange and sanguine expression of this wine. Either way this is strawberry-cherry San Donato in Poggio as filling in a savoury polenta ke. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Pensieri Di vatina Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

The sangiovese from stelnuovo Berardenga is always another animal, openly fragrant, expansive and then deep on the palate. Just look at the place and then it would be impossible to wonder why. Pensieri di vatina’s is just this, full of air, sandy-salty and then fruit that layers in leathery roll-up style. Thought the tannins were just a bit gritty but they roll along and cover the fruit with equally proper style. Good work here and one to really consider. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Poci Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Poci is loted in the southwest corner of Radda in close proximity to parts of stellina, stelnuovo (Vagliagli) and also Gaiole. A unique lotion and one to inspire characterful if singular sangiovese. There is a warmth and a depth to this ’19 Annata, and an affinity with Brania in the way it combines freshness with that depth. There is a good amount of chew here in a wine to really sink your teeth into. Seems a bit toasty now but that should settle down before too long. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Winemaker Alyson Morgan, Podere paccia, Radda

Podere paccia Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Not only is 2019 an über fresh Annata vintage but see where is lands when tasting it side by side and each with the previous ’18 and before that ’17, both of which remain just about as fresh as they were last year and the one before. The level of aromatic concentration here is simply off the charts, olfactory opening and mind expanding. That said you feel the botti still, something that has melted away from the others even while their fruit remains fully intact. Part early life and part bigger vintage but ultimately the bar is raised and the 2019 is just a gorgeous wine. Flavour and texture work in hoots to rry the load and allow this Annata to exhale and then inhale for several years of confidence and pleasure. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Podere stellinuzza Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Lamole perfume straight away, up front and knowable, floral but more so a matter of herbs and fungi, legumes and grasses all mulched into an aromatic potpourri. Silky and savoury, a sangiovese of clarity with thanks to vintage mainly, serving to accentuate but also openly lculate a sense of place. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Podere Cianfanelli Chianti Classico DOCG Cianfanello 2019


From Greve and understandably so, fruit well developed, ripe and full, good depth overall. Not overtly aromatic yet a broad potpourri emits. Quite concentrated, pressed and tannic. Traditional and knowable. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Podere La ppella Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

Ah the beauty and grace of San Donato in Poggio and in these Rossini hands a stunning 2019 Annata. Aromatic elation, exultant floral lift and mineral euphoria. Fruit so stylish and defined, a dignity of stone and elements run through, nothing out of place, all following a line as if on a circle. A wine that always comes back to where it started while fleshing and gaining traction, picking up subtleties but most of all concentrating in succulence. While the expression is clearly San Donato in Poggio, Podere La ppella’s particular limestone terroir just n’t be missed, especially in an open and generous vintage such as this from 2019. Juiced orange, bloody, tart and health affirming, bled white stone and a soil gifting purity speak pure Colombino. There is so much to love and appreciate about the grace in this sangiovese. This is Bruno and Natascia Rossini’s land and style. Drink now and whenever, even forever. Drink 2022-2029.? Tasted February and March 2022

Podere Lecci E Brocchi Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

From stelnuovo Berardenga and dramatilly so, big and open hearted, well filled with red fruit syrup of sangiovese liqueur. Lots of pressing here, concentration and some heavy, weighty and full tannins are the result. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

La Londa Di Pietracupa, San Donato in Poggio

Poggio Al Sole Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

From San Donato in Poggio and a sanguine mix of iron and orange, mixed soil sensations and really quite classic frazione feels. Builds tannins, climbs, develops and shows off its range. Plenty of wine her, quite exemplary and designed to hold steadfast for up to five years. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

Poggio Bonelli’s Annata from 2019 is quite advanced and so ready to drink as if a three or four year-old sangioivese were in your glass. Earth and musky animale lead the aromatic front with a minor amount of Brett to naturalize and synthesize with the chewy red fruit. Acids are sour-edged and follow right in line. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

Pratale Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

Gets neither brighter nor further blessed of red fruit than this star of San sciano. No missing the mineral element neither, in fact there is a schist, marl and river stone stream running through the plush and succulent fruit in this stellar example of Classico sangiovese. Good tannic delivery at the end is tart and drying yet properly austere. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

Principe Duccio Corsini, Villa Le Corti, San sciano

Principe Corsini Le Corti Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

A “complited spring,” tells Duccio Corsini, not an overheated summer and good harvest, done before the end of the first week of October. Good yielding though for Le Corti it rests at just under six tonnes per hectare, well below the appellative “disciplinare,” i.e. production code. Sealed under Diam #5, classilly Le Corti river stone savoury, with five per cent colorino. Full textured while maintaining the Corsini seasoning and San sciano vim. Succulent acids, lengthy tannins and early integration. Especially for 2019, urged on by aging in concrete tanks. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Pruneto Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Seems to be the Pruneto Annata vintage we’ve all been waiting for. Such sangiovese air and breaths of freshness are welcome with arms and palates open wide. Great fruit man, pure cherries and then this feeling of distillate. Crisp and fresh with Raddese acidity and also herbology safely tucked within. Approach with na?veté and also know that aging is within the communal rds. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Querceto Di stellina Chianti Classico DOCG L’Aura 2019


Similar to the upcoming 2020 in that the heavy prevalence of Alberese soil wants to take control, even at the Annata level. A 2019 of wild berry, balsam and full peppery piqued sangiovese seasoning and enough freshness if rounded in ways that make for a most accessible Annata. Already evolving ever so slightly this way and it is said that L’Aura rounds by wood, if on a sle so incrementally minor as compared to 2020. Truth be told this is as much like Radda than it is stellina. Border proximity and elevation are responsible for this very fact. Drink 2023-2027. Tasted February 2022

Winemaker Manfred Ing, Querciabella, Greve

Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

Greve, Gaiole and Radda

Changes are in the air as always in perpetual and forward thinking motion and felt with most palpable readiness of promising concern in the Querciabella Annata. A wine of amalgamation, a triad of territorial delivery, each contribution as valid and poignant as the next. More to the point is how the grapes arrive and are poised to compliment, layer and celebrate each other. A wine of balance but understanding is a deep and wonderful thing. Note the brush with places, the layers of elevation and fluidity from red fruit flavours through textural tranquility. Seriously, serious and not so much. Just knowing, ready and willing to please.? Last tasted February 2022.

As always 100 per cent sangiovese from Radda, Greve and Gaiole, most of its life spent in larger format sks. At this point 25-30 hL with what would be even more purity extracted were there 50-70hL sizes involved. The level of transparent concentration is at what feels like the peak of Querciabella Annata. Every vintage is different and requires so much attention and that detail for fine tuning is so indelibly and intensely pitch elegant ptured in the generosity of this wine. Clearly a balance in the vineyards but also in how here they layer and come together. Really young, tannins wound and yet not so compact, fruit singing with sliding sle through three communes in succession. Drink 2023-2033. Tasted November 2021.

As always 100 per cent sangiovese from Radda, Greve and Gaiole, most of its life spent in larger format sks. At this point 25-30 hL with what would be even more purity extracted were there 50-70hL sizes involved. The level of transparent concentration is at what feels like the peak of Querciabella Annata. Every vintage is different and requires so much attention and that detail for fine tuning is so indelibly and intensely pitch elegant ptured in the generosity of this wine. Clearly a balance in the vineyards but also in how here they layer and come together. Really young, tannins wound and yet not so compact, fruit singing with sliding sle through three communes in succession. Drink 2023-2033.? Tasted November 2021

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San Donato in Poggio

From 2019 the Annata is über savoury, of pine forest and a sangiovese with 20 per cent other endemic grapes that take turns delivering herbs, underbrush, wild herbs and forest mulch. Finer tannins even if the wine is tight after all those aromatics emitting from the wine. This is the epitome of a sangiovese in Chianti Classico form needing time, not just in elévage but also in the bottle. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted November 2021

Risoli 1141 Brolio Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Like the ’19 Riserva tasted last month in Firenze there is a rounded and getable nature about the Brolio Annata that just speaks to a combination of vintage and place. That being 270 hectares of well thought out Gaiole intendment, including in Monti where the grapes should help create harmony in Risoli’s biggest volume Chianti Classico wine. n’t miss the Gaiole savour, herbals dried and also sweet, fruit layered from five distinct soils, each contributing and forming the basis for a pentangle of sangiovese righteousness. All in all a great modern era formula that would make the Iron Baron Bettino Risoli proud.? Last tasted April 2022

Risoli’s ’19 is really quite open, gregarious, sumptuous and available. A magil blend of five terroirs and one to enjoy with just about anything in the here and now. Certainly shows a sour cherry and red citrus angle used by elevated volatility but that’s where the food will come in. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Riecine Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Grande Gaiole compass, cinch and girth in naturally swarthy sangiovese from Riecine in 2019, crunchy and tart. Inching up towards the volatile but such is the word in pace for the vintage. The fruit n handle the stark reality and veritable truth, equipped with grip and ready for the inevitable circumstance. Maybe wait a year for further resolution. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Roc delle Maci?e, stellina

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classico DOCG Tenuta Sant’Alfonso 2019


From the second property purchased by Sergio Zingarelli’s father Italo in 1973, the largest of the four estates, a place of clay and at times wet soil. Much higher tones and acidities than the Famiglia Zingarelli, in the stellina air as opposed to mulched in the sottosuolo below. More specific, 100 per cent sangiovese and rounded out by fruits of all ilk; fresh, dried and everywhere in between. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Roc Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


As lreously tight and wound like a wire around a steel coil this Annata 2019 may be there is something other here, a feeling immediate, insightful and profound. Not just any sangiovese from Montegrossi and perhaps the vintage to explain a Gaiole notion for appellative Chianti Classico DOCG wines. A blend of 88 per cent sangiovese, (10) colorino and (2) naiolo. A reminder that Marco Risoli makes this and he makes Gran Selezione with no Riserva bridge and so at the Annata level there is great fruit, observation and intent. Yes it’s true that three years minimum in bottle are required to release the hounds of charm, but the sangiovese here has done its work silently and the result is a ’19 we n depend upon. Domestic and secure, a wine of warm diplomacy that will certainly bring people together, even those of differing philosophies. Brilliant harbinger for the vintage and what’s to come from the community at large. Grande, once again. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted July and November 2021

San Fabiano lcinaia Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Rich and chalky, red fruit glare in the classic stellina way and quite structured for a 2019 Annata. Drink now if you must and with some air this will open, release and please but two years will do well to soften the edges and also integrate the wood spice. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

San Giorgio A Lapi Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

Flawed. Acetic well above 1.0, in fact this is acetic 1.0, likely upwards of 1.5 in volatile acidity. Hard to find any fruit or nuance as a result. Certainly no sense of stelnuovo Berardenga. Drink 2022.? Tasted March 2022

Tasting with Lu Martini di Cigala and Silvia Fiorentini at San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


“For us it was a bit different than the rest of Chianti Classico,” explains Lu Martini di Cigala. “There was a big hail in July, delaying ripeness and three layers of green harvest was necessary, to reduce yields and allow the plants to regenerate.” Meant for a late pick that finished on the 16th of October. The final count was 20-25 per cent down yet there are very few Chianti Classico that combine aromatic concentration, flavour complexity, textural glycerin and compaction of tannin like this. Every part of the cherry and cool herbals persist throughout. Prompts the question as to when Lu first saw signs of climate change, events and extremes. Lu’s response is that he realized something was not right in 1998, when the skin of the berries were burned by the sun. In 2017 the vintage brought early frost and then dry heat, with the coming 2021 being another frost year yet again. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021 and February 2022

San Leonino Chianti Classico DOCG Al Limite 2019


Direct spike of red lightning stellina fruit in a right proper and openly fragrant, upright, generous and perfectly seasoned ’19 Annata. The fruit soars like an eagle, takes it as far as Annata will go. Lovely texture and generous mouthfeel. A wine senza limite. “So put me on a highway, and show me a sign. And take it to the limit, one more time.” Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Stomennano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Stomennano’s western stellina sangiovese is not merely one that delivers a juicy, fleshy and red citrus bleed but even more the kind that speaks to terroir as much as any in the UGA. This Annata screams Galestro, clay accessibility mixed with grippy schist. Literally smells and tastes like lreous clay, wet and stony, like Villages pinot noir from Santenay, in a way, but sangiovese is sangiovese and yet this n be consumed just about any day. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Tenuta Di mpomaggio Chianti Classico DOCG mpomaggio 2019


Herbal and tight, creamy and yet austere. A wine of disparate parts, true Raddese acids and a true altitude crunch. Fruit is substantial and invigorating, overall emotion kept in relative check. Bounces around and about so it will interesting to see where this will land. Drink 2023-2026. Tasted February 2022

A winemaker, an angel and two ambasciatori walk out of a bar ~ Il piu? grande piacere to taste, talk, break bread and resurrect with these heroes amongst us, @seanilguercio and the King. Sangiovese, maneuvers and the Lurelli cuisine.

Tenuta Di rleone Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


In 2016 the two entities of Karl Egger’s Tenuta di rleone and Brit Séan O’llaghan’s Il Guercio combined and they took over Podere L’Aja’s Radda vineyards, opposite Vertine. Retroactively it was 2015 that was the first vintage of Chianti Classico (made by Istine’s Angela Fronti) and then in 2016 O’llaghan made his first as oenologist and winemaker for the project. “I make one Chianti Classico beuse I have to and I want to,” tells Séan. That said it is a sangiovese that does not pass the tasting panel at first try but eventually the slightly elevated volatility gets under the skin and lifts the spirit. Light? Not really but luminescent and a true scintillant of sangiovese. “The most important wine we make,” he adds, “beuse it’s the one that needs to grab your attention.” My goodness this is Niagara bench-land Bachelder pinot noir/gamay but in Radda! Crunchy and perfectly stemmy from 30-35 per cent whole bunch and two to three months maceration, depending on the vineyard. The lightest and elegant and fresh go into (the 100 per cent sangiovese IGT) Uno and everything remaining from Radda goes into the Chianti Classico. And yet this is light so Uno will be even lighter! Approximately 42,000 bottles are produced. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Tenuta Di Lilliano Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Nine months later and full confirmation guaranteed. Pretty and red fruit fleshy in a 2019 Annata with full compliment and support by those sweet lightning stellina sangiovese acids. Just what to except, appreciate and even adore in straightforward, linear and crispy Chianti Classico for now and up to five years. Perfectly executed in lithe style by Lilliano.? Last tasted February 2022

The just released Ruspoli 2019 from western stellina in Chianti’s Tenuta Di Lilliano takes off where the most amenable 2018 sangiovese left off and runs with the great vintage vibe. A traditionally blended Annata with five per cent each colorino and merlot, for old and newer school bookending and with this stacked vintage in pocket there will be some drawing upon the state’s track record for aging Annata level Chianti Classico. Ruspoli is an aristocratic family from Rome (and palace of the same name), but is originally from Florence. Giulio and Pietro Ruspoli are the proprietors of Lilliano and it was Princess Eleonora Ruspoli Berlingieri who first bottled Lilliano’s wines in 1958. This is just beautiful appellative sangiovese, full of ripe stellina fruit balanced against a backdrop of inviting territorial acidity and sweet, sweet tannins. The essence of sangiovese is brought straight to the surface with immediate gratifition available in a wondrous example that may not need any further development time in the bottle. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted May 2021

Tenuta Di Nozzole Chianti Classico DOCG Nozzole 2019


Quite the herbal hyperbole here from Greve, pine forest and the resin oozing off the trees. Syrupy in the mouth, thick red liquidity in sangiovese that draws the aura of the land, lends it sweetness and thickness its plot. It’s a soup metaphor for a reason. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Tenuta Orsumella Chianti Classico DOCG 2019

San sciano

Really firm San sciano sangiovese from Orsumella though the grip and also depth are in cohorts with quite the impressive vintage gather of fruit. You sense realism and intention in this wine, nothing overdone or gone too far. There is something strong and in charge for sure though everything is about structure and controlled longing. Impressive across the board. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Tenute Squarcialupi La stellina Chianti Classico DOCG Squarcialupi 2019


For the record The Squarcialupi Codex (housed in the Bibliote Medicea Laurenziana) is an illuminated manuscript compiled in Florence in the early 15th century. It is the single largest primary source of music of the 14th-century Italian Trecento (also known as the “Italian ars nova”).The first of two Tenute Squarcialupi Annata out of stellina is the one more textured, of glycerol and subjected to pectinization. A hematic and ferric depth is noted in the way a sanguine current runs through this sangiovese and it just feels like it comes from red earth. Fluid and structured, serious in a way but surely composed. Really well made wine. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Tenute Squarcialupi La stellina Chianti Classico DOCG Cosimo Bojola 2019


Further to what must be a connection with the Squarcialupi Codex, the first folio in the codex states: “This book is owned by Antonio di Bartolomeo Squarcialupi, organist of Santa Maria del Fiore.” On the following pages, added later, are humanistic poems in praise of Squarcialupi.” The second of two Tenute Squarcialupi Annata out of stellina is this Cosimo Bojola, lighter, brighter and less texturized as compared to the Squarcialupi. Also more serious in the intensity of the elements, minerals and currents that run through, while also grippier, compact, linear and streamlined. This is the one that reminds of Bourgogne of a high-ste village and if any stellina wine indites where it comes from, this focused Cosimo Bojola is that one. My goodness. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Terreno Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


A very specific quadrant of Greve is accessed and acquiesced in Terreno’s Classico Annata, not shy but yes restrained, upwardly mobile and with an understanding of how to reach markets old and new, young and old. A great family member this Terreno, hospitable and generous, open and yet respectful of traditions, acquired and also introduced. Best Annata ever for the house. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Chianti Classico rocks

Tolaini Chianti Classico DOCG Vallenuova 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

Some merlot augments the sangiovese in this stelnuovo Berardenga Annata and it shows in the lithely verdant plus creamy smoothness noted, from nose to palate. Also a 2019 of more tannin than many, felt and understood as the wine dries away with classic sangiovese austerity. Savour, acidity and brushy flora are all there, up front and at the finish. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Triac La Madonnina Chianti Classico DOCG Bello Stento 2019


Bello Stento, literally “hardly beautiful” is just a perfectly traditional example of Chianti Classico, especially in Annata form, finding a modernity of freshness, accessibility and beauty without compromise or giving in to trend. Aromatilly brushy and Amaro herbal while also in delivery of real glycerol and sap running texture. Neither crunch nor chew but something in between. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Vallepicciola Chianti Classico DOCG 2019


Always fulsome, concentrated and so well developed, texture in sangiovese defined, climbing to syrup and jam but staying just shy of that consistency. Concurrently and expressly Vagliagli, hinting at the volatile and again remaining comfortably in check. Very blood orange and red currant with mineral earth running through the wood flavours. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Vignamaggio Chianti Classico DOCG Terre Di Prenzano 2019


Perfect medium weight and sweetly initiated entry into Classico is just this from Vignamaggio’s multi-terraced, tiered and controlled Annata 2019. A sangiovese plus parts thereof in varietal addendum to squeeze ripenesses and pack them in like punch. Fills by barrel and parts equalized amount to an easy CC that knows just what to do. Simple and forthright. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Viticcio Chianti Classico DOCG Vendemmia 54 2019


Not on the lighter side of Greve so near to Monterioralle per se but surely a Classico picked and rendered in a fresh, come and get it style. That said there is some mild peppery jolts mixed with spiciness that shows up both on the nose and also the palate. Continues into some sangiovese austerity with dried herbs and drying tannin at the finish. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Chianti Classico Experience, Restaurant Edution

Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico DOCG La Ghirlanda 2018


A beautiful and open-knit Mocenni Annata from 2018, not exactly lithe or shrinking but already quite available at this time. That said the acidity is in full control and while the tannins are ones of grip and fortitude they sidle in and connect with the other constituent parts. Further to that this is a wine that continues to roll forward, collecting matter and growing in stature and as a result complexities. Ok enough about that.? Last tasted October 2021

La Ghirlanda is the Bindi Sergardi Annata from the Tenuta Mocenni (estate) in stelnuovo Berardenga and if any one single bottling from Alessandra sini Bindi Sergardi should act as the spokes-wine, this would have to be it. The authentic and exacting sangiovese of full regale and ornamentation, the ”garland,” celebratory Chianti Classico of purpose for proprietors and place. Pulls from Mocenni’s Alberese and Galestro, managing structure while exulting succulence of fruit. The most getable and beautiful Chianti Classico Annata is here, bright and balanced. So ready to be taken advantage of which might act contrary to sangiovese messaging but do not fear beuse enough Alberese meddling equips this 2018 to offer its best through the middle of the dede. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted May 2021

Ser Gardo, Bindi Sergardi, Vagliagli

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico DOCG Ser Gardo 2018


I Colli Estate’s Vagliagli vineyards abutting the Chianti Colli Senesi are the source and so different to that of the Mocenni amphitheatre. A higher pH and a lessening of acidity make for a silky smooth and lush Classico. The 2018 is a perfumed vintage, with brushy herbs and lol flora. So much more perfume, lovely florals and a resolution of the tannins into the middle points and parts of the wine. Beautiful work with one hundred per cent sangiovese to express this southwestern corner of the Vagliagli sub-zone.? Lastt asted October 2021

Ser Gardo, sibling to La Ghirlanda, both Annata wines but here from Bindi Sergardi’s I Colli estate. Same stelnuovo Berardenga zone but slight alteration in soil. Still the Alberese but less Galestro. Not as glycerin and luxe as Ghirlanda and even with a lighter to easy vintage like 2018 there is little doubt that sangiovese like this will need some time. The sensation taken here is lime-chalky, sapid in nature, less give and more demand. Not seriously tense but a year would assist in softening the grip and integrating the lighter 2018 fruit. Seemingly more traditional, herbal and savoury sangiovese to be sure and yet always with that post-modernist’s Bindi Sergardi thick brushstroke of style. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted May 2021

ntalici Chianti Classico DOCG Baruffo 2018


Baruffo the dog, one of twenty currently on the property. Baruffo the 100 per cent sangiovese of increased concentration, richness and breadth as compared to the blended ntalici. Ages for one year in 20 hL barrels, plenty of development for what is a late-picked, fully reasoned and seasoned Annata. Will resolve and show its best in two years. Another step forward taken, consistent within the estate style. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

rpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

stelnuovo Beradenga’s rpineta Fontalpino farms vineyards at the estate and also in Montaperti plus Dofana within the Vagliagli UGA of the commune’s western butterfly wing. Winemaker Gioia Cresti so magilly and intrinsilly marries the mix of fruit for a classico that resides apart from her cru sangiovese. Low yields for Annata off of mixed clay, sand and also (Alberese) limestone come from mixed elevations between 380-420m picked across the entirety of the month of September. A true stacked ferment concept, an honest and exemplary estate wine to get right at what Cresti and her estate are all about. Gioia is a cru fanatic but this sangiovese really matters. The succulence, salumi meatiness and forza della natura are all you need to know about her skills, humility and humanity. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


A unique and particular vintage, unlike others in the recent past or what would come from 2019. More important is how here at Lolità Il Becco along with nearby Il Corno the conditions were so different from the rest of the territory. Arid and warmer in this area, making for dry, tight and plum dusty sangiovese, even a bit austere. The warmth has not resulted in density of concentration as it might in some other vintages, take 2015 as an example. While it may be missing the sweet harmony of 2019 there is a clear message of Raddese acidity and likely a good long life ahead.? Last tasted March 2022

A sangiovese from Radda in Chianti that in Annata form and out of a vintage that requires less time in order to express its terroir. The vineyards are loted in the lower part of the valley, below the Macigno sandstone and away from the more lreous eastern and southern sections. This is the place of “formazione geologi particolare,” a schisty area where Galestro is common. A very pretty version of stello di Radda’s sangiovese is exactly this, crispy and spicy, acid circulating and turning the fruit from soil earthy to creatively succulent. Crunchy too and ready for immediate work, best to match alongside grilled Tusn sausages, eggplant and zucchini. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted April 2021

Fattoria Cigliano Di Sopra Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

San sciano

Still a good leesy reduction to start, wine of extraction and in the third year so different from before but not yet in discovery of the balance and especially tannic extraction. The wine has come into a much better place, the tannins have lost much of their astringency and the wood has melted in. Drinking well right now.? Last tasted November 2021

From a place (San sciano) that gifts perfume but in the most savoury of ways. There too is a deep red darkness to the fruit and here the full advantage of 2018 is taken into consideration. Everything here is done with acumen intention, including maceration, pressing and extraction. The redundancy effects the outcome, restricts the subtleties and brings immediate gratifition. Fourth vintage for the estate’s young winemakers and expect two steps forward from 2019. Drink 2020-2022.? Tasted February 2020

Fattoria della’Aiola Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Has lightened through linear design and really shows that it was not a vintage of great generosity. More so one of savour and direct impression though now feeling a bit closed. It’s a phase and should resume an open door policy from late ’22 through early ’26.? Last tasted February 2022

The field work put in by the team at Fattoria della Aiola in the most challenging 2017 vintage pays double dividends with the ease and amenability of ’18. The Annata arrives from low in the valley below Radda where the lotion looks easterly through the true stelnuovo Berardenga UGA. If that ’17 rried the air of refreshment and lightness of stelnuovo sangiovese then get a whiff and a taste of this ’18. Sharp, tight, composed, finessed and always shining bright. The depth of fruit and structure is magilly subtle, hidden in shadows and at present allowing the pleasure factor to reign supreme. There is grip and determination behind that pretty scene and so some sangiovese longevity is surely promised. Drink 2021-2026.? ?Tasted August 2020

Fattoria Le Masse, San Donato in Poggio

Fattoria Le Masse Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

San Donato in Poggio

First vintage with new (large format) wood and it shows on the nose, from the vineyards in Morrocco, a land totally different from Le Masse’s estate lands. Not exactly like the Classico soils of Galestro and Alberese but still rocky, hard soil that drains easily and very different than Chianti nearby. Solo sangiovese, land directed, soil funky, fresh and vital. Partially fermented in wood tanks, a touch Bretty and notable tannic. Needs to and will settle in nicely. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Fattoria Montecchio Chianti Classico DOCG ‘Primum Line’ 2018

San Donato in Poggio

Montecchio’s 2018 has come around, having strayed away and found how to amortize, acclimatize and ultimately prioritize what needs to settle and feel just right. A textural, liquid San Donato in Poggio red soil, Ligurian wind and stony sangiovese if ever there was, rounded by grapes that soften, including in their colour. A lovely drop at this age and perfectly present day drinking Annata. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Fattoria Pomona Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Sold out already and truthfully a rbon copy, albeit lighter on its stellina feet, of the Pomona Vineyard Gran Selezione. In this se fruit comes from Sant’Ilario and Vigna del Termine vineyards. Here in Annata terms with readied, steadied and intuitive ease. Different and dual vineyard impart and more elastic movement than the GS but also the two vintages that me before. Crafty Classico, of a ring knowable in the idiosyncratic Pomona stability of style. A smaller vintage than 2019 to come but says Moni Raspi, “such is life.” Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG Filetta Di Lamole 2018


No one picks before October 10th in Lamole and Fontodi’s Filetta was the last. Always is, that’s the pecking order and Giovanni Manetti’s cousin who owns the vineyard goes back to 1045 in Chianti Classico, the oldest in recorded history. That Lamole perfume is unmistakable, with all the character of Lamole and the palate structure of a Fontodi wine. Bigger than most in Lamole and yet more graceful and ressing than those of the Con d’Oro. As complex and fine as Filetta n be, ushering in a new level of deeper understanding, resolution and completion for Manetti and Lamole. A harbinger for the great and symbiotic relationship between Lamole and the vintage, leaving an impression that says this is the Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive place to be in 2018. Drink 2023-2031.? Tasted October 2021

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Great freshness in abundance and despite some critil vintage theory there is so much to find in a Panzano Annata like this from Il Molino di Grace. Piquancy and an open door policy, classicism for the UGA in an ideal snapshot and Chianti Classico profile. Memory rells the violet perfume and purity of fruit when tasting this 48 hours after it left the vine. Nothing has been lost or sacrificed to virtue or clarity in solo sangiovese that begs to be seen, heard and tasted. Will require less time than some vintages, to ready itself for piacevolezza e gustosità. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Le Cinciole Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Le Cinciole’s 2018 benefits from two things: Less than heavy vintage result and one extra year in bottle to soften the Panzano-Galestro tannins notably present in this chalky wine. Red schisty-clay-limestone consistency, texture and presentation with high toned, lifted and red citrus behaviour. Quite a vintage snapshot mouthful in emotion but never heaviness. Still a bit oak dominant which should pass in another year or so. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Every time I taste a Le Fonti sangiovese there is instant recognition of Panzano but even more so the north and northeast oriented vineyards of Vicky and Guido’s fine, fine estate. This from ’18 is purely, expressly and unequivolly Le Fonti. Cooler, more linear, precise, focused and intentional than broader Panzano and surely a child of craft, the chase and chaos. Bravo Guido, brava Vicky, thank you for this honest act of Chianti Classico humility and humanity. Drink this every day.? Last tasted March 2022

In Vicky’s world “a very alcoholic year,” hot and dry but an expected extreme. me out at 15 per cent with great fruit to counteract and balance this out. Light chalkiness and long chains of tannins, full palate exposure and much pleasure to find. Picked between the 28th and 3rd of October so took all and full advantage of a late September Panzano 25-plus degree fluctuation of daytime heat spike to nighttime lowest lows Therefore not hard to know what to attribute the alcohol to, relating to evaporation, humidity or anything else that happens when grapes flash develop that late in the season. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Lornano Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


The year is 2022. The vintage of this Lornano Annata is 2018. Why is it in this glass and being assessed is anybody’s guess. “Sangiovese needs the bottle,” is said with a shrug and the simple utterance remains etched in mind forever. Nicolò Pozzoli said this five years ago, well before this wine was even a twinkle in his Lornano eye. The vinous, herbal essence and essential oils have yet to integrate. The tannins have to assimilate and the wine knows not yet where it will go. Or perhaps it does and has chosen to stay quiet, in slumber and protected. When it emerges there will be the same classic stellina cool and savoury sweetness as ever. The vintage will offer this gift of Lornano. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Nardi Viticoltori Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Nardi’s 2018 is purely and confidently stellina sangiovese, richly glycerin, sweetly herbal and parochially viscous. This is stellina red fruit inrnate, crocnte, seamlessly woven with fine if understood acidity and gentle, equally getable tannins. An Annata meant for putting in your glass, anytime, anywhere.? Last tasted March 2022

Nardi in stellina in Chianti is found below Lilliano and Macìe covering an area of ??forty hectares of property. Ten are vineyards and the rest is divided between olive groves, various crops and the farm for breeding Chianina ttle and Cinta Senese pigs. The work of Angelo and Giacomo, sons of Enrico. Their striking ’18 Annata scintillant is 90 per cent sangiovese plus five each naiolo and colorino. It is truly Classico marl-Galestro stellina, bleeding cherry red fruit, acids that travel up and down the sides and then further serve to circulate the succulent and juicy fruit as it moves around the mouth. It’s the full sangiovese from a specific commune allowed to shine experience. Dictionary entry, spot on and satisfying. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted January 2021

Podere paccia, Radda

Podere paccia Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Winemaker Alyson Morgan uses only large format sk to age her Annata and like the previous 2017 this 2018 comes from an arid and very warm vintage though not quite as extreme. That ’17 is still so fresh and this ’18 is outrageously youthful, not closed but vinoso, cinnamon dusty and giving this feeling of sangiovese scorrevole. In other words it clings to but also slides as if tethered to the inside of the mouth. Acid level is still strong and yet supportive with thanks to how and when the grapes are chosen to be picked. If ’17 is chewy then ’18 brings the crunch, easy to say when you know that ’19 will fall harmoniously in between. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Podere stellinuzza Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Lamole with an extra year’s settling is always a wonderful plan especially when executed with precision to a cumulative point of no return. stellinuzza’s Annata is at exactly that place and is that place, a perfumed frazione sangiovese of well-ripened and judged fruit, floral tones both under and over. Succulent and textured if just a bit green, not unusual and in fact concurrent, at least at times here and there, with the UGA’s way. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

San Donato in Poggio

Youngest vineyards are 15-20 years old so they are all able to defend themselves in dry or challenging vintages. An average year really and not all the grapes are picked to be bottled, making sure to always maintain quality. All the vineyards contribute to the Annata, even some from Vigna Le taste, the 1997 planted vineyard, two sides over two valleys, argiloso on north side and Galestro to the south. Mostly 500L tonneaux with new 28 hL botti installed two years ago. “Organic with biodynamic undertones.” All five wines smell so completely different. Up to 20 per cent are mixed endemic grapes, including 10 of ciliegiolo, plus naiolo, colorino and malvasia nera. Adds up to a multi-national and savoury blend, a parochial gathering that layers a true sense of place, dusty, plum peppery and a true sense of forest airs in this wine. Good weight, balance and length. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Marinai’s Panzano is one of the richest, most fruit cumulate sangiovese of the UGA’s lot. From 2018 there is warmth, development, spice and Amaro viscosity. Viscidity too, rightfully tacky while also full of gems and precious metals. Such a Panzano delight, full and ropey, resistant to sheer forces and ready for the main course. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Tenuta senuove Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Crunchy Panzano Annata here from Tenuta senuove, peppered as opposed to peppery, as if with freckles or micro-sized bits of earth. Plenty of salt and pepper seasoning but again nothing sharp or spicy about it and fruit so very berry red.? Last tasted March 2022

From the southwest corner of Greve in Chianti, southwest of Montefioralle and close to Panzano. Modish and modern for 21st century sangiovese is just this, stylish, chic and highly motivated. Quite fully developed and felt red fruit of glycerin, pectin and mouthfeel but you want more and more. Impressive magnitude in bringing so much fruit into the mix. Not overtly high in acid or tannin so use this early and often. Drink 2020-2022.? Tasted twice, February 2020

Val Delle Corti Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Picked at the end of September and into the first week of October after a stretch of time from which humidity rose at night. There were some problems with mould and insects. And so the early picking (for Radda) lent finesse and Radda acidity for some of the Classico’s light and direct wines. Yet another moment of diversifition from UGA to UGA and vintage to vintage. This is not a massive sangiovese of alcohol and grosso attitude. This is exactly the opposite, while 10 minutes drive away in Panzano some wines are big and bullish, pushing and exceeding 15 per cent alcohol.? Last Tasted October 2021

Roberto Bianchi’s steep hillside slope is where he farms a quietly dramatic terroir to conjoin or congiungere with Radda’s many high elevation lolizzazione. These once not long ago too cool for ripening sangiovese vineyards are now the place to be and Bianchi takes full account, responsibility and risk to make the most of his new world Chianti Classico possibilities. Long macerations are often over 45 days, even longer for Riserva, though in this easy and lighter vintage perhaps not quite so long. Still there is a development of texture, glycerol and the finest tannins in his glistening sangiovese. The inespable Raddese acidity shines just as bright, rries the light and infuses the pure compound cherry genere with a hyper real sense of varietal and lotion. As they say, posizione è tutto. If Chianti Classico is the future, the man who might be dubbed double B has delivered an Annata già arrivato. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted September 2021

Villa Di Geggiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Geggiano’s Vagliagli Annata is just a baby, like the faces of the brothers Bianchi-Bandinelli, charismatic, timeless and chiseled. The forces of Galestro and Alberese nature conspire to equip this linear and focused wine with the necessary attributes for an impressive run through sangiovese life. As for now focus on the seamlessness of the structural ascension and a fruit quality so pure it n only plan to be there every step of the way. The ten year Annata run is special and that is this Geggiano’s plan. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted March 2022

Villa Trasqua Chianti Classico DOCG 2018


Here in the year of her majesty 2022 a look at the 2018 vintage for this Trasqua Annata is so early. And yet here it is in this glass and so here goes nothing. The stellina company knows its terroir and understands that sangiovese must take it slow, ease into grace and away from structural pain. Trasqua’s is like the curious se of stellina, born as an old soul then transversing through life into middle age, adulthood and finally youth. An inverse Classico relationship with time, crisp, crunchy and crusted now, so very tannic and four years away from settling into comfort. Drink 2025-2030.? Tasted March 2022

An Amerin and six nadians at La Sala, San sciano

Chianti Classico DOCG (older vintages)

ntalici Chianti Classico DOCG 2017


Sangiovese blended with 15 (merlot and bernet sauvignon) and the “international” one, less aggressive and pure than the varietal Baruffo. As Chianti Classico the character augmented by ssis, smoke and bell pepper changes the approach and then the result. Smooth, round and creamy while truth be told there is still a Gaiole sentiment running through. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

rpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico DOCG Dofana 2017


The Dofana stone is sandy, more Arenaria then Macigno, with Alberese and clay. Faces southeast at 350m, planted to new clones of sangiovese, as opposed to Montaperto. All adds up to a sangiovese cru of musculature, great if slightly austere tannins, fleshier, cherries of deeper maceration and profound tang. All parts are raised, elevated, punchy and there is an intensity that really makes one think and feel. The vineyard was acquired in 2004, now at the point of Gioia Cresti having come to really understand the make-up, to claim the future of the wine, for what is going to happen. The classicism of needing to give sangiovese time is entrenched into Dofana, around which “the corners in this wine are personality,” tells Filippo Cresti. A wine to watch what happens with 12 bottles over the years. Even 30 years. Dofana’s tannins are that tight and compacted, even from arid 2017. Drink 2025-2037.? Tasted November 2021

rpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico DOCG Montaperto 2017


A grey to light yellow lreous plot, mainly Alberese facing northeast at 420m. Even in 2017 it will not get much more elemental and linear, balanced, fresh and the definition of an elegant cru-designate Chianti Classico. The oldest vines are 40 years and the vineyard is re-planted in stages, slowly, Bordeaux style. All sangiovese, remarkably bright, getable and cool. Hard to find more of this ilk from the aridity that 2017 gave to the territory’s vines. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico DOCG 2017


More or less picked at the same time as 2018 (18th to 28th of September), give or take a few days and while the alcohol is felt more than in 2018 there is also a dry extract elevation and less grip as a consequence. More peppery spice and wood sensation, here in an Annata of tightly wound impression. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Podere paccia Chianti Classico DOCG 2017


Only sees Grandi Botti, allowing the wine to breathe and expresses the appellation’s purest form. Has kept its fruit and energy without a moment of change since last tasted 25 months ago. Seriously no evolution, acting fresh as the day it was first popped. Represents top structure in Annata.? Last tasted March 2022

Things turn brighter in a sangiovese like this from Radda, not so much lighter as one from which fruit n shine. Light in terms of tannin but sneaky enough to elevate and extend. More chew than crunch in a pressed fruit roll-up rnival of the heart ’17. Drink 2020-2024.? Tasted February 2020

Villa Di Geggiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2017


Spiced to the hilt which is neither shock nor surprise from a pair of stelnuovo brothers and their newly minted Vagliagli UGA. Men who allows allow and encourage their terroir to speak in clarity, regardless of vintage and no matter the circumstance. Warm and luxe, deep and profound, an exegesis of structure delivered by grapes of lol, traditional and serious concern.? Last tasted February 2022

Truth be told this 2017 from Geggiano persists as a youthful and too early to ll Annata. The particular Galestro and Alberese in these micro-climate championed western wing of stelnuovo vineyards make for some of the communes’ most charming meets structured sangiovese. Why should the heat and the challenge effect anything otherwise. So much here, so many levels of Chianti Classico to unfurl. Drink 2022-2030.? Tasted February 2020

Alberese, Il Palagio di Panzano

Il Palagio Di Panzano Chianti Classico DOCG 2016


Includes fruit from the San Martino Vineyard, composed of Galestro, rich in iron, morphologilly very different to the soils around the winery. Spends 12 months in large format sks, followed by 12 months in bottle. As an Annata Palagio’s is released late, certainly as compared to most in the territory. Still firm with notable tannins and yet to be resolved structural elements. There is a dryness on the upper palate, a se of clones and soils, still a closed door to the grace and possibility of this wine. There are grapes coming from the oldest (late 1980s planting) part of the vineyard and beginning in 2017 these grapes will all move to the old vines Rosato. This will mark a profound change in not only style but accessibility, especially for the Annata.? Last tasted October 2021

Upon further consideration, thoughts drill down and clarity comes into more micro view, six months after last tasting and 14 months after first tasting PdP’s 2016. It took some time but now the perfume is pure Panzano and in this se, right at the heart of the village. The essence of a northeastern corner of Con d’Oro sweet savour, a purity and a concentration of sangiovese that rries the culture and tradition of its fruit, safely and securely. The tannins here are sneaky, creeping in, aiding and abetting, for longevity. This should become one of the longer lived Annata of the vintage.? Last tasted November 2020

Only sangiovese as is the plan for the entire estate. That Panzano perfume and glycerin though there is some more weight and bones than others. Reminds of the style that’s constant from Fontodi to be honest. These are some of Chianti Classico’s finest acids, sweet and refined, They compliment and support. Drink 2021-2027.? Tasted September 2019 and May 2020

Looking south towards stelnuovo Berardenga from San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico DOCG 2016


For Lu 2016 is a true sangiovese vintage, equanimous from start to vintage and one from which the terroir and territory take control of the grape. Indeed this is Chianti in ideal if not the purest perfection of Classico form, deeply transparent and matched by an honest to greatness inner mineral wave in full command. There is a sense of blood orange but also red currant and ripe cherry. A classic year in which the ample but amenable tannins allow for early access but also plenty of time ahead. Drink 2022-2032.? Tasted February 2022

I Fabbri Olinto Chianti Classico DOCG 2014


Even back in 2018 ands 2019 there was already something intuited for the beautiful, ulterior and even ethereal if much maligned 2014s and more than anything a sense of wonder to see how well they could age. Now in 2022 enough time has passed to take deeper judgement and if I Fabbri’s Olinto is any indition then the vintage will deliver many quality wines for many more years to come. The Lamole perfume is front, open, lifted and centre. The sangiovese has only moved forward to a place where the classicism of Greve’s amphitheatric frazione stands right before us. Susanna Grassi has done it again, as she always does, filling her wines with realism and grace. This Olinto is in a really great place. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Full tasting of San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico DOCG 2013


Not an easy harvest with recurring rain, on repeat from what happened during the spring. In a way like 2014 but the weather was much more fortuitous in between. The liveliness and grippy acidity wrapped up in persistent tannin keeps this a bit closed and two years further should really open things up. Incredibly fresh sangiovese and that specific San Giusto blood, part orange and part sanguinity. Will be just right around the corner. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted February 2022

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico DOCG 2012


At the outset there is some animale, a cooked rabbit per se, a smaller animal, not bovine or porcine. such a curious and complex aromatic swell. In the vintage a big rain arrived at the beginning of September but not all of the vineyards were able to recuperate from the long dry spell and as such the tannins are a bit dry. That said they are settling now and it has taken this much time to get to this point. The fruit shines, the wine is just now in its window and while hydric stress clearly played a role there is much to gain at this time. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

ntalici Baruffo 2011

ntalici Chianti Classico DOCG Baruffo 2011


Holding the fort and going strong for a 10-11 year old sangiovese, same vineyard and specs as the ’18 tasted side by side. This was the third vintage labeled Baruffo, though the present day ntalici dates back to 2002. Yes, still in very good form, notes surely secondary, tannins almost fully softened, some tartufo just emerging now. Far from oxidative, acids really quite sweet and true blue cool savour fully in charge and control. The finish is truly enjoyable, neither drying nor cloying, but with frutta seco and long, menthol cool. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

I Fabbri Chianti Classico DOCG Terra Di Lamole 2010


A blend of sangiovese and naiolo, acid and pH in cohorts for a Lamole of true timeless terroir and of a time when the naked transparency of the frazione could never be denied. Not that hiding Lamole in 2022 is a thing but the linearity, stark reality and absolute transparency of the day is on full display from Susanna Grassi’s 2010. That and the barrel she would have augmented Terra di Lamole with to create a kind of Selezione for the time. Now in the waning stages with thanks to a warm vintage when such a thing was not the average or contiguous norm. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

With Winemaker Manfred Ing, Querciabella, Greve

Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG 2010


Immediate waft of frutta di bosco from what was Manfred Ing’s first vintage at Querciabella, having arrived on the 3rd of May. An auspicious start beuse it rained the entire month. The heat never me and even in retrospect the team will say it was the worst vintage ever. Guido di Santi was in charge of winemaking (and in a way still is). The season continued despite the rains and lingered well into the fall. Was also the year new cement tanks and wood vats arrived for fermentation, plus the inaugural one as a 100 per cent sangiovese. Only four months into his tenure Ing urged the team to wait longer before picking. The fact is that’s all sangiovese needed and usually needs. Time. So now 11 years forward the cured salumi style of Chianti Classico is just what this is pleased to be. A vanishing point of previous stylistic expression for a future that began with the advent of a new unfolding story. Not much fruit to talk about but plenty of Ruffoli and gastronomic pleasure in many ways. Well matched to Fuoripiazza Ristorante Enote in Greve. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico DOCG 2009


Holding firm and quite well for an 11-plus year old Annata from a vintage not too dissimilar to what is coming from 2019. Bodes well for pponi’s ’19 and so many kin. This retrospective look feels so very Montefioralle with the addition of down by the river Greve alluvial silt and clay deposit generosity. Airy yet grounded, high-toned yet also able to go baritone. Linear yet well-rounded, freshness in acidity persistent while never getting too high. A wine to sit down with, learn some history and stay in the present. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

I Fabbri, Lamole

I Fabbri Olinto Chianti Classico DOCG 2009


Full disclosure: This bottle has been open for 20 hours and by every logil sense of reality and the imagination should be lost to the nether world of sangiovese days gone by, but alas no! Susanna Grassi’s 2009 is glorious and texturally rounded, not to mention aromatilly lifted and sound. The secondary elements are gracious, delicious and firmly entrenched in next level structure. There is no sense of demise or decline and as a vintage the overall sensation is one of climb, ascension and incline. Brava e grande Susanna. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

I Fabbri Chianti Classico DOCG Lamole Olinto Grassie E Figlio 2009


The Lamole label is a different animal than the Olinto when it comes to a retrospective look side by side with the Olinto 2009. More wood, evolution and secondary bleeding into tertiary character but most of all this cinghiale-animale note that n’t be denied. Earthy and hematic, a tale of brush, porcini and the sauce reduced after slow cooking the shoulder, hours later and complex. Lamole herbal, perfumed and fine. Past prime but a window into the recent past. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

A vintage from which the tannins seemed very hard and needed a long time to improve. Actually shocked at how this has yet to truly evolve, with almost no oxidation or dried components. No frutta secco or bosco but yes glycol and Amaro. Silken and mineral, as Lu’s sangiovese (with varying percentages of naiolo and colorino always are). Will still drink beautifully for six to 10 years further. Drink 2022-2028. Tasted February 2022

Villa lcinaia 1975, Montefioralle

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico 1975


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. T. A matter of clay and limestone and in lcinaia’s vineyard the type of stone is Colombino, not rare but highly specific to certain Chianti Classico vineyards. Looking past the T there is a wild strawberry sense of fruit that while stymied and suppressed there is a persistence and longevity in this forty-seven year old wine. Truly sangiovese with mineral scents and an unkempt wildness about its disposition.? Tasted March 2022

Barone Risoli stello Di Brolio Chianti Classico 1949


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. The oldest wine in the flight. apropos and just when you consider the Risoli heritage and lineage. A mineral layering which instinctively mimics the compaction of argiloso, macigno and lri from Brolio’s soils, no longer feeling the separation or mille-feuille effect but now just all morphed into one and the same. There were surely some white wines in this mix, as per the formula written dedes earlier by Bettino Risoli. Probably helped keep the freshness for some time and while this is now all earth and stone the wine is very much alive. There’s even some sweetness and citrus showing, inditive of blood orange some 73 years later, finishing with a trebbiano and malvasia Vinsanto tang.? Tasted March 2022

Gurvinder Bhatia, Chianti Classico Collection 2022

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


My or should I say man is Bibbiano’s Riserva’s ’19 the most naturally sweet sensation of stellina fruit that Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi? has ever produced. A well of sangiovese liqueur and liquidity of seasonings, fine spices, Mediterranean and even a bit exotique. I imagine he is most proud of this wine, traditionally Riserva but so above ground, out there and pable of running with his single-vineyard, one side of the estate or other, Gran Selezione wines. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Buondonno Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG savecchia Alla Piazza 2019


Hard not to appreciate the double entendre in Gabriele Buondonno’s wines, at once big and boisterous with well developed alcohol but then high elevation salty, airy and expansive. They are what they are what they need to be, from his place in stellina, nearly Panzano in temperament, substantiality and fully equipped with measure. The ’19 is a bit more than tannic so let it rest another couple of years. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


stello di Albola’s Radda at elevation Riserva is quite tight and compact, especially this early in its assessment. Clearly a wine of Galestro with plenty of lri influence, glycol liquidity and just that classic sense of regional liqueur. Quite viscous and generous, tart at this stage with a hint of balsami. Will settle in and drink with Riserva pride. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Ama Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Montebuoni 2019


“Direct descendant of stello di Ama Riserva in a return to the appellation with this being the second such vintage. Falling somewhere between the Ama Annata and San Lorenzo Gran Selezione, Ama’s Montebuomi is so very lri, regardless of the level of appellation, intensely woven, idealized and structured. Such mineral virtuosity at the Riserva level ptured however, linear, vertil and compact. A compression exists by dint of those vineyard soils and also the living and breathing Gaiole terroir. Drying for now, fleshing to come, settling in later. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted March 2022.

stello Di Volpaia Chianti lassico Riserva DOCG 2019


Tank sample but a finished wine. Phenomenal poly-phenolics and sensory gifting from a sangiovese 100 per cent in delivery of the Volpaia sweetness of fruit, cool sensibility, silky texture and equally tactile tannins. If a hole or an unresolved moment exists it would be impossible to unearth and in some ways, at this stage, Riserva is almost readier than Annata. But that shouldn’t really be possible with the grapes coming from the same vineyard, here in the upper part. The winemaking is exceptional and the vineyard’s voice is perfectly heard. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Fèlsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

A bright, lightning red fruit and herbal oil Rancia Riserva here in ’19, working through pine and cedar, rosemary, sage and elderberry, fennel too. All the resins are here in their youth, circulating and formulating an exit strategy. At this point the fruit, sweet as it is, is wrapped up in the bramble, impossible to reach without getting bitten by the thorny tannins of this wine. Just wait, and wait some more beuse there is so much happening and still to come. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted March 2022

Gagliole Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


Nothing scents like a Gagliole and nowhere in stellina does this sense of fruit compaction, timed and tidy acidity and then fineness of sweet, evolved and intelligent tannins co-exist. Herbal yet delitely so, dripping and oozing of terroir, spice infiltrate of every zone, pocket and pore. Not sure there n be relled a Riserva with this much personality and oomph but here it is in all glory. Also not sure there has been an example that needs as much aging time as this generously structure ’19. Don’t touch and return five years forward. Drink 2026-2033.? Tasted March 2022

Le Miccine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


Le Miccine 2019 is intrinsilly Gaiole but also very personal. It feels like and comes with a sensation you will intuit whether or not you taste this wine alongside winemaker (and Québecoise) Paula Cook, or not. What amazing and exceptional fruit from ’19, building and building, fleshing and fleshing in a most beautiful glass of sangiovese Riserva wine. And you n access sooner than many, as you wish. Grande Paula. Veramente. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Diego Finnocchi, L’Erta di Radda

L’Erta Di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


Also a mpione da botte, sk sample of 100 per cent sangiovese from a cru, of a very specific terrain. A parcel of Galestro and Alberese on a hillside though here a red earth and where two specific clones of sangiovese are grown. F9 and R4 to be specific, both producing very small bunches. So reminds of Montalcino’s Lorenzo Magnelli and Le Chiuse, in methodology and also result for which an intensely fine acidity defines and directs but here a Raddese variety to which there is no compare. Hard to find Chianti Classico sangiovese more profumato that does not come from Lamole and perhaps its a matter of the in-land, off-shore breezes that blow here and through this vineyard lled La sina. Another sk sample that is so expressive and so close to being ready, in fact they are drawn from their final resting vessel just waiting to be bottled. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Luiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019

San sciano

Luiano’s tannins are variegated in 2019, specific to Alessandro Palombo’s San sciano terroir, layering sweet, tart, savoury, salty, verdant and even umami notability. The fact that fruit is at the top of the lol pyramid and spectrum will ensure a long and slow integration, without angst or difficulty. There will be no stops and starts but only forward movement and development. The overall succulence and incremental oscillations between acid and tannin confirm the plan. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted March 2022

Riecine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


Crisp and crunchy like the Annata of same vintage yet less high toned and volatile. Also missing the swarthiness but what it lacks in wild revolution is gains in clarity and purifying resolution. Riecine is in fact a place of resolute and cool wines coming from and speaking the vernacular of mainly old vines’ vineyard ways. Will drink this way for five more and with great complexity on display for a further five. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Sergio Zingarelli, Roc delle Maci?e, stellina

Roc Delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2019


Brighter if also possibly lighter than the previous vintage and in such regard a more accessible and amenable Riserva. As with the 2018 the complimentary grapes are five per cent each colorino and bernet sauvignon, both bringing colour and the latter some black fruit sweetness. Drink this ’19 of lower acidity, lees brood, depth and easier feeling for now while the ’18 continues to settle in. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Sergioveto 2019


Roc delle Macìe delivers the most substantial fruit to texture compendium that n be relled from recent and even further back then recent memory. The fact that there is this iron-mineral swell and hematic underbelly being so strongly involved with the fruit means so much more than before. A magnanimous Roc delle Macìe in the present that will surely become a stellina of vim, relish and layered attraction in the future. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Il Grigio 2019

stelnuovo Berardenga

Still the current climate and execution for juicy freshness, of fruit on the berry, pomegranate and plum sle but also stelnuovo dried herbs running amok. More chew, of liquorice namely and then the juiciness returns, persists and delineates the direction of the wine. No shock this is a very good Riserva vintage, one that will age well, not more than 10 years mind you and best between four and seven from vintage. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Tenuta di Arceno, stelnuovo Berardenga

Tenuta di Arceno is loted in San Gusmé, a hamlet of 250 people in the far eastern part of the eastern butterfly wing of stelnuovo Berardenga. It is a Jackson Family Estates property with Lawrence Cronin was hired as the Winemaker in 2002. Here we are 17 years later with an Annata to perfectly represent this part of the territory with dark and compressed fruit, full on Berardenga savour and a sandy-stony-clay composite feeling. Not a sentimental sangiovese but one entrenched in realism and depth. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Enote Fuori Piazza, Greve

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

Ambrogio E Giovanni Folonari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Nozzole 2018


From Greve in Chianti and a representative sangiovese not just for commune but also for the appellation. Truly Riserva in pture, rich and luxurious, fully complete in texture and for mouthfeel, concentrated and strong. rries an estate and greater authority credibility in consistency throughout the years and were you to close your eyes you could guess 1998, 2008 and then 2018. Actually big for the vintage which indites a late September pick inclusive of a hot spell during which nighttime temperatures did well to preserve acidity. Listed at 14 per cent though feels higher. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Next step, level and terraced sangiovese appreciation comes from Bibbiano’s Riserva, a wine of high tones, lightning fruit along with well versed and rehearsed Riserva lines. Linear that is, vertil and promising, not a promiscuous sangiovese but one that considers its time, place and future with profound regard. Juicy to be sure and also grippy for to see seven years forward and a softer time arranged. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Mocenni, Bindi Sergardi, Vagliagli

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico Riserva lidonia DOCG 2018


lidonia is surely the more structured of the Bindi Sergardi Riservas, weighted in fruit, lifted by the succulence of Alberese drawn acidity and showing what this Mocenni sector of Vagliagli is pable of demonstrating. The 2018 is Bindi Sergardi’s Riserva of fortitude, not just in opposition to brothers and sisters but also as compared to several recent vintages. It requires time and will live for 10 years or more.? Last tasted March 2022

lidonia’s is like I Colli’s power though not in strength but rather in depth. Immense depth, a gathering of all the vineyard’s stone mineral wealth, of Alberese, Galestro and Macigno at the confluence of Mocenni’s amphitheatric crossroads, with Radda and stellina so near by. The beauty of fruit and exquisiteness of tannins are so evident, no matter how youthful this wine may be and so the future exists in a manner quite the matter of already knowable guarantee. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Bindi Sergardi I Colli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


A solo I Colli Estate Riserva, from vineyards in the UGA zone of Vagliagli at the western edge of stelnuovo Berardenga commune. The vines are planted 10 kilometres away from Bindi Sergardi’s Mocenni Estate and like the home vineyard counterpart this mimics if extends from Annata but with elevated acidity and also power. This bottle could not have been in Ontario more than a week or so and so it seems a bit closed, unwilling and perhaps in a minor state of shock. The previous one tasted at the winery took off where Annata left off but truthfully Riserva is higher in acidity and power but without hitting one hard, more about strength of character. Once again the sweet flowers as in Annata but of course . Drink 2021-2024. Tasted October 2021.Never the matter beuse Vagliagli’s florals, sweet scented and ndied fruit, high tonality and grippy sub-structure are all locked in tight. ptures the late September pick but just before alcohol levels would have risen, here for a harmonious and graceful turn of Riserva phrasing. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October and November 2021

Brania Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Brania’s munificent and substantial ’18 Riserva grabs texture by the scruff of its neck and introduces it to that fruit which n only be described as ripe. Hard to rell recent vintages that do Radda this way, with grip, strength and power. Dark orange to red orange fruit, more blood than naturally orange, big, bouncy and intense. A notably heeded and competitve Raddese wine at the present moment pable of becoming a beautifully attractive Brania before too long. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

rpineto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Classic, distinct and ideal as rpineto’s Greve Classico, full of brush and lol flora, from wild fennel through rosemary and into sage all over the palate. And then the textural composition sets in, running the sangiovese sap of ointment and viscosity through and through the body corporeal of rpineto’s Riserva wine. This is neither thick nor jammy, shows the land with idealism and while drying at the back end there is plenty of stretched and elastic stuffing to see this age five-plus years. Drink 2023-2027. Tasted February 2022

With Paolo Paffi, sa Emma, San Donato in Poggio

sa Emma Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Vignalparco 2018

San Donato in Poggio

Expectation dictates that a sa Emma Riserva will deliver true and substantial San Donato in Poggio fruit but double what the Annata chooses to give. That is exactly the point in the ’18 Vignalparco, a blood orange smoothie with minerals running straight on through. Taut, tart, intense, fulsome and ranging in so many ways. Impressive ’18 to be sure. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted March 2022

stagnoli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Terrazze 2018


To be honest Terrazze is not like stagnoli’s Annata, if not beuse of appellative level then surely a matter of vintage. Riserva is deep, brooding and profound, a sangiovese of acid intensity and fruit compression. More dried and leathery than fresh with plenty of wood spice but also that which is derived from the fruit source, namely the skins themselves. No lack of imagination, drive nor trenchant desire neither. Hard to know exactly where this will go. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

stelli Del Grevepesa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Clemente VII 2018

San sciano

A 100 per cent San sciano in Val di Pesa sangiovese from schists and limestone, mainly Galestro at 250-350m. Sees 24 months in Slavonian oak and French barriques. A Riserva of concentration and notably healthy pH for sapid texture mixed with dark fruit. Picked late into October so thereby gainful of a mini late September heat wave and converse diurnal nighttime temperature dips for healthy ripeness well foiled by sweetly kept acidity. Moments of verdancy in between swaths of sapid texture and dark chocolate make for a Riserva of diversity and variegation of an overall expression true to San sciano and also vintage. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted December 2021

stello Della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

San Donato in Poggio

As with the upcoming thorough and thoughtful 2019 Annata there is a next level depth of craft and understanding intuited by way of Riserva 2018. The fruit seems so well timed, picked late in the season, developed and yet braced in the moment, frozen in time. Feels cured and dried by cellar air, the vintage ptured and preserved. This will live a long life, that much is sure and always drink up on the ridge, with the image of San Donato in Poggio demure in the distance. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Great fruit Scott or rather great Scott what fruit! Here Albola ptures 2018 in Riserva form with great, sheer and utter distinction. Hyperbole of red tree fruit, chew like liquorice and bokser too. Well positioned, proportioned and perfectly suited to all. A five year wine if ever there was.? Last tasted February 2022

The ’18 Riserva continues a thread of Radda-Classico consistency for Albola, stringing great wines from 2015 on through. This next Riserva shows excellent linearity and quality, namely at the hands of fine tannins, ripe and thriving, adding pulse and drive to already buzzing acidity. The fruit is well equipped to hang, participate, contribute and collaborate. Warming at the finish suggest spice and an Albola ability to age. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

stello Di Bossi Berardo Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

Youthful, high-toned, crisp and crunchy Riserva 2018 here from Bossi. Big Berardenga bones, Classico stello vibes. pomegranate and currants on high alert. Hematic as well, herbal to a degree and full of wood-fruit-acid swirls. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

San sciano

Kind of surprised at how apposite this next bottle is showing. Young and nearly untouchable. not the accessible and easy drinking Gabbiano of last month’s bottle and recent vintages past, here dripping with tonics and concentrated fruit essence tinctures. More herbs too, a swell of minerality and wave after wave of acid-tannin breakers. Wait two years.? Last tasted March 2022

Sweet fruit and acids are compelling together in their Galestro-infused succulence and style. Here a Riserva of easy attitude and gratitude, well stretched and showing off the understated Cerelli style. Riserva of humility and humanity, cool and gelid, fine and harmonious. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

stello di Meleto, San sciano

stello Di Meleto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


So informative to taste Meleto’s Riserva sandwiched between their Annata and Grand Selezione but also as 2018 between ’19 and ‘17. As if on cue Riserva acts, exacts and reacts right up the middle of that Gaiole road, equally rich and parochial, accessible and yet pable of aging, progressing and emerging with potpourri fully ptured and kept. Riserva is a perfect compromise and offers the best of both worlds. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

San Donato in Poggio

A “thanks God cooler vintage” tells Laura Bianchi with an appreciative smile, in which not only the wines but also the San Donato in Poggio vines were able to re-balance. Laura believes it’s not only a vintage of great freshness and acidity but also one that n age well. Classic Monsanto grip as well, though style, flavour and sophistition of ripeness, plus an energy inherent as a factor of brightness and vitality. A great edutive study involving a sangiovese of both inndescence and longevity, two things seemingly apposite but binary by definition. Knowing what Bianchi’s Monsanto n do there is no question about the possibilities that lay ahead. Drink 2022-2029.? Tasted October 2021 and February 2022

stello Di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Something about Greve’s Dudda Valley brings a distinct and higher level of aromatic concentration to sangiovese, especially in Chianti Classico Riserva form. This from 2018 is one of the the lighter, effusive and more lyril ones with so much emanation of perfume. Still a savoury character with knowable rattle, tone and hum. Plenty of desire and hope with a good six to eight year run ahead, making this a perfect little mid-term cellar dweller at an attractive price. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted January 2022

stello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Agostino Petri 2018


Everything about the Matta family’s 2018 Riserva screams late picked fruit in early October. After the late September day heat and nighttime lows, there’s just so much of all parts set to full in this wine. Wild and exotic perfume, fruit fleshy and so bloody ripe, body more muscular than this Riserva sometimes shows and alcohol well-developed. All are in synch, balance and complimentary condition. Crazy delicious Agostino Petri this time around with classic values and traditional character kept in a true Greve style. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted January 2022

A Count in his natural habitat – Sebastiano pponi, Villa lcinaia, Montefioralle

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Not all Riserva are created equal and if nothing else Sebastiano pponi’s could only be his from Montefioralle at lcinaia. Not exactly sweet natural fruit endowed but surely herbal and the kind of Riserva that takes stock of your senses, sticks to your tongue, leaving behind an impression that will not dissipate. Even if you never take a second sip you are left with a Greve left bank, over the hills and far away into Montefioralle impression. “Maybe more than enough.” Nearly fulsome and yet wound quite tight, tannins not so much drying as compounding by land and zeppelin temper for a ride off into the proverbial sunset. Get the led out with this one. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Dievole Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Novecento 2018


Dievole is loted within the newly minted Chianti Classico UGA Vagliagli and is in fact situated as close to the village as just about any estate. Clay, marlstone and limestone in Alberese soil holds the fort for a 95 per cent sangiovese with small amounts of equally endemic naiolo and colorino. Spends time in no toast 41 hL French sks for upwards of 18 months and in bottle for the remaining six. Hard to match the depth of the great Novecento ’16 but this 2018 is no small Riserva. It is pure Vagliagli of a specific fruit and acid sweetness with breadth, girth and structure. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Della Aiola Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Far more aromatic output as compared to the Annata but also less reduction from a Riserva that spends 24 months in second to fifth and six usage French and Slovenian wood. Not a single vineyard wine but “a blend of botti,” and the percentage is the same, 90 sangiovese plus some merlot and naiolo. The barrels are in charge and will be for at least another 12 months, if not 24. Laden with chocolate and espresso and time is really the essence and the operative. Recent track record indites that Riserva will open for business in its third year after release so look at this in 2024 and beyond. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Moni Raspi, Fattoria Pomona, stellina

Fattoria Pomona Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Bandini 2018


Moni Raspi’s Riserva 2018 was only bottled five months ago so don’t come expecting immediate gratifition or revelation. Do come knowing this is sangiovese from a special place, that being the west Siena facing stellina vineyard in front of the villa lled Uomino, “the little man.” Only Pomona produces Riserva that scents and tastes like this and only Moni Raspi’s deliver peak wine experience moments that nearly always occur in repose, never connected with work. Such is the ease of her ’18 Riserva, big and focused, light and understanding. Given time it will also act charming, gracious and nurturing. Drink 2024-2030. Tasted March 2022

Gagliole Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


A famous Panzano (in the commune of Greve) estate and a manuscript in the State Archives in Siena reveals that the son of the Langobard King Berengarius, who had fallen in love with the Tusn countryside, bequeathed the Gagliole Estate to his wife in 994 A.D. This Riserva comes to us from a most curious vintage 1,024 years later and just two years earlier Riserva was lled Gallule, but that ancient terraces reference is now reserved for Gagliole’s Gran Selezione. Riserva ’18 was picked on the 10th of October and this is signifint beuse a late September heat spike nearing 30 degrees with opposite nighttime lows near zero meant more fruit ripeness and kept acidity for bigger but also balanced 100 per cent Panzanese sangiovese. These Galestro and Alberese vineyards at 450m picked well after the extreme climate moment, followed by 10 months in small, used French oak barrels has resulted in the most precise and focused Riserva imaginable. The acidity travels up the sides inside the mouth all the way to the eyes, or so it is imagined and then sends shivers down the spine. Warm, inviting, luxurious and so very real. This is exceptional Chianti Classico, intimating everything now yet with the knowledge that the best showing is still years away. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted December 2021

Tasting Il Molino di Grace, Panzano

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


I will personally implore you to look and think past anything you have heard about 2018, just as it would have been prudent to do so with both 1998 and 2008. The sneak of structure and linger in the name of longevity will conspire for a slow release of emotion, something seemingly absent in the wines’ early days of life. A bit high in acid and also drying, from knives cutting through tannin and this is is the essence of naked sangiovese. Not as supple and succulent as 2019 but will almost certainly last longer. Was bottled just ahead of harvest in September 2021.? Last tasted February 2022

Despite the great diversion and division between vintages that me before and will follow, the consistency of Il Molino di Grace’s Riservas are a testament to changes made and promises kept. The team has allowed these wines to crawl from barrel and into the light. The heat and drought of ’17 was followed by a lithe freshness from ’18 though sangiovese chosen to hang well into September and even the first days of October have come about and into some heady wines. Begin with Riserva’s perfume in a Panzano bottle, Galestro and Pietraforte bled, red berry made flinty by stone. Focus and expression are right on point and while both Panzano and proximate Radda are the additional geographic thought, Il Molino di Grace is the pinpointed place. Still emitting early life freshness and vigour, lovely for ’18, forward and structured to travel onwards. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2018

Radda and Gaiole

Angla Fronti’s mix of vineyards results in one of the most generous and layered Chianti Classico of any and all in the oh so generous 2019 vintage. Not sure whether fruit or structure are more up front and in charge but either way the compound effects of Galestro and Alberese meeting Istine’s multiple vineyard greatness puts this in a class all of its own. Drink 2024-2031.? Tasted February 2022

Stefano di Blasi at La Sala, San sciano

La Sala Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

San sciano

Made with 10 per cent bernet sauvignon. Some estates thread consistency and replitive DNA through their wines and one nose into this ’18 Riserva confirms La Sala’s situation within this ideal. Not that Riserva conforms to any sort of norm but the plush, soft and handsome beauty in such a wine n’t help but stay connected to the Annata, regardless of vintage. The aromas express more or shall we say a different sort of saltiness, more potassium graded through Galestro soil structure, from the same vineyard source yet imparted in hyperbole when it comes to Riserva. Flavours deliver more berries and balsamic, higher pH helps to soften the tannins and along with the lotion make them sweeter, softer and melted into the plush sofa. A gorgeous Riserva, succulent in fruit and acids, fineness of tannin and so very inviting. Ex-cellar price is 7.8 euro. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

L’Erta di Radda

L’Erta Di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


In Diego’s mind 2018 was quite the perfect little vintage, one of piaggio e giusto, flattery and truth. Not that it was easy but it was transparent and real. That said it was a stop and go one, with changes in weather, temperature and demand. A vintage to keep agriculturalists on their toes and make them earn their pay. L’Erta di Radda’s Riserva has now entered a great place, just now beginning to show its charm and also breadth. It’s chewy and also crocnte, chiseled and generous. Freshness is encouraged by this vineyard abutting a small river giving breath to the sangiovese.? Last tasted March 2022

Riserva is of a cru in the hills più basso, in poor red soils, very rich in iron, planted in 2009 to two clones suitable to this cru, but with rootstock worth its salt in vigour. Clones that offer lower quantities, in one hectare, which produces only 25 quintali?per hectare. or 2,500 hL per hectare and the average in Chianti Classico is easily at 40. Five or six small bunches per plant, tiny bunches, “molto spargolo.” Picked in the first week of October also beuse it’s only sangiovese with higher pH (at 3.1 or 3.2), 35 days of time on skins, ages two years, first in 2000L grandi botti, 2nd in barriques and tonneaux. Diego Finocchi likes the micro-oxygenation, but in the second year. There is a liquid peppery note but also the smoothest body and ress with grace across the palate. You simply do not feel the wood on this Riserva and that tells you everything you need to know about the winemaking and the way this represents the cru. Drink 2021-2027. Tasted November 2021.

Maurizio Brogioni Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Very young and even reductive Riserva here from Greve with good fruit substance behind and in waiting. Needs air and time to blow off yet not having enough of that, at least not yet. A linear, high acid and even crunchy, sangiovese, especially in Riserva form. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Monte Bernardi, Panzano

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


“In ten years this is going to look like magic.” To thank are stems (60 per cent) and the post-macerative consciousness at a time when the talyst manifests itself in youthful aggressiveness, to see a softening that now becomes something easier to understand. “We bring out the generosity sooner without sacrificing longevity,” is how Michael Schmelzer looks at and explains the situation. The slow release of complex aromas and also flavours is extended by the long maceration, post maceration and aging in concrete plus botti grandi. Has already entered the first stage of grace, grip surely present though not overtly or overly demanding and even if a bit shy. There is a roll off the tongue, a scorrevole in this sangiovese. Smooth, sliding and sled for slow release. Drink 2023-2033.? Tasted November 2021

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG MB1933 2018


One hectare of “traditional field blend” at over 500m, high (7,000 plants per hectare) density plantation, co-fermented and it makes 3,000 bottles aged in used tonneaux for 18 months. Obviously sangiovese with what could very well be naiolo, colorino, malvasia nera, labrese, ciliegiolo and uva di ragnana (lolly named). The freshness and salinity plus what must be named as mixed pH created sapidity surely speaks to white varieties as well, including malvasia and trebbiano. The label depicts a corbezzola, delite of fruit, high in seeds, a great representation of this traditional wine. Will express equal freshness 10 years forward and without any sacrifice to acidity. No stems here, again wanting to understand the wine before going into that kind of talyst meets polymerization intendment. More graceful brilliance with some drying tannin this time from Monte Bernardi. The lens is completely different so wait till Michael Schmelzer really gets a handle on this one. Drink 2023-2033.? Tasted November 2021

Winemaker Tim Manning, Montelvi, Greve

Montelvi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Riserva is 100 per cent sangiovese from what is lled the Montelvi alto block (one of seven on the farm). From a particular tonneaux that winemaker Tim Manning just liked how it was so decided to keep it back extra time and bottle the estate’s first Riserva. While you feel the extra time (26 months in used wood) it is anything but a barrel driven wine. It seems it just accentuates the texture tactility and makes you feel more, including emotion. There is a suave sensibility here, silken and structured but never precious. It does feel like Riserva though the volatile acidity is just a touch elevated, not problematic and if anything reaching for another level of complexity. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Montefioralle Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Imagine a vintage where cool, sometimes wet and not exactly ideal summer weather is followed by a lovely if again not exactly sunshine drenching September. Keep the reverie going and see a heat spike by day, followed by low nighttime temperatures, eventuating in late-picked, fully reasoned and ripened Montefioralle fruit. This is Lorenzo Sieni’s Riserva, liquid chalky, low and slow cooked spice threading through every stitch of sangiovese fibre. Pragmatic Riserva that also incites emotion makes for a great and winning combination. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Nittardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Firm, tannic, swarthy and grippy Riserva with thickness and deeply profound fruit here from Nittardi. Chalky and edgy into handsome volatility with many unresolved parts. A big Riserva constructed for the long haul that will aim to please with ropey red stellina fruit as impressive as any in the UGA. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Podere paccia, Radda

Podere paccia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


paccia farms four hectares of vineyards at 500-550m on a spectacular promontory quite proximate to stello di Volpaia. Of the four vineyards (Il Cortaccio, Il Prato, Lo Scopiccio and Le panelle) it is the latter’s 2007 planted sangiovese that is used for Riserva. From 2018 the Riserva shows more wood harmony with the handsome fruit and a settled feel, complimentary while also so bloody fresh, exceptional even for the UGA and appellation. Chewy this ’18, liquorice leathery but also like persimmon hung to a dried and toothsome consistency. Some dustiness but not the vinous aspect of 2017 and really quite lming otherwise. Tannins are gritty but not coarse and very close to settling into what would be lled fine. Wait another year. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Podere La ppella Querciolo Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Unfiltered 2018

San Donato in Poggio

In Riserva form Podere La ppella really sees a long developed through late picking sangiovese come to full fruition. Beautiful flesh and texture, fulsome fruit and sweetening acidity. Very fortifying with that blood orange to limestone bleed in great hyperbole. Drink 2025-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Bugialla 2018


Piero Lanza has not made a small wine in Riserva from Radda for 2018. The ripest rows or rather the vines that grow in rows that find the highest level of phenolic development are chosen for a sangiovese of cool warmth, dripping grape resin and grippy tannin. Big, sumptuous, gangly at present, layered and so far from acceding to time and your palate. Wait seven years, trust the science and see this Riserva come out as bountiful and beautiful as they make them. Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted February 2022

Querciabella, Greve

Querciabella Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Not a shock that Riserva is so very young, “and for us even as Riserva it’s still about fruit expression,” tells Manfred Ing, with only 20-25 per cent having spent time in new wood. Plenty of Botti Grandi usage but again it’s about best vineyard fruit selection. The choices are made all the way along, even if the team really knows going in what the best vineyard sections really are. Sees 18 months in barrel. The depth of fruit also shows breadth and width, a three-dimensionality for sangiovese that reaches past aromas and onto the entirety of the surface area on the palate. Aided and abetted by picking that spreads across an entire month, only adding to the layers, especially in the tannins which are not simply of one ilk or another. There lies the crux of a Querciabella Riserva, when happened upon there comes about a squad of tannic complexities that use a raciness and early tasting chaos. It’s wildly stimulating. Stupendo. Drink 2024-2037.? Tasted November 2021

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Riserva Dule 2018


Ever since the Riserva Dule Oro showed up in Ontario as a Gran Selezione it seems this appellative level of similar distinction as fallen by the release schedule wayside. Which really is too bad beuse the original Riserva is eerily similar and drinks with closely resembling distinction as the Gran Selezione. Like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of your father, so to speak. Good fruit from 2018, on the lithe and easy side, ripe and medium bodied. Quite middle road taken all the way through and simply classic in design. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Santo Stefano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Drugo 2018


Quiet, even stoic Riserva, surely designed for slow release so patience and even aeration n only serve this well. Quite a compliment of barrel converges and smothers the fruit in this earliest of stages, only adding to the idea of time being a friend, not an enemy. Chewy Riserva, laden with liquorice, welling with macerations, cherries and herbals swirling in the limboed abyss. Save it for later. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Greve in Chianti

Tenuta Poggio Al Mandorli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Traditional, rustic, old school beauty. Riserva as imagined passed on through generations taken to a present day level and situation. Riserva as Greve, of sand and clay, alluvial deposits and sunshine. Cool and slightly wet as well, a vintage ever-changing and if misunderstood then simply exercise some patience. This will reward in two to three years time once the austerity of the necessary tannin settles in. Drink 2024-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Triac La Madonnina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018


Big punch and high acid crunch from sangiovese with deep cherry fruit and not much more than a modicum of Riserva density. An elastic one, of juicy tang and quite readily available at this early stage in time. Get at this before many others and feel the love. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Villa Le Corti Principe Corsini Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Cortevecchia 2018

San sciano

Same cépage as Le Corti and here aged in 27hL sks. A selection in the first weeks after fermentation, tank by tank, vineyard by vineyard. The “final” decision is made after the “spezzaturra.” There is always a grounding and an earthiness (rnale as opposed to animale) to Cortavecchia that separates it from the Annata and has it move into singular territory and 2018 is a Riserva vintage indeed. Higher in acidity, vim and vigour. More elegance, elastics and elongation. Even if there was no showiness before there is now. “There is a time to taste wine and every wine has its time.” Today is a good time to taste. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

With Winemaker Leonardo Bellacini, San Felice, stelnuovo Berardenga

San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Il Grigio 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

Classic Leo Bellaccini styling, hung long on the vine, maximized phenolic ripenesses equal to sugars and developed berries for full on competition. Alcohol and wood move at a balanced if heavy set pace and all the necessary parts keep up with head high, esteem and quiet swagger. All in control through every stage, full on the palate, silky feel, concentrated, sophistited, up to the minute. Resides at the top of this game, genre and idiom in stelnuovo Berardenga. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Baròncole 2018


San Giusto A Rentennano’s singular corner of Gaiole’s climate of 2018 was a rbon copy of 2016 (in summer) but in September the sugar ripeness was happening way too fast. Lu Martini di Cigala knew to wait. Three passages were made and in 2018 this began on September 22, concluding on October 16th. Results in a higher alcohol at 15 per cent and a really, really ripe sangiovese. Big in every respect and yet totally in balance, a San Giusto wine exactly representative of time and place. Fine tannins, really fine, no drying to speak of and the kind that will take this wine well into the next dede. True blue Riserva, stylistilly as per the conceptual idiom but also for the tufo and clay of this once volnic place. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted November 2021 and February 2022

Tenuta Orsumella Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Corte Rinieiri?2018

San sciano

A true blue Riserva of San sciano grip, wit, charisma and style, cool and savoury, granita of texture, sip-able yet age-able. Black cherry flesh and pit, amaro biters and a pinch of sangiovese’s austerity from place, vintage and ways set in eras gone by. Settle for two or three years and drink for two or three after that. Drink 2024-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Villa A Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

Expands on the sand and clay richness found in the 2016 stelnuovo Berardenga Riserva while finding more fruut-acid balance in this regaling example for 2018. Villa a Sesta’s is always warming, ring and silky smooth so that luxe and and piqued spice activity are always driving the Riserva style. Matters of the heart, purity and savoury intensity gather for great Riserva promise. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Gnudi, Le Panzanelle, Lurelli, Radda

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017

ntalici Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Baruffo 2017


Like much of the territory it was dry and hot, the vines shut down in August but one day of rain in the late part of the month reignited the maturation process. Here a saturated and concentrated, smouldering and spicy sangiovese, implosive and tightly wound.High tannic vintage, picked mid-September, alcohol warm and all together needing time to settle down. At least two more years. Drink 2024-2028.? ?Last tasted February 2022

sa Emma Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Vignalparco 2017

San Donato in Poggio

Despite the vintage of no rain there was very little hydric stress with thanks to the soils, heavy in Alberese, blue argiloso and northern facing slopes. Also the sub-zone San Donato in Poggio and three to four degrees cooler than most others. Similar fermentation in concrete and stainless steel but 26 days on skins and then two years in tonneaux. TA is 5.90, an impressive number for 2017 and yet the wine is muscular, big-boned and structured with no way to fully get out the vintage way. “What you see is what you get,” tells Paolo Paffi, a 100 per cent sangiovese of firm grip and forest proximate savour; of sage, rosemary and underbrush. Really shows in the herbal and spice masala at the finish. A definitive expression of vineyard. Cru as Riserva and Riserva as Cru. Drink 2024-2033.? Tasted October 2021

Fattoria Pomona Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Bandini 2017


Riserva comes from what n be lled the “little man vineyard or il omino,” vines at Villa Pomona of 20 years where a true mix of all the rocks litter the decomposed soil. Almost unlike anywhere else where Chianti Classico is raised; Galestro, Alberese, Piteraforte, lcium rbonate and quartz. All there, all infiltrating vines, grapes and wines. In some ses all these parts are integrated into one fist sized stone. The unity is remarkable and makes Moni Raspi’s Riserva so bloody special. She has quite a bit to do with that too while her soils’ nutrients and vines’ absorption of elements allows her to nurture as only she n do. There goes that Pomona perfume in a stylish sangiovese of palate essence, succulence and an emulsifition with acidity sliding into tannic fluidity. Such a lovely Riserva for ’17. Truly. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Iacopo Moranti, Il Molino di Grace, Panzano

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017


Fulness, richness, full throttle savour, all ptured and assembled. A wien picked so late in September the rear-view mirror was filled with Chianti Classicos jammy and green. Here phenolic ripeness and swelling fruit reigns in wood, with all cracks and crevices filled. Clarity and precision prevail which n only bode well for the future.? Last tasted October 2021

Only from the upper vineyards closest to the cellar, one of the more pristine Riservas, of freshness, purity and clarity that Molino di Grace sangiovese did not used to show, but changes have led to this. You don’t think about the transitions or the structure beuse they just present themselves effortlessly and seamlessly. A remarkably fresh ’17 that was picked late, on time and best decisions were made in the cellar.? Last tasted February 2020

Wow ’17 Riserva could handle waiting until 2021 to be released. So grippy, such acidity, so much concentration and while quality is exceptional still the vintage quantities are so low. A number in and around 40 per cent of normal. Wooly tannins, so in control and very fine. Remember there was also a frost in May that decimated the vines, followed by three months of intense heat. Vineyard management and the most pragmatic, accepting and realistic team in place made sure to do everything right. “Corretta” to the nth degree. As is this organic and biodynamic Riserva. Drink 2021-2029.? Tasted September 2019

La Squadra nadese at Istine, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2017

Radda and Gaiole

The driest and hottest of vintages, as will happen in 2021 but this year some cold weather arrived in late September. The mix of the three in Riserva form takes all the best grapes and in 2017 a great portion comes from the Istine Vineyard, “beuse of freshness.” This with great thanks to the forest surrounding the steep vines, something essential and very real in especially Radda and also to a solid extent in Gaiole. Istine faces north and this is the trump rd in Radda, for Angela Fronti and many others. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Levigne from Angela Fronti delivers a duality that talks in a vernacular made of more than a commune. The concept is Gaiole meets Radda and each has its say though their mingle and intersectionality layering clouds the distinction in the way you’d hope they would. There’s a softness and a brut strength behind the exterior that tells something conceptual and edutional is happening. Forget light, bright and easy. Bring on the ambition, the execution and the swagger. Drink 2023-2032.? Tasted February 2020

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017


Riserva 2017 is so very similar to Annata in that the extract feels heightened and the wine is just now settled after one year in bottle. The peppery spice is lessened as compared to the Annata while the density on the palate is increased. Dusty espresso and chocolate surround the classicism of Le Fonti’s particular Panzano red fruit. This is quite ready to go. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Sa’Etta 2017


“I don’t think of it as a problem year. I had bigger problems in 2011 and 2015. Complaints about heat stress are all about the wrong rootstock,” insists Michael Schmelzer. “I didn’t see any hydric stress in 2017. Comparably speaking it was a walk in the park.” OK, not quite a classic vintage of coolness, cloud cover and in fact it ranks low on the challenging pole. Therce was a loss of Retromarcia (50 per cent) but the Riserva was untouched by frost in 2017. Sa’Etta is a hyperbole of transparency and also concentration as compared with the normale Riserva. What really separates these from Classico Annata is age of vines and Monte Bernardi is from Galestro while Sa’Etta is from Pietraforte. Thus the grip, circumstance, higher tonality and concentration of perfumes. Tannins are a little austere but that too is a matter of conglomerate rock co-efficient fact. Morbido is for some, Sa’Etta for others and true to a sense of place. Drink 2023-2033.? Tasted November 2021

Podere paccia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017


Podere paccia in Lolità paccia is owned by Belgian Herman de Bode with Amerin Alyson Morgan as winemaker. The ’17 Riserva is seriously aromatic, yet unreleased and a good thing in more than one way. The herbals are powerful, vinous as with all of paccia’s wines, wood very much at the head, high acid as always, never lacking, the true component in charge. If ’17 Annata is chewy then Riserva is the opposite, crunchy, tart and grippy. Such a composed wine, very Riserva, seriously Radda. The mix of botti and 300L French barrel need to melt, dissipate and integrate before this really hits its stride. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Val delle Corti, Radda

Val Delle Corti Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017


There was a section every September night when the plants could breath, helped by the woods, Radda’s “lung,” and “so we waited and waited while September and October were refreshing,” explains Roberto Bianchi. Keep exhaling after each sip to feel the freshness.? Last tasted October 2021

The 2017 was a scorcher in Tusny, no less demanding in the Chianti Classico territory and yet Val delle Corti’s Radda was one of the cool spots to be. No rain from January to the end of the first week of September and yet desiction in these vineyards were not like some other low lying areas. Lower yields yes but really high quality fruit. Roberto Bianchi’s use of long macerations, as much stainless steel as oak and older (and larger) wood at that makes for one of the coolest and freshest Riserva one is ever likely to find. Indeed this may be the most openly fragrant, unencumbered and blessedly humanistic 2017 in the entirety of the Chianti Classico lot. Hyperbole perhaps but nature and nurture conjoin for breathtaking results. Taste, consider and exhale. Drink 2023-2032.? Tasted September 2021

Villa A Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017

stelnuovo Berardenga

Producers who got it right in the hot 2017 are Chianti Classico heroes and Villa a Sesta is one of that ilk. Dry conditions through adversarial times there is a will and a way with sangiovese hung well into September, even in the sun radiant wide open spaces of stelnuovo Berardenga. Strong and dry sangiovese gets fruit-filled centre help from seven per cent bernet sauvignon, all grown on steep slopes at good (450m) elevation for the commune. This Villa a Sesta Riserva ages for two years in Slavonian and French oak of 500L and 40 hL. Acid crunch and pH sapidity are perfectly in balance with fine grains of tannin following in ideal suit. The winemaking is on point. Five to seven year wine beginning right now. Drink 2021-2027.? Tasted November 2021

With Dario Cecchini and Fontodi’s Giovanni Manetti ar Anti Maccelleria Cecchini, Panzano

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 (and older)

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG I Colli 2016


Quite a ripe vintage with well-developed fruit in usation of so many days of warm but not hot and humid weather. This ’16 also rries a high level of lift and acidity working the real room of many red and blue fruit. Yes, the sensation of a blue fruit vintage, cool, salt-mineral licked and sweetly savoury. Long and linear, swirling through fruit with Vagliagli savour.? Last tasted October 2021

The second of two Riserva from Bindi Sergardi, one coming from the Mocenni estate and this from I Colli, both in stelnuovo Berardenga. Not just the name of the estate but also the old “borgo,” the family hamlet going back 23 generations. As with Mocenni there is ample Alberese limestone in this soil and I don’t know if any other producer in the commune n craft silkier or more glycerin sangiovese from this soil type. While Mocenni may gift more textural presence it is I Colli that lifts, elevates, rises and shines. Not that lightness of being is the dominant character trait but there is an emanating radiance. Blood orange coming across the palate speaks to the estate’s lotion and geologil mix, that and persimmon, summer savoury and rosemary. Not herbal per se but more so than Mocenni. The two worlds collide and yet stay so apart. That is the beauty of having two singular stelnuovo Berardenga vineyards from which to develop two dissimilar and diverse Riserva. Drink 2022-2030.? Tasted April 2021

Brania Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016


Coming upon nearly four years since first tasting Barbara Widmer’s classic and that is said in the most complimentary of ways with respect to Chianti Classico. Now as a sangiovese with bottle time under its belt this Riserva has had emerged as the kind of wine it was meant to become. Right there and right now. A great timing for lol release and a terrific red for the upcoming holidays at an affordable high end price.? Last tasted November 2021

The vintage is the succulent one for Brania’s Riserva, an (80 per cent) sangiovese, (20) merlot Radda in Chianti beauty that saw 16 months in a combination of barriques and tonneaux. Here we feel the point where 2013 and 2014 intercede, propagate and deliver a child that is observed to grow up so fast. While so tart, it’s primary concern is to deliver pleasure with a substantive and toothsome payoff. The wood is still a bit heavy but necessary to rry the ecumenil fruit forward three to five years. Drink 2019-2023.? Tasted February 2018

stell’In Villa, stelnuovo Berardenga

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016

stelnuovo Berardenga

Poured in two different glasses, one in the classic Chianti Classico consortium glass and the second in a hand-blown Grassl Liberté of Balkan origin. The aromatic launch in the latter is hyperbolic but also precise. Yes the land above is in this glass but also the iron mineral sottosuolo below. While 2016 Riserva is equipped with all the body, texture and depth anyone could be looking for (including the Principessa Coralia Leonini Pignatelli), there is more to this wine than just oomph but more to the profound point the intangible that sangiovese n deliver. “I never wanted to be a wine merchant,” so well describes the plan, ideal and what the Principesa wanted to get out of stell’In Villa sangiovese. Complexity is the matter, some things already spoken and so many more to eventually become revealed. This 2016 has found it. “It’s nearly to what I consider very good and I don’t think I will produce anything like it anymore.” This a comment about one’s mortality and especially the climate. “You don’t know what you are going to get anymore.” Each time you taste this wine over the next 15 years something new will emerge. It will always change. Drink 2024-2036.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016


Riserva sees 24 months in Grandi Botti and also second passage Tonneaux, very much exactly halfway between the elévage of the Annata and the Gran Selezione. Again a professional and pragmatic methodology and by extension, result. Harmony is the ideal, to bring fruit, acidity and structure into a linear and extrapolative oeuvre. Hard not to see 2016 as a perfect example of an executed plan. There is a depth to this vintage and in its sixth year this sangiovese has entered its finest years of life. Won’t get any better than now to take full advantage of this wine. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Il Palagio di Panzano

Il Palagio Di Panzano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016


More refinement and sangiovese liqueur while maintaining a dryness and unresolved structure as found in the Annata that is used by the older vines and their variegated fruit. Older clones that deliver a more rustic and grippy sensation in the wine. Like the Annata only bigger sks are used, no tonneaux. Chewy Riserva, gripped by real Panzano stage presence, pietraforte and arenaria soils with just a streak of lri. Wait two more years in this.? Last tasted October 2021

A warm and fuzzy Panzano feeling felt straight away, humid, spicy, Galestro instructed. Some pretty serious tannin, weight, magnitude and a considerably deep impression. Quality with high acid notes acting as a foil to the formidable thing of it all. Bigger that ’15 in so many respects. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted February 2020

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2016

Radda and Gaiole

The vintage while very good was not high in production for the Frontis due to more rain than wanted. And yet there is a fulsome sensation and really tannic thrush to ’16, far from resolved, deep and profound. A real liqueur that does not always happen in Fronti’s wines but beauty and power n co-exist. Feels like a good portion of varchione from Gaiole, nearly as much as Istine with some bit parts of sanova.? Last tasted October 2021

Losi Querciavalle Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016


Sangiovese from Vagliagli with five per cent naiolo, ideal for raising the pH just enough to tame and balance the wild acidity in sangiovese’s crazy heart. Though it’s a 2016 it is yet to be released beuse tells Valeria Losi, “we believe it will still improve in the bottle.” Hard to argue with the logic beuse the tannins are not just UGA focused but so very Losi in temperament. And yet they are also sweet and suave in spite of being so forceful. Finally there is the persistence and length, qualities embraced by ’16 and especially through Riserva appellative form. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Piemaggio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Fioraie 2016


A certain and specific kind of Riserva concentration here from the stellina rossa, direction Poggibonsi. Some beauty in tradition and rusticity, full on complement of acids and impart by the dusty track. A good interaction and integration overall where parts intersect and compliment in spite of the dry and high-toned character. Very stellina Riserva in that regard and from an identifiable place within a place. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Podere paccia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016


Fruit comes from the “vineyard down below,” the flysch, sandstone, marl, shale and clay 0.92 hectare old (2007 planted) vines of sangiovese block known as Le panelle. Not only was 2016 a vintage of promise and growth it also allowed for lengthy hang time and fully kept acidity. The ’16 has actually fleshed out since last tasted 25 months prior and yet the tannins have barely broken stride. Less new oak then ’15 (after no Riserva made in ’14) led to ’16 being a more balanced elévage (at 30 per cent). Radda is here in all its awe-inspiring vista glory, at 500m elevation, on a steep southern slope, breezy and making for seriously vinous wines.? Last tasted March 2022

The bright light and fresh face of paccia is something exceptional, exciting and new. So much fruit and rose petal emits from the nose and while comparing sangiovese to other important grape varieties is neither necessary or my style I have to say that the Premier Cru (Nuits-Saint-Georges) feeling of this fruit n be imagined in pinot noir terms. Rarely do I feel the need to do this but this Riserva takes me there and then comes home. Huge stride forward for the estate. Drink 2022-2032.? Tasted February 2020

Quercia al Poggio’s Michela and Vittorio Rossi, San Donato in Poggio

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016

San Donato in Poggio

Though 2016 is not equipped with the fruit set that 2015 surely owns there is no shortage of substance to match Quercia al Pogggio’s packed house of herbs, savour, long-chained tannins and slow release from structure. Like the difference between Annata from 2018 to 2019 there is a similar change from Riserva 2015 to 2016. Night and day in a way, from perfume to a wine of finer compaction of tannins that will take even longer to release. You n really see the refinement in the Riservas, especially in the 2016. This will live longer than the 2015, that much is clear.? Tasted November 2021

Surprising or not the ’16 Riserva from small batch Quercia al Poggio is a pretty heady and serious wine, reductive, rich and a tough nut to crack. Plenty of wood sheathing at this very stage brings texture, silken and quite creamy. A whole lot of everything that will require time. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted February 2020

Bindi Sergard Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG I Colli 2015


Holding strong and from 2015 a complexity emerging, of the I Colli earth and more elemental punch than noted in either ’16 or ’18. This is where Alessandra sini Bindi Sergardi was born and grew up. Built in the 1400s for the family, lower in elevation (350m) as compared to Mocenni (500m), still rich in Alberese but also high in iron content as across the road in the Chianti Colli Senesi. The wood and its fortifying spice are quite notable in this glass. Perhaps a vintage push or perhaps time related. Either way Riserva ’15 is more than ready and also willing to linger for five years further. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

ntalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015


A single vineyard sangiovese Riserva, from 45 year-old vines, aged two years in 20 hL barrels. Next level concentration but also movement, here from 2015 showing almost as much development as both ’11 Annata and ’10 Riserva. That is surely a matter of wood and vineyard, a soft, creamy and evolved sangiovese, chocolate and dried fruits throughout.? Last tasted February 2022

Apposite to Barrufo in that Messer Ridolfo sees 18 months in 70 per cent small 20hL French oak and the rest in stainless steel. Also 100 per cent sangiovese from soils of Alberese and Galestro though slightly lower down on the Gaiole slopes, near the 300m mark. Richness, coniferous forest resin and wood accents in tobacco and dark chocolate make for a deeper, more resonant and even barbarous Chianti Classico Riserva. One of balsamico, tartufo and a certain era’s chic islands in the stream style. This will really take you back. Drink 2020-2025.? Tasted November 2020

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015

stelnuovo Berardenga

That sweet stell’In Villa stelnuovo Berardenga volatility is elevated and exceptional in 2015 Riserva, as is the fruit substance, overall extract and concentration. That feeling of growing sangiovese amongst 200 hectares of woods is palpable, like herbs, forest nuts and shrubs injected into the DNA of this singular wine. As if sun and savour were threaded through plants, vines, trees and grapes, things trampled underfoot and spices by wood making for a full and credible sangiovese. True lol liqueur and years to young to even consider where this will go, or to think about current exceptionalities. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

stello di Radda Riserva

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015


Riserva sees 24 months in Grandi Botti and also second passage Tonneaux, very much exactly halfway between the elévage of Annata and Gran Selezione. A bit more acetic acidity in 2015 which seems counterintuitive to the vintage but such is the singularity of the sangiovese that grows on the vines in this and neighbouring lolità. Dusty, plum and currant fruit, not unlike 2018 Annata, less “Riserva” than ’16 in sentiment though will age quite well. There is an affinity here with stelnuovo Berardenga, in a way like Villa a Sesta and even stel’InVilla. Wholly unique Chianti Classico Riserva (Radda) expression. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015

San Donato in Poggio

A selection of all the vineyards around al Poggio but also a true factor of all the different soils and their vines needing many passes, for picking across 25 days. Aged in tonnaeux like the Annata, longer of course and the secret lies in the custom made sorting table, slanted, vibrating and allowing to find the most perfect fruit. The wine opens incrementally with each and every moment and with these passages of time the perfume really blooms. Time and timing is everything. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014


Talk about a strange and challenging vintage. In many parts wet and cold, even here but by using more grapes from Il Corno and allowing them to hang longer, well into October, the ripeness just about made the grade. A “balsamic” vintage, really fresh and with sneaky structure. Showing well, really savoury, no departure from the stello di Radda style and with dusty, musky and dusky tannins that still bear their teeth. Just a little crunchy. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico Riserva Bugaialla 2014, Radda

Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Bugialla 2014


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. A wine as a child of ppello sommerso, stylistilly Piedmontazine in origin, long maceration and from a really wet and cool vintage. Always elegant, always a matter of vineyard rows that ripen just bit earlier, better and with phenolic completion as compared to the rest of Piero Lanza’s fruit. Chewy, especially for the vintage but also layered and palate ressing. This has the no lo so of Chianti Classico, the umami found in just certain wines of understanding and humility. Lanza gets it and that’s important. It means he res. Bravo Piero.? Tasted March 2022

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Sa’Etta 2014


It was my request to look back at an older version of Sa’Etta, to see how the earlier lift, animale and swarthy behaviour has either settled down or remained an integral part of a wine steeped in character as place. Things n be circumstantial and sometimes they simply are not. Now, 2014 has indeed settled but we are very aware of some beautifully feral character looking back. The newer vintages of 2017 through 2019 surely speak in more graceful tones or rather those edgy notes slide and integrate with greater subtleties. What has really come about is how the fruit and acid intertwine roll with tidal bio-endo-dynamism across the palate. That is beuse the extra few years of polymerized tannins have served to sweeten the once shy Pietraforte raised sangiovese. As it is said, timing is everything. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted November 2021

With Angela Fronti, Istine, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2014

Radda and Gaiole

Made from the three Istine vineyards and the best grapes from each though the percentage changes each vintage beuse the vineyards have strong identities and show differently from year to year. “It was 2014 that made me stronger so it is my favourite vintage,” tells Angela Fronti. Rained so much, disease pressure and botrytis were in effect and so the soil needed to be repeatedly cleaned, the grapes thinned and the harvest pass three times over. Talk about the passion and the ability to age Riserva into what is now a timeless exposition and impression, a liquidity now viscous and fluid like a cold stream of fresh water you so desire to drink. Savour ptured, Raddese acidity set to the future, Gaiole threaded through and time so very much on this Riserva’s side. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted February 2022

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Baròncole 2014


All together a different vintage for the Classico, cool, salt-licked, mineral, linear and ethereal. Not an orange or cherry one and quite frankly not one of fruit at all. “In our se the base Chianti Classico suffered a bit, but the ones picked later in October for Riserva were high quality.” Work with this 2014 in the glass for 10-15 minutes and it will flesh, silken and lengthen. No jam or concentration but elegance personified.? Last tasted February 2022

In 1957 San Giusto A Rentennano was inherited by Enrico Martini di Cigala and in 1992, by his nine children. Today Anna, Lucia, Elisabetta, Francesco, Alessandro and Lu are partners in the estate company. Riserva le Baròncole 2014 is composed from 97 per cent sangiovese plus naiolo, the 14th Baròncole of a Riserva that was first bottled in 1975. The rains of summer did not deter this determined Chianti Classico, thanks to great farming practices, favourable weather conditions at harvest and under the circumstances, the strictest grapes selection possible. A beautiful liqueur wells in this rich and aromatic, spiced and spicy CC, quite exceptional for 2014. The top of the quality pyramid is reached with its rich constitution and age conscious ability. Chalky in fine grain and sweet tannins, no green notes, good acidity and properly rendered (20 per cent new) barriques and big (5 hl) barrels. Get with the baron. It’s a prime “esempio” for Gaiole in Chianti. Drink 2018-2024.? Tasted September 2017

Le Vigne, Istine, Radda

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2013

Radda and Gaiole

As for 2013 it shows so much more evolution and the blood orange juicing simply n’t be missed. Here the lovely hint of oxidation creeps in, a feeling of warmth eight years later and yet there are some refreshing moments too. The tannins persist even while the fruit is on the wane and the end of the best years is nigh. Drink this for two three more years with confidence and pleasure.? Last tasted February 2022

Levigne is considered the top wine of the estate and it is one of two assemblage-forged sangiovese. Angela Fronti produces three single-vineyard Chianti Classico, a CC that combines all three vineyards and this Riserva. Since the 2012 harvest Fronti has opted for separate vinifitions of sangiovese according to each vineyard of origin. Through different wines the characteristics of each specific vineyard, as in exposure, soil and altitude, are exploited. Fronti notes “we tell our reality through the best sangiovese harvested in the Vigna Istine (between Radda and stellina), the one collected in the Vigna sanova dell’Aia (near Radda) and the one in the Vigna varchione (in Vertine, Gaiole). Riserva is a story of assemblage and it seems to me, not the wine of Angela’s greatest passion. This CCR is chosen from her best fruit and spent 18 months in large botti. The fruit is raisin chewy and a bit stewed to be sure but with good acidity and tart, tight tannins to keep the faith. It’s disjointed and I would bet the single-vineyard CCs are more precise and focused. Should SV Riservas be the wave of Istine’s future? Only Fronti n answer that question, if adding more diversity to the portfolio is even a possibility. All that said this high quality blend will turn and morph for a more than interesting secondary CCR display of personality. Drink 2017-2022.? Tasted September 2017

Istine Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Levigne 2012

Radda and Gaiole

Angela’s first vintage, a very dry one (similar to what would come out of 2017) and also the first from fully organic vineyards. Also a warm one (just as ’17 would also be) and the evolution is upon this very moment. The feeling of wood wells into a chocolate melt from 2012, something neither ’13 nor ’14 seem to possess or process. Full and satisfying, acidity intact and keeping the ripeness alive.? Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

ntalici Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Baruffo 2010


In Riserva form and from a year earlier as compared to the ’11 Baruffo Annata it is this 2010 that has fully and completely entered its secondary stage of development. All umami, in porcini and tartufo but also plum pudding and tells Giovanni, “the evolution we want.” This is a very handsome wine, in a lm and relaxed state, but with acids very much intact. The wood has melted and integrated so beautifully and while its excess is a concept of time, there is no doubting how well it was used. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010

stelnuovo Berardenga

A look back 12 years and the memories are mostly in notes for a vintage of strength but not necessarily the body of some others immediately before and also after. Expediently secondary and holding that way now for a few years, not yet truffled but plenty of wood and woods, oak and bosco, nuts mostly, with layers of chocolate. Residing in between, not a wine of real age but well past its youth. There is nothing earthy about this whatsoever, rather it’s cheery and almost sweet. Good fruit vintage and generous oak are obvious and that is why the wine has survived so well though the latter plays a starring role. Still some unresolved yet resolute tannin for a few more years. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

The bright perfume is elevated out of 2010 and brought to present day prominent, scintillant life. A sangiovese out of which the Principessa “feels the sense of the earth.” You somehow still feel the sweet na?veté of maceration, from a very promising now realized vintage of both fruit wealth and structure. Just a moment’s porcini breath characterizes the present, coming through to speak of a turning point and the next aromatic phase. Just a baby really. Drink 2018-2024.? Tasted November 2018

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Poggio delle Rose 2010

stelnuovo Berardenga

A nearly two hectare single vineyard or if you like the stell’In Villa cru and really just a fraction of what is made in the “other” Riserva. Similar aging profile but with more depth and also complexity, here in the 15th vintage (first in 1996) from a vineyard created by the cuttings of the best vines identified around the estate. Getting the the iron mineral in addition to the brush and herbs which make this feel younger and more alive. These tannins are impressively resolute and trenchant, trading blows with your palate but en route to their soft moment in the sun. Extraordinary really, a wine about a place within a place within a place. The proverbial enigma, wrapped, shrouded, etc., etc.? Last tasted March 2022

From the hill parcel planted in 1990 to the old selezoine massale clones, from the original property, not the current “Chianti Classico” clones. “And there is a difference,” insists Principessa Coralia. Three or four years in grandi botti and older tonneaux so no, it’s not even close to ready. Yet the ft that you don’t explicitly notice the tonneaux is its magic. A big and complex vintage with variability in temperature and precipitation but at the crucial moments it gave what was needed. There is a special presence about this sangiovese, beuse of the source but also how alive, bright-eyed and expressive it is. This pulses, vibrates and reverberates with ancient seabed salinity. No loss to finesse but more time will be required, to turn back time and back pages, for the true clarity and lm disposition to settle in. Extraordinary wine of restrained power and exceptional sangiovese. Has always been Riserva and “will never be Gran Selezione.” Drink 2021-2035.? Tasted November 2018 and February 2019

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Baròncole 2010


The 2010 is a big and concentrated wine for San Giusto, acidity running high, tannins still ruminating and spice all over the proverbial tufo map. A highly seasoned sangiovese with drying notes and sensations. This seems like a Riserva vintage that hit its stride at the 10 year mark as opposed to others where 15 is the bench. At least in terms of fruit that is. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Villa Pomona Bandini 2009, stellina

Fattoria (Villa) Pomona Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Bandini 2009


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. Just a baby in many ways, especially with Pomona’s particular stellina character and specificity of acidity acting as backbone for this gently tannic wine. There is some tropil fruit on the nose, almost guava but more so persimmon and pomegranate, still very Italian but surely exotic. The wood has melted and it lingers in soft tones, not earthy but woodsy. Chocolate finish, not surprising and not overpowering.? Tasted March 2022

Val delle Cort’s Roberto Bianchi in the wilds of Radda

Val Delle Corti Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2009


From the upper Riserva block and now at 11-12 years of age, a wine of perfume and such porcini, tartufo and umami it is really quite amazing. From another time in Radda history and a vintage able to withstand the test of time. The acidity persists but truth is a fat year and yes, conceptualized Raddese will always be there. Lovely drop at this stage and with thanks to place. Posizione. Sempre. Always. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2008


Tasted alongside the 2018 and like the 9s there is also great affinity between these 8s, if a bit less so. This previous dede gave a vintage cool and elongated if perhaps a former one as well. The once commanding tannins are done working the room and glass while the grippy acids persist and dominate the dusty plum fruit. There is some acetic meandering behaviour here and also some soy, balsamic and deep baritone notes. Imagined as once reductive the 2008 now sees its best days in the rear-view mirror. Drink 2022.? Tasted February 2022

Conte pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Vigna Bastignano 2008


Sebastiano pponi’s Vigna Bastignano was the single vineyard Riserva back in 2008, now one of three Gran Selezione wines bottled at lcinaia. The structure and grip back then must have been something formidable beuse while these elements of architecture and control have relented and mostly subsided the sangiovese stands like a Florentine edifice with the pponi crest up top, front and centre. Clearly a wine of drive and design, lculated and restored each and every time. The balsamic and earthy brewed notes are most noted while fruit wanes and hangs as if in a Baroque still life painting. Drink this with confit, preferably sauced and accompanied by a side of volo nero and white beans. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Poggiorosso 2008

stelnuovo Berardenga

Expectation dictates a much more advanced character for Poggiorosso (which predated the Gran Selezione at that time) but it is in fact a fresh and youthful example of a right and proper single vineyard wine. The tannins persist but reside in the arena of fine design with wood seasoning piquing the persistent fruit. Finishes with a meal ending shot of dusty espresso. Remarkable longevity. Should drink well easily for five more years. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted February 2022

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Baròncole 2007


Though the secondary notes are just now fully in emerging form the fruit quality and persistence is just a bit more in linger than the three years younger 2010. This 2007 has held up remarkably well for a wine that for all rights and purposes should have begun to wane and fade away. Some good quality tannin also persists and while more wood effect comes through in chocolate there is a lovely balance and swimmingly beautiful character in true Riserva style. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Riserva Le Baro?ncole 2006, San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Le Baròncole 2006


2006 was a very good vintage. People were worried at the end of August but in the middle of September there was a rain of 100mm and then for the last two weeks high temperatures (27 degrees) by day and cool (10) at night. Finished harvest on the 9th of October. Like 2012 there is a faint scent of cooking animal but here the tannins are really sweet and oh so fine. This is almost perfect Chianti Classico at 15 years old, exactly secondary, industrially complex and opening up the world of possibility, imagination and mostly emotion. Wildly aromatic and a bottle that represents Le Bar?ncole, Riserva and the vineyards of San Giusto in the best way. Could hardly be better. Drink 2021-2027.? Tasted November 2021

Il Poggio, stello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Il Poggio 2004

San Donato in Poggio

Ideal vintage, not too hot or cold and aged in tonneaux. Clearly a sangiovese from a time when extraction and oak aging conspired not necessarily for huge wines but those of full-body, flesh and creamy flavours. If there is some chocolate and fé so be it beuse the graceful rusticity, waning blood orange and traditional ambience are all more important than anything the wood (two thirds new) might have eventually wanted to say. A seasoned linger thanks the Galestro and acids for the drift. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2000

stelnuovo Berardenga

“With sangiovese I never get bored. I drink it in all its versions. It gives you full satisfaction.” The words are those of Principessa Coralia Leonini Pignatelli. This from 2000 is one of those unique iterations, a cool vintage as they come, especially at that time. There is a sweetness to the fruit, matched with an equal and opposing savour, the polar opposite to the 1994 tasted last night. Almost blood orange but not quite, certainly not the iron-mineral notes of that ’94 or especially 2010. There is delicy and grace from 2000, a fineness and a precision but nothing gangly or powerful at all. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Monsanto, stell’In Villa e Brolio, I 9 Dedi

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1995

stelnuovo Berardenga

Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. Quite excited to taste this ’95 Riserva from Principessa Coralia beuse the last time it was slightly tainted by T. This bottle is in much better condition, vibrant and bright, full of fruit. Full on stelnouvo savour, brush and vineyard dirt. An older stell’In Villa that so reminds of some older, oxidative and terrifilly characterful Greek reds. Especially xinomavro from Naoussa. Yet the acids are higher and the texture more salve viscous.? Last tasted March 2022

Every memory of the summer that was 1995 in Chianti Classico is important, not the least of which are 17 days spent there and the terrible weather that followed the communes all summer long. Perhaps that is why this 23-plus year-old sangiovese has lingered into the most finessed and pleasure gathered state of grace. It’s an older bird to be sure and even not the cleanest example there is or was but its tertiary place is still marked by fine acidity and grippy tannin. Classic stelnuovo sangiovese with dried porcini sttered amongst the leaves of autumn. Drink 2019-2020. Tasted February 2019. (The slight T in this example really means the wine is not rated)

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1994

stell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1994

stelnuovo Berardenga

Looking back the style shows as a wood directed vintage and so not entirely aromatic at this 28 year point. Notable at the fore are soy, balsamic, tar and iodine. Acidity and structure are holding the fort though this really does feel like a sangiovese of a particular oak regime time. Mid-nineties IGT-ism if you will and yet the wine is showing really well. Full and having aged slowly to this point and degree, pitchy as it gets and really quite a heady wine. Pairs beautifully with cervo (deer) loin. Truly. After 30 minutes everything changes. The wood integrates and fades to the background, now spice up front and a sweetness emerges. Finally it is stell-In Villa, intrinsic, automatic, for real. Drink 2022-2024. Tasted March 2022. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Lamole di Lamole 1993

Lamole Di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1993


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. Curious to assess this with the ’93 Annata in mind from September 2018, a wine that sat in quite good standing. Both are from Andrea Daldin’s first vintage at Lamole di Lamole. The Riserva is impressive with kept freshness and spirit of life in a 1993 filled with Lamole’s profumi in pocket and more so brushy herbs, especially sage noted on the nose. The wine is in terrific shape, easily hanging in as compared to tasting the 1993 Annata three and a half years ago.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Il Poggio 1986

San Donato in Poggio

A forgotten or passed over vintage 1986, right after 1985 and vintage of the century, like 1997, but not. Cool and equipped with great longevity, of bokser pod, fennonchiona, all leading to liquorice. But most of all a very pronounced San Donato in Poggio blood orange and sanguinity, with classic Monsanto tannins that likely fully resolved about 10 years ago. In fantastic condition, drinking with love and precision, generous and comforting. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

Antinori 1985, San sciano

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Marchese Antinori 1985

San sciano

Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. Only the second year in DOCG (Chianti) status. Fully completely tertiary Chianti Classico and quite charming at that. Really scents and tastes like chestnuts, lightly roasted, also hazelnuts, gently toasted. A wine of barriques and San sciano herbology, of mandarin orange, vanilla and baking spice. Chocolate is all over the finish with a sense of drying tannin still very a part of the mix. As much an older expression of Tosna as it could be Chianti Classico.? Tasted March 2022

Sangioveto and Il Poggio, stello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio 1969

San Donato in Poggio

From a bottle that was re-corked in 2005 and no surprise to be found in pristine condition. As much akin to a Sangioveto as to the 1968 Il Poggio due to a level of mulch and forest underfoot but also the blood orange fruit, dried nuts and high acid. You n feel the malic acid in the bottle, creamy and even more so like aged pecorino. Would have been very tight and closed for likely two dedes and the three years in chestnut sk has also served to increase the longevity of this 1969. Not a big vintage, light on its 50-plus year old frame and with flavours that repeat over and over again. Drink 2021-2027.? Tasted February and March 2022

I 9 Dedi di Chianti Classico, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze

Badia A Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 1958


Tasted as part of “Il Chianti Classico in 9 Dedi” led by Filippo Bartolotta with Giovanni Manetti at Stazione Leopolda in Florence at the Chianti Classico Collection. A unique expression of a time in Chianti Classico’s history, removed from the war and yet still well ahead of the abolishment of the Mezzadrie. A deeply plum-earthy sangiovese, connected to oenologist Maurizo stelli. The most profound and dominant sensation derived is that of toasted nuts and dried fruit, two Classico characteristics that work so well alongside antipasti of salumi in all its Tusn iterations. No citrus or white grape feelings are gained, only fruit in a fully dehydrated, raisin stage. The finish lingers and tells much about the 60-plus years of this special wine.? Tasted March 2022

Officina Bistec, Anti Maccelleria Cecchini, Panzano

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2019

Roc Delle Macìe Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva Di Fizzano Single Vineyard 2019


Take the 2018 Riserva di Fizzano and move ahead with forward and current conditions acumen to open a new door, that being Tenuta di Fizzano. Makes great sense and so ideal to use this round, beautiful and amenable vintage for the change to make even greater sense. Sweetly concentrated fruit, good quality ’19 acids that never sear nor steal the spotlight all fall into a round and soft structural line. Even better value if not the vintage to cellar too long. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted February 2022

With milla Bellini and Nadia Fournier, Enote Bellini, Firenze

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2018

Antinori Badia A Passignano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

San sciano

From 2018 and San sciano the Antinori winemaking team has looked to fill this bottle with great concentration and all the vintage was pable of completing. As such there is some very late picked fruit and it shows through the mature development of those grapes. Also some variegation in that fresh, dried, chewy, crisp and toasty notes are all layered through this Gran Selezione. It comes from the Passignano vines but it all blends and blurs into a smouldering example of top level Chianti Classico. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Barone Risoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Colledilà 2018


Tasted in Rome with Francesco Risoli, a Colledilà picked just ante the final moments of September, ahead of the last days of heat and cold nights. And so a freshness that defines that very specific part of the vintage dictates how this Gaiole Gran Selezione will express what it means to be of itself. “For me one of the most creative times in the last ten years,” tells the Barone, “sharing decisions with the team.” Risoli refers to Covid-era collaboration, when members of the viticultural and vinicultural staff had more time. So perfumed, of roses and of course cherries but most of all a natural sweetness that pervades, prepares and readies the palate. Elegant, balanced and really as good as it gets for Colledilà, mimicking “the elegance of the Chianti landspe, its hills dotted with strongholds.” Drink 2022-2029.? Tasted October 2021

sale Dello Sparviero Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Paronza 2018


Paronza is a buoyant and almost weightless, gravity defying Gran Selezione, easy of mind, body and alcohol. Aromatilly reticent and a wine so young you really have to play, swirl and agitate to get any kind of emotive response. Perfume, red fruit and fresh sanguinity do emerge, followed by a sappy, almost syrupy texture dominated by liquid Galestro-willed tannins. Very stellina, wholly vintage related and will drink well beginning two years or so from now. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Podere stellinuzza Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vecchie Vigne 2018


Vines that are quite old accentuate and concentrate the Lamole perfume, that much must be obvious but it also serves to emulsify and thicken the fruit wrapped in savoury bacon for a true roasted nightshade and meaty experience. This may not be for the vegetarians in the crowd but it packs a punch of high ste complexity and takes stellinuzza’s work to an entirely new level. Full flavoured and throttled bottle with all the herbs, wood spices and florals fully in the mix. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Bossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

Tasted as part of “Operatori nadese,” in a tasting of stelnuovo Berardenga wines for “La Squadra” from nada. Bossi’s is knowable, highly effective and teachable Gran Selezione. The sangiovese right at the heart of the appellation and crux of the matter. Wide open, air filled, breezy, sunny and blue sky dreamy. Depth of fruit, smart, creamy and juicy as Classico summer Berardenga fruit. Concentration finds balance alongside structure. Ideal 10 year wine. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2018


A blend of more than 90 per cent sangiovese, with colorino and malvasia nera on predominantly Alberese plus Galestro soils aged for 20 months in small French barrels (225 and 500L, 60 per cent of them new). Finished for four months in concrete tanks to stabilize and pture that last moment of preserving freshness. A wily and exotilly wild Gran Selezione, perfumed, high acid and stimulative. Attacks the buds and the senses with ferocity and with wholly operational spice piques due to the wood. Needs four years. Drink 2025-2030.? Tasted February 2022

stello di Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG La Prima 2018


Vicchiomaggio’s La Prima is singular and distinctive out of the potentially adverse and yet available for pture 2018 vintage. The fruit acts like sangiovese et al hung long on the vine, well-developed while in contact with roots, legumes, herbs and brush. From the savoury Greve, fully intact and in tact for a Gran Selezione that is linear, upright and long. Needs time, a whole lot of precious time. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG La Fornace 2018


The Furnace made friends with 2018, heating up just enough but keeping its emotions in check to make this suave, emulsified and tempered Gran Selezione. Feeling the fully developed ripenesses is not a difficult task, nor is there any impediment to accessing what silky texture and even silkier tannin are available in full regale and display. Perhaps the least austere, demanding and grippy La Fornace ever produced at the hands of Sebastiano pponi but the structure is indeed sneaky and built for a haul both stretched and long. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Conti pponi/Villa lcinaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigna Contessa Luisa 2018


There is little doubt that of the three lcinaia Gran Selezione it is Vigna Luisa Contessa that exhibits the most elastic, lithe and lm character. Not that it lacks in concentration and in fact it exudes the feeling of long fermentation time with great quality sangiovese skins. Despite the high and haute tripling levels of fruit substance, sweet acidities and finest tannins there is just something single and stony vineyard stretched about how all parts react to and interact with one another. Luisa is both luxe and elongated, lush and forever. A Contessa’s vintage this 2018. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Pomona Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Omini Vineyard 2018


The little man was planted in 1998 and this is the first Gran Selezione for Moni Raspi. Based on the solo sangiovese and single-vineyard ideal with fruit that had previously only been sent to Riserva. As with all of Raspi’s wines there is this excitement of risk-reward, of living on the edge but with a controlled lm. They set out on their own, flying free from the nest, but always seem to find their way home. And so Gran Selezione is both rebellious and edgy in youth. Some time will be needed to clean up, dress for success, act all charming and elegant. This is surely an auspicious GS beginning, fruit picked in October, preemptive in postscript of the vintage, late arriving, playing “forza e equilibrio,” acidity running high and tannins low. Not small or simple tannins but baritone, “grave e robusto,” in other words, austere. A low and slow sangiovese braise, developing, far from ready. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted October 2021

Vigna del Sorbo, Con d’Oro, Fontodi, Panzano

Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigna Del Sorbo 2018


Showed a bit astringent and tannic grippy at the 20-25 day mark during fermentation, but bold and concentrated. Very thick-skinned vintage and those grains of tannin are very fine. Bottled in February and not yet closed in but that will likely follow soon. The dry extract and concentration are off the charts. More than that the alcohol (15.5) and acidity (6.5) are so elevated beuse at the end of September the temperature rose to 30 degrees, down to 1 at night and then back up the next day. “Something I have never seen in my life,” tells Giovanni Manetti. And so Vigna del Sorbo (and many of the top wines) that were picked later and in this se after that crazy 48 hours are no shrinking violets. If one thinks 2018s are soft and easy wines, think again. Even at this level of largesse there is balance and as always, the old vines of Vigna del Sorbo. Drink 2023-2032.? Tasted October 2021

Gran Selezione Il Margone, Il Molino di Grace, Panzano

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Margone 2018


Bottled in May of 2021 so for Gran Selezione a very young wine. “It’s difficult to make a wine that is so very different, between Riserva and Gran Selezione.” You simply must take fruit from the best vineyard and keep the quantity at a consistent (approximately 6,000 bottles) level. Mainly Al Sole and Jack vineyards with a small portion from Raphaela. Actually too young, guarded and unavailable but see the forest for the trees and imagine the concentration meeting at the place where structure and balance collide, or get together. This will happen in three or four years.? Last tasted February 2022

“Everyone knows it depends on when you harvest,” chimes estate director Iacopo Morganti, echoed immediately by Daniel Grace. “That is when you make the wine.” And so picking started in October, after the late September heat and crazy isolated intervals of day to night temperature fluctuations. Picking in October is essential to making Il Margone what it is. A Gran Selezione made whole and knowing where to be. Il Margone regulates itself as time passes by, of temperature and pulse. A Gran Selezione of regular heartbeat, non-plussed, vigorous and fine. Given the word, changing the scene, getting better all the time. Who could not already drink 2018 all the time? If anyone knows, remembers and appreciates the relish and longevity of 1998, they will be able to imagine this 2018 and its similar qualities. They will begin with soon to act on haste and with experience in pocket, know to keep drinking this wine for two dedes time. Drink 2024-2034.? Tasted October 2021

Lamole Di Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigna Grospoli 2018


Vigna Grospoli is an old vineyard and one of Chianti Classico’s true cru where Lamole’s favourite son Paolo Socci also has also produced a Gran Selezione under his Fattoria di Lamole name. So yes, vineyard specific, offering a sense of sand in Macigno del Chianti form but so much more so a matter of intensity and austerity interned or in turned by the hard limestone effect of Alberese. The Lamole perfume hides in the wings while wood seasoning and stone grip take centre stage. Here a sangiovese ught between a rock and a hard place, working through the grains and fissures to eventuate a clean break and openness of generosity. Forget about it, it’s Gran Selezione. Drink 2025-2031.? ?Tasted February 2022

La Sala, San sciano

La Sala Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Torriano 2018

San sciano

Il Torriano, “the tower,” enemy lookout likely destroyed during WW2. The thread and the lineage continues, here with Gran Selezione that takes all the purity of fruit, saltiness from the soils and plushness of sweet tannins to an entirely top level. A single vineyard of 1.5 hectares, tiny by any standards. Now the salinity is liquid, dissolved in water and the resulting solution is a drink well suited to receive fine acids and sweet tannins. Large non toasted sks help to stabilize the colour and further soften the tannins but virtually nothing else. The GS is the wine that truly incorporates all three soil types; Alberese, Galestro and Macigno del Chianti. The artist painted sablan and the sketch for this label, the four roosters and the importance speaks for itself. Just a touch unresolved so wait two years. Drink 2024-2032. Ex-cellar cost is 13.2 euro.? Tasted February 2022

Le Miccine Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2018


Le Miccine is perhaps the most perfumed of all the 2018 Gaiole Gran Selezione. The aromas include those of the forest and the herb garden but they reach florals more in bloom and quite frankly they that are profound. Violets in the way of sangiovese but also roses and exotics so radiant you’d have trouble separating from nebbiolo were this poured blind. An explosive display and also a grace, integration and style that sets this so readily apart. Will eventually flesh, depart from the current state of conflagration, slowly deflate and yet always emanate with that perfume. Drink 2024-2031.? Tasted February 2022

Piccini 1882 Valiano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG “6.38” 2018


By now Piccini’s Valiano in stellina style is so consistently obvious and the hallmark red chalky flavours unnny in their replited design. The 6.38 Gran Selezione oeuvre is one of aromatic hyperbole mixed with textural charm. There is density and also weight but more so breadth in this volumetric appellative example. It is a sangiovese force to be reckoned with and earlier estimates wholly undervalued the structure. Wait two more years.? Last tasted February 2022

Bottled in December of 2020, expressive and knowable as a Vagliagli sangiovese, ripe and spicy on the nose. A child of late-picked, full phenolic development and very generous wood. The new label reflects the organic movement and future of the Gran Selezione tegory, not to mention the additional geographic unit (UGA) of Vagliagli (in the western section of stelnuovo Berardenga) that will almost surely grace the 2019 release. High level quality, well made, full on and in, deep and long. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Principe Corsini – Villa Le Corti, San sciano

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Don Tommaso 2018

San sciano

“Thomas” was Duccio Corsini’s grandfather, and his before him. The first vintage labeled as Don Tommaso was 2013, here in 2018 bottled under natural cork. Gran Selezione is 30 months with a few at the end in bottle before release. Like with Riserva the vintage is a boon for GS, not bust due to the acidity, amenability and vigour sensibilities. A drink earlier Selezione to be sure, accessible and saline delicious. Dark fruit yes and more wood to be sure but also the 20 per cent merlot that softens, texturizes and accentuates with the best grapes available. Shows this part of the territory in spite of or despite the amount of merlot. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Zac, Principe Corsini – Villa Le Corti, San sciano

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG ZAC 2018

San sciano

The top of the pyramid in all respects, second vintage after the inaugural 2016 with no production (across the board) in 2017, though it was first made in 2008. Varietal sangiovese from the eastern section of a Pliocene river stones vineyard just down right from the winery, away from the village of San sciano. Labeled as San sciano in Val di Pesa, a precursor to the new UGA initiative with sub-zones now allowed on the labels of Gran Selezione Chianti Classico. A biodynamic as well as organic vineyard split into three plots. More seasoning and spice, chalky, fine-grained texture (with thanks to the barriques) and yes more structure. Wood is a big factor but the acidity and freshness n handle it. Let this rest three years. Drink 2024-2031.? Tasted October 2021

Jacopo di Battista, Querceto di stellina

Querceto Di stellina Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Sei 2018


Iacopo di Battista began this journey in 1997 with a unique high elevation vineyard at the triangular geographic confluence of three UGAs; Panzano, Radda and his stellina. He planted new vineyards in 2003 and 2008, including bernet franc and a small plot of viognier and marsanne on a terraced hill above the house and ntina. Sei is a selection of two sections of the main (450-510m) vineyard and they form a cru. Two parcels that shine and excel in their commonality and also complimentary sangiovese desire. From 2018 Sei doubles down on the laser Alberese cut and balsamic front. There is no mistaking the searing intensity and full throttle, high acid limestone lead. Time is a must to give these tannins their due and to request they settle down. Not sure Iacopo has fully figured out his vineyard but when he does look out. As a reminder Sei is 6.6 hectares of 6,666 plants and Iac’s mama Laura was born on June 6, 1946. Not to mention 100 litres makes 666.666 bottles. Whaaat!?! Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted February 2022

Roc Delle Macìe Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva Di Fizzano Single Vineyard 2018


The addendum of 10 per cent colorino brings hue and sweet freshness to sangiovese that takes a clear and knowable step forward with not just concentration but also depth and open knit generosity. Constantly the most accessible and value to price winning Gran Selezione sangiovese on the market and here from a vintage that offers plenty of fullness, plush tannin and bang for the buck.? Last tasted February 2022

Hard to imagine more amenability and immediate gratifition from sangiovese at the Gran Selezione level than from this single estate/vineyard Fizzano out of stellina in Chianti. A sangiovese deeply hued with aid and abetting by 10 per cent colorino, all raised off of this (of four) Roc delle Macìe estates on Miocene deposits with a sandy-loamy texture, deep and lreous. Good if not obtuse elevation at 280-300m and a classic Macìe elévage of 20 months in French barrels of 30-35 hl, while a small proportion (10 per cent) is aged in 225L barriques. What is most striking is this push-pull, see-saw integration between open-knit and approachable fruit but also a sapid mouth-filling glycerol with thanks to a healthy pH versus acidity symbiosis. n’t beat the price to offer customers an open window into the Gran Selezione tegory. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted December 2021

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Sergio Zingarelli 2018


The team at Roc delle Macìe surely heeded the vintage ll and did nothing to press the situation. The pedal is not laid down to the metal and a slow travelling grace does indeed fill the glass from this 100 per cent sangiovese. Sweet berry and plum fruit in season, ripe and juicy lead to an easy glide and these are the softest Gran Selezione tannins from any Sergio Zingarelli made so far. Drink these young while the bigger and more demanding ’16 and ’17 take their time. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Tenuta Di Arceno Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Strada Al Sasso 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

Tenuta di Arceno may be stelnuovo and Siena is the closest city in the province but it exists as a world of its own, despite being referred to as “the most Senese Chianti Classico.” Strada al Sasso wholly and expectedly represents the remarkable diversity of soils including clay, sandstone, basalt and hard schist. They range from sediment-based near the riverbanks to extremely rocky in the higher elevations. Here drives but also drifts a deeply resonant and yet refree Gran Selezione, if it may be said almost as if like Napa mountain fruit stylistilly speaking. Where depth and air collide, from roots digging deep into the strata and fruit coming up for air. All parts walk the road. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Tolaini Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Montebello Sette 2018

stelnuovo Berardenga

While there is some merlot in Annata, Gran Selezione is single vineyard and 100 per cent sangiovese. Lots of sun, facing south and the ability to develop wines of high everything: ripeness, acidity, alcohol and tannin. Not far from Monti within Gaiole and also the clay and tufo terroir of San Giusto a Rentennano. All in all a place where powerful wines are also made but also so well balanced. The amphitheatre-shaped vineyard is at Montebello and Francesco Rossi is the winemaker. Even more transparent, grippy, dusty and linear than previous vintages with great climbing ability. Expressly yet rung upon rung rising tannic presence and persistently traditional to represent sangiovese in the most classico way. Wait eight years from vintage to take full advantage. Drink 2026-2032.? Tasted February 2022

Coltassala and Il Puro, Volpaia, Radda

Volpaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Coltassala 2018


Less openly fragrant and giving then 2017, only serving to show that some ‘18s are bigger and grander than too many people think, or have given them credit for. Regardless of a year having passed or not there is no doubt about the backbone in Coltasalla 2018, in Volpaia’s highly specific Raddese acidity and a tannic structure as long as a Radda autumn. In fact this was picked on October 22nd, a full month after 2017. The chains of command run deep and the connectivity remains unbroken for a Coltasalla that will undoubtedly stand the test of time, stay relevant and stay within secondary elements well into the next dede or more. Drink 2024-2036.? Tasted October 2021

Godello and Zebarth, San Felice, stelnuovo Berardenga

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017

Barone Risoli stello Di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2019


As a reminder Risoli makes several iterations of Gran Selezione, including Colledilà, Ceniprimo and Roncicone. That would make this stello di Brolio the most rounded, deliverable and marketable of the four. Less profound and precise perhaps but surely the one to teach about and express the multifarious aspects of Risoli’s five distinctive soils. Take a little trip around the property and you will see there is in fact more earth than sea. Deposits of clay, limestone, shale, schist and silt all contribute to this fulsome, composed and concentrated example of Gran Selezione. Finding understanding and if also compromise it is simply a matter of many soil voices, hands and personalities heard and combined for great Gaiole diplomacy. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

sa Emma, San Donato in Poggio

sa Emma Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017

San Donato in Poggio

sa Emma farms 25 hectares in the San Donato in Poggio UGA (unità geografiche aggiuntive) at 430-500m, with plenty of north facing vineyards. Organic practices began in 2015, certified in 2017. There was a 35 per cent loss in 2021 due to the April frosts, a vintage when even some of the higher reaches were affected. You would have to go back to 1995 to find another vintage where this happened. Gran Selezione is 100 per cent sangiovese, not of a cru but best bunches from the best places in the vineyards. Fermented in open top barrels and then spends three years in 1000L Austrian barrels, starting from 2015. First vintage was 2010, not made in ’11 and ’14 and only “when there is sense to make it.” More lightness of being, elegance and elasticizing than the single-vineyard “cru” Vignalparco. This is the persistent, complex, refined and elongated one, the sa Emma version of Gran Selezione, a made wine and turning the appellative tegory on its head. Drink 2024-2033.? Tasted at Tasted October 2021

stello Di Meleto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017


Meleto 1256 from 2017 is a pure, openly fragrant and transparent snapshot of the vintage, especially in the context of Gaiole. Quite bright and very lifted, a veritable potpourri of reds and greens, perfumes and herbs, tart fruits, nuts and brush. If light then also balanced within the context of what was possible out of hot, arid and unpredictable 2017. Meleto made good if best work with the product available. Drink 2024-2027.? Tasted February 2022

stello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio

stello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigneto Il Poggio 2017

San Donato in Poggio

Two harvests for Il Poggio, one for Riserva and one for this Gran Selezione. There is a different and specific clone aboard Il Poggio, planted to two thirds of the hill, a larger type, a sangiovese grosso kind and so in drier vintages it really helps a lot. Great freshness, like it was just bottled, fruit on the darker red spectrum and savour equal, sidling, unloosing and so supportive. The defining marker of Il Poggio for Laura Bianchi is the Galestro, “terra bagnata,” wet stone and arancia. On the palate it is the grain of Il Poggio, difficult to describe but you know “grana diversa,” a tannic grain and saltiness, then a long aftertaste. Brilliant Il Poggio at the pinnacle for 2017. Drink 2023-2034.? Tasted October 2021 and February 2022

stello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Coltassala 2017


No need to go on about the challenge of the vintage with the plants dropping much of their flowers early on and the stresses continuing throughout. Small bunches with small grapes was the result and in the end the stress was quite incredible on the vines. And yet Volpaia made this Coltasalla beuse the quality was very high and ecco, here is the result. An openly fragrant vintage, at least at this moment, fruit well strewn across a purple spectrum, spice cupboard open with vials emitting their sweetly pungent smells and tannins upright, vol, accounted for. Teaching moment in Gran Selezione from a challenge and coming out as roses. Drink this fully in the first 15 years after vintage. Last tasted October 2021

Volpaia’s Coltassala is a really concentrated Gran Selezione and one of the vintage’s early risers. That tells us it will go to bed equally early and slumber for quite some time. The architectural wonders of Radda heights are acclimatizing as we speak but will not open up the shutters and the doors for years it seems. A full compliment of ready and willing fruit is there but kept and suppressed. The emergence will be a vintage exceptionality and live that way for longer than the average ’17. Drink 2023-2032.? Tasted February 2020

stello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Puro 2017


From the vineyard (sanova) next to Coltasalla at almost similar elevation (between 400 and 450m), here more east facing but also essentially south. A much younger vineyard, planted in 2001 and here showing more exuberance if less skeletal elements than Coltassala. Like a teenager with boundless energy and passion for life, Il Puro makes one’s nose tingle and then comes the liquid peppery pique. A wine of purity in sangiovese with a joie de vivre, zest for life and honesty. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Fattoria Dell’aiola ncello Rosso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017


The single vineyard of vines aged 17 years clearly put the best fruit in the bottle. Every sip offers a new challenge, tempered now and then by more pleasant distractions, namely rich sepulchral scents of raw earth.? Last tasted February 2022

Adding Gran Selezione to the mix was an easy decision for Fattoria di Aiola, first beuse they are a property that has gone through many changes in the 620-plus years history. Second beuse their stelnuovo Berardenga terroir is some of that commune’s finest with its mix of Alberese, Galestro and Arenaria soils. One whiff of this perfume and taste of concentrated stelnuovo fruit is all it takes to be wooed, hypnotized and ptivated by what sangiovese n be. As a Gran Selezione this hits all the right buttons while dotting I’s and crossing T’s. “The red gate” shows how those who got it right are well aware that Gran Selezione holds the greatest advantage over Riserva in 2017. The concentration of fruit and acidity never allows the tannins to dry or lash out. Here they remain sweet, integrated and helpful. ncello Rosso is indeed one of the vintage’s finer efforts. Drink 2023-2030.? Tasted July 2020

With Guido Vitali and Vicky Schmitt-Vitali, Le Fonti di Panzano

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017


Feels like Annata multiplied by Riserva and coming out as this Gran Selezione. A happy Gran Selezione at this stage even if it takes longer (being sangiovese), though has already come to near fruition. Fruit, acids and tannins drinking as they are, who they are and who they will be for the next three, possibly five years. After that the wane used by vintage acceleration will be quicker than somewhere between a few and many. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Querciabella Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2017


Bottled two years ago, a high elevation Ruffoli interpretation of Gran Selezione. The genesis is in experimentation going back to 2010, ever since single high altitude Greve (essentially Ruffoli) wines have been aged and bottled as themselves. Radda and Gaiole as well but let’s face it Greve is the core. Along the way a textural component was noted, fruit associated at its inner sentiment and then in 2017 it was found and assessed to be something really exceptional. Not a wine of wood (and this was aged in old Grandi Botti), but a Gran Selezione about transparency. The soil is Arenaria sandstone and Galestro which n’t help at this elevation to gift a hint of orange rind and an unnny flintiness. Only Ruffoli smells like this and with tannins so tightly wound mixed with the intense liveliness of that 2017 acidity. The vintage was warm and dry from the beginning but plant adaptation meant no true suffering and these are vines at peace. Vibrancy at peak mixed with pure fruit emotion makes this Gran Selezione a true force of place and nature. Drink 2025-2038.? Tasted November 2021

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classio Gran Selezione DOCG Sergio Zingarelli 2017


As far as Gran Selezione is concerned and especially in 100 per cent sangiovese form there are few Chianti Classico wines that show such consistency from 2016 to 2017 as this RdM Sergio Zingarelli. This from the challenge of a warm and extremely dry vintage but all three parts remain virtually the same; fruit, acids and tannin. While they work in tandem there is much work to be done. Wait two to three years for the integration to begin. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Roc di Montegrossi, Gaiole

Roc Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigneto San Marcellino 2017


San Marcellino has been in bottle three years but is still not yet released. “It’s an example of what we n do with a warm vintage,” explains Marco Risoli. Fruit is very much alive, hanging sually with freshness and acidity, nary a tired moment making waves or using distress. Even now the combined fruit of 51 plus 25 year-old vineyards of mainly sangiovese with a few points of pugnitello equip this Gran Selezione with purity and also armour. San Marcellino n withstand the new era of aridity and hot demands. Good temperament is key with help to some bunches that were removed so as not to over-stress the vines. Spent 25 months in barrique (40 per cent) and tonneaux (60). Remarkably cool, rich and a fine juggle (giocoliere) between natural sweetness and Monti savour, salt and sour, tart and smooth. Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted March 2022

San Felice Il Grigio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG 2017

stelnuovo Berardenga

While the thread clearly runs from Annata through Il Grigio Riserva and into Gran Selezione there is the early feeling of some new (30 per cent actually) tonneaux still swirling through the consistency of this rich and creamy sangiovese. A confected citrus in a way, like pomegranate syrup or the centre of a cherry blossom. Lots of barrel feel, fine tannins and as a quotient there is a really really good potential by result. Plenty of chew in 2017. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

San Felice, stelnuovo Berardenga

San Felice Il Grigio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG Poggiorosso 2017

stelnuovo Berardenga

In the single vineyard Poggio Rosso Gran Selezione (which used to be Riserva) the inclusion of other endemic varieties (in this se pugnitello, abrusco, malvasia nera, etc.) really changes the imagery, drama and vivid personality of this ulterior wine. More depth, complexity and a vinous grapey-ness, surely a result of the inclusion of especially the pugnitello. Deep purple, rich, luxe and volupté. Nothing rustic about it and a completely different way for which the wood is used, felt and exposed. More excitement and intensity to be sure, if perhaps less structure. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted February 2022

The Chiannna of Fontodi, Panzano

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG (older vintages)

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Mocenni ’89 2016


A Gran Selezione from the Mocenni Estate in a wonderful state of equilibrium and almost lm suspension, of fruit at the pinnacle of vineyard selection with only two passages whereby the “lesser” grapes are taken out and the finest fruit is left until the first week of October to fully mature. Two years in large Gamba oak vats, Was an IGT from 2006, first GS vintage 2010. Sure these grapes from this vintage were some of the most consistent and non-variable of any recent vintage but the uniformity makes for a string and true set of wines, especially from Mocenni and up to this appellative level.? Last tasted October 2021

Mocenni takes all the advantage that 2016 n possibly pass its way and runs refree into the wind. The fruit is pretty much as ripe as there n ever be in sangiovese struck by silver acidity and gold tannins, so you n imagine the result. This needs 10 years to fully unfurl, unwind and unfold. Please give it at least half that much time. Drink 2024-2034.? Tasted February 2020

ntalici Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2016


A vineyard selection, from the best vines in what is considered the best sections of ntialici’s vineyards. Longer fermentation and stabilization to maximize the concentrated and structural effects, done up in all sorts of medium and large format sks, up to 600L for 27 months. Refined further in bottle and so 2016 is the current vintage. Big yet balanced, surely a peak vintage performance, a noble sangiovese no matter how you look at it. Freshness from fine acids and less chocolate though a few shots of espresso reign in the finish. 38 euro at the winery. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Il Becco, stello di Radda

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Corno DOCG 2016


From the single vineyard just above the ntina facing the village of Radda and Vertine. Aged in tonneaux but not new, 30 months and while the expression is from one vineyard there is a real connection with Riserva, in a brother and sister way, not surprising since most of the Riserva’s fruit is Il Corno in 2016. Harmonious and agreeable Selezione is just this and this wine is just a baby. Great Raddese acidity, fine and long chained tannins, taut and yet to unfurl. The wine is far from ready and it is now easy to understand why this is the current vintage just now being released to the market. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted March 2022

Il Molino Di Grace Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Margone 2016


Pure balance. I love this wine. Not just a compromise between two bookending vintages but for all vintages. Here you feel the great grip but not brut strength or power. You really do feel the venosity and the sangiovese purity. Good but lessened acidity and austerity. You n keep this for 15 years but not 30. As mentioned, a compromise.? Last tasted February 2022

The first “true” vintage from which freshness reigns, marking a change in farming and winemaking. Evolution to focus, incisions to precision, a succulence noted as never before. Fragrant and flavourful, an intensity of spice, all coming together and into harmony.? Last tasted October 2021

Extremely youthful ’16 but the clarity of that vintage’s fruit n’t help but be up front and present. The accountability begins right here, with 2016s out of which fruit was allowed to stay fresh and yet in Gran Selezione form there has to be time. Allow for development and the accumulation of flesh, but also succulence. This sumptuous Margone comes replete without the old style of hammer on head mentality. It’s the new and elegant one. Tasting this offers a clear picture into how Iacopo Morganti has impressed his talents and his will onto the wines of this estate. Sip one here and there over the next 15 years and it will be as close as one gets to standing in these Panzano vineyards in a pair of the Grace’s shoes. Drink 2023-2036.? Tasted February 2020

With Monia Piccini, Il Palagio di Panzano

Il Palagio Di Panzano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Le Bambole 2016

“I’m not an oenologist but I have to be critil,” tells Monia Piccini. “We are lucky to have an oenologist who is humble and took us by the hand.” Monia’s husband Franco is also from Panzano and knows every inch of this (Con d’Oro) land. Aged in tonneaux and a smaller production than 2015. The combination of clone and soil type make for small berries that produce cimmerian ink with the most intensity of sangiovese concentration. A very argiloso and lri block with the presence of Galestro which translates to a depth and breadth of grace but also structure. You n immediately tell that the grittiness of the old vines are not here but more importantly you feel the salinity, sapidity, minerailty and most of all the feeling of the land. It’s sand and limestone, phosphorous and magnesium, focus, precision and clarity. A true expression of place at the pinnacle for the Gran Selezione appellative tegory. Palagio and Panzanese. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Isole e Olena, San Donato in Poggio

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2016

San Donato in Poggio

“I did not like Gran Selezione, I did not have anything against Gran Selezione but the discussion about UGA (sub-zones) was already underway so why not wait for this next change to the appellation?” The thinking for Paolo de Marchi was more about the wines that did not qualify for the appellation becoming wines that now qualified, the issue being a new rule could not apply to only 30 or so producers. So what is needed for that to happen? “All grapes born here should be able to travel with a passport.” If it is more complited than that then there is much more to discuss. A Chianti Classico from a long, linear and fortifying vintage delivers equally appropriate and extending tannins, gripping the composition while proposing to become elegant and fine. The seamlessness and never wavering focus keeps on keeping on, in the ways of emotion in motion. Will remain in bottle one year more before being released to the market. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

La Sala Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Il Torriano 2016

San sciano

Those two years of needed resolution are on such open display in this generous and gifting 2016 Gran Selezione from the thoughtful, organic and considerate team at La Sala. Il Torrione as a reminder is from the word torre, “the tower,” a garrison/fortress term so common for the area. Great Galestro saltiness if missing an identity that has achieved a level of cult status but perhaps this team is eight years into a plan that will come to full fruition in another seven. Perhaps less or more but the incense, perfect linearity and true identity is developing and approaching the profound. “I think we are between the river crossing,” says oenologist Stefano di Blasi, somewhere between the UGA of San sciano and the new emotion of La Sala. This ’16 may be a launching point but it’s also just one rung on the ladder. Still a bit tight and the Alberese holds firm so the best is yet to come. Drink 2023-2033. Ex-cellar cost is 19.8 euro.? Tasted February 2022

Valeria Vigano?, Le Cinciole, Panzano

Le Cinciole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Aluigi mpo Ai Peri 2016


A first, meaning Aluigi used to be Riserva and out of 2016 becomes a Gran Selezione. The name refers to the trees that grow around the Panzano vineyard, a two hectare block for a wine that is a 100 per cent sangiovese. A selection of an already identified selected area of Le Cinciole’s vines. Valeria Viganò and Lu Orsini made the decision to bottle by choosing a small section and with no distraction by international varieties. Rich and youthful, even a bit Galestro dusty and salty, savoury overall yet with flavours that rell or will soon express as ssis. A grand beginning for Le Cinciole’s commitment to the appellation, with great fruit and acidity, linearity, vertility and oh so very Classico. Not just another GS but one authentic and real. Veramente. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted March 2022

Le Fonti Di Panzano

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2016


Still behind, not as on a schedule but as compared to 2017 holding firm, taking control of your palate, senses and general world. A beautiful wine with grip, structure, sensory domination and circumstance.? Last tasted October 2021

Begins at a point just exactly where the Riserva ’16 takes its leave and rries the torch of purity and delicy. Efficy too, efficiency for sure and an effusive level of strength that belies its lightness of being. Yes it takes richness in sangiovese from Panzano and this estate to another level but never forgets the heeded understatement it demands to pay forward. Another outstanding effort and worthy of 20 plus years in the cellar. Drink 2023-2035.? Tasted February 2020

Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigna Le taste?2016

San Donato in Poggio

Gran Selezione comes from the small 1997 planted two hectare vineyard on argiloso soils, lled Vigna Le taste that is the Quercia al Poggio cru. The name actually means a pile of wood, an old expression at a time when all things were given a name. A cool and savoury Gran Selezione that is clearly years away from showing the fleshiness that only the clay vineyard gives to this northern side of the estate’s promontory. Wood is a factor, mostly due time and three years will be needed to let this truly begin to breath. The first vintage was 2012 and regardless of what me before the idea here is surely not about making the biggest and most dramatic wine but one that represents a very specific sense of place, done so with confidence and for all the correct reasons. Really it’s all about the fineness of the tannins which Le taste surely shows. Drink 2023-2030.? Tasted November 2021

Roc Delle Macìe Chianti Classio Gran Selezione DOCG Sergio Zingarelli 2016


Settling in with distinction, crisp and crocnte, tannins still smiling their wry smile knowing two more years are needed to get this SZ to where it wants to be. Feeling the classic liquorice chew to match and mix with the crunchy bits.? Last tasted February 2022

Sergio Zingarelli the Grand Selezione is the rock, the gentle giant, the patriarch of the company’s wines. As a Grand Selezione it allows its actions to speak for the rest of the portfolio to follow. It leads the estates; Macìe, Sant’Alphonso, Fizzano and La Tavelelle. In 2016 the sangiovese is so different and yet so stellina in that red cherry fruit core teased by spice. Smells like roses and the feel in the mouth is swelling, rising like a tide increasing as it barrels in. In the scheme of timing it would be prudent to allow those waves in years to go out several times before looking for that window of Grand Selezione opportunity to begin. Drink 2024-2034.? Tasted February 2020

Roc Di stagnoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Stielle 2016


Stielle is Gaiole and Gaiole is the heart, savour, savoire-faire and soul of this Gran Selezione. Roc di stagnoli has ptured the essence of their elevation, vintage elongated freshness and full aged in vessel personality through the appellative oeuvre and into the beyond. A tightly composed and well-structured sangiovese here but also one that is fruitful, generous and so very, very long. The real deal and idealism inrnate from a vintage that truly marks a transition to greater things for the territory. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted January 2022

Roc Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigneto San Marcellino 2016


From the classic to Montegrossi blend of 92 per cent sangiovese with eight per cent pugnitello, bottled in December of 2018 so now nearly three full years settled. A Gran Selezione at the peak of vintage accumulation and the longest imaginable tethering of tannin to substantial fruit. Also an acid vintage though to be honest the tannic wind and compactness of Marcellino’s power makes this wine easily two years away from the earliest stages of its softening. Drink 2024-2032.? Tasted November 2021

stello di Radda

stello Di Radda Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Corno DOCG 2015


A very different vintage for the Gran Selezione, much further along than the 2016 though still less so than many other estates. Connectable to ’15 Riserva in that (in GS) it really is a balsamic year but there is more concentration and gritty tannins in the GS. Lightning red fruit here, of currants and pomegranate with true Arenaria sandstone expressiveness. Also a liquorice tone with more texture and bite than the 2016. And yet the advancement is noted in spite of the high acidity and those grippy tannins. In the window of opportunity and again despite what strong feelings there are in this unique wine.? Last tasted March 2022

Deep toned and lifted together, fruit of many layered splendour and full throttle acidity. Big and bigger components working separately at present. Give this five years for the weight of the early ferment to aerate, re-coagulate and tie il all together. Drink 2021-2028.? Tasted September 2019

Paolo de Marchi, Isole e Olena, San Donato in Poggio

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2015

San Donato in Poggio

Bigger and broader vintage, a bit unpredictable, perhaps a temperamental teenager, in and out of emotion but equipped with the necessary tools, ideas and nurtured parts to find balance throughout its life. Now a bit clumsy, high in tone like the flagship Cepparello, herbal and tart citrus edgy. Not a closed phase per se but also not an openly gregarious one either.? Last tasted February 2022

“Chianti is not a territory that gives minerality in wines. The low pH and high acidity are the factors that matter most. Here the back palate has bite, but it’s not salinity.” So says Paolo de Marchi as he introduces a series of Gran Selezione. In 2015 the difference between this GS and the Cepparello is not an enigmatic one, nor is it a mystery that de Marchi was not in favour of creating a new tegory. Still he foresaw and excepted the outcome, so ?decided to make something special. “In time, after me, it will be a single-vineyard.” Barrel selected from the Cepparello selection, this is not a 100 per cent sangiovese but rather something still in transit, even moving. So tight and tannic, fine-grained, with a new fineness of acidity, but just missing something. Like bernet franc it is quipped, but no, it wouldn’t have worked anyway. So what then? Time, that is all. Drink 2020-2029. ?Tasted February 2018

Gran Selezione, Le Fonti di Panzano

Le Fonti Di Panzano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2015


The 2015 Gran Selezione is ahead of both 2016 and 2017 yet behind 2014, a big fat, far from lean sangiovese, muscular puffed up chest and square shouldered. Showing some oxidative notes, tartufo, fungi and chocolate. Way ahead of projected schedule. Drink up.? Last tasted October 2021

Thirty months in wood and a year in bottle later, this top estate wine is the pinnacle of the Le Fonti aromatic certainty. A big vintage to be sure and one that extrapolates in every which way but loose. Taut, tight, firm, grippy and every other subset of structure you n imagine. The 100 per cent sangiovese ideal is acquiesced and believe it or not it failed DOCG designation on the first try. Who might see this as light, atypil or not ready for international prime time is surely missing the point. Drink 2021-2028.? Tasted February 2019

Losi Querciavalle Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2015


“I like ’15 more beuse of equilibrium in the aromatics and the structure,” tells Valeria Losi and note that she’s in part comparing to ’16 Riserva and in part to ’15 Gran Selezione not yet released. The 2016s may be more aromatic but the ’15s in Vagliagli and at Querciavalle shows great balance between all its parts. The GS is found to be fuller and if not weightier its fruit surely oozes, swirls and swells. More spice as well, tart but never gratuitously sour and a liquid chalky expression just now beginning to hit stride. An Alberese to sangiovese expression like no other. Drink 2023-2030.? Tasted March 2022

Querceto di stellina, stellina in Chianti

Querceto Di stellina Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Sei 2015


Sei ’15 is still showing those sweet balsam wood notes and searing Alberese behaviour so it’s definitely still two or three years away from its opening salvo. Not a shock when you consider the character and structure of both ’17 and ’18 tasted over the last two years. Tannins still show a level of austerity, growl and bared teeth. Despite this rigidity the fruit substance swells, persists and remains the dream of the future. Wait for it. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Fontodi, Panzano

Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Vigna Del Sorbo 2014


Vigna del Sorbo from 2014 is showing some perfectly secondary character and while that may seem forward the truth is that seven or eight years is spot on for this type of evolution. Just arriving now at this next stage, something sanguine fruity merging into salty and floral concentration.? Last tasted February 2022

As a racer the ’14 Vigna del Sorbo might as well be Giuseppe (Beppe) Saronni, winner in 1978 of three stages in the Giro d’Italia, 24 overall and champion in 1979 and 1983. In 1982 he won the world cup with Paolo Rossi. Sorbo is a global sangiovese, the people’s “mpione,” beloved sprinter, collaborator and legacy definer. Today the sangiovese from Fontodi’s Con d’Oro vineyard smells like rabarbaro (rhubarb), black cherry and cut grass. Beautiful combination.
Tasted September 2018

The older vines are between 52 and 54 years old, the first vintage being 1985 and until 2011, contained some bernet sauvignon, vines that have since been pulled out. The now site-specific, 100 per cent sangiovese Vigna del Sorbo may have been muscular in 2012 but no such hyperbole exists in 2014. The vintage determined this and despite the deep black cherry chalkiness the true spirit and stripped down honesty of sangiovese is in display. Purity has returned, floral like an artistilly-rendered natural, realist and perpetual field of flowers in bloom, in installation, of violet light and rose-scented glass. I n imagine drinking this for dedes, with its albarese-galestro saltiness and effortless concentration. Sometimes sangiovese never relents and at the same time never tires. Meraviglioso. Drink 2020-2038.? Tasted September 2017

ntalici Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2013


Not a shocker considering the vintage but three years further (as compared to the current Gran Selezione release) shows quite a next level development with greater expediency. Dried fruits, woody notes, mild baking spice and plenty of chocolate, much closer to the Messer Ridolfo than the future iterations of Gran Selezione. Drink 2022-2023.? Tasted February 2022

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2010

San Donato in Poggio

The 2010 has indeed entered a new of next phase, now into the underbrush and what vegetal magic grows underfoot. Chewy and still a matter of great blended intensity, 10 per cent other grapes bringing the fruit and the spice. Could vey well be argued that 2010 is a syrah vintage.? Last tasted February 2022

According to Paolo de Marchi Gran Selezione “has to be a wine of Super Tusn roots, set in a Chianti Classico setting.” Just a little bit more than 80 per cent sangiovese with bernet sauvignon and syrah. The acidity and transparency is Chianti Classico while the gentler touch is in a way, not. This turns the entire Gran Selezione idea on its head. It’s the antithetil one, in opposition to what or where the tegory seems to be going but at the same time fully entrenched within the ideal and the rules. It’s a rich and complex liqueur, truly red cherry and new leather, truly high-toned and truly a matter made by a master of assemblage. Truly Gran Selezione. From and for a moving target, out of vineyards and through the cellar. At least in terms of today. The enigma, the past and the future. Puts the question before the answer.? Tasted November 2018

Isole E Olena Gran Selezione 2010 graces a factor in which “the blend lifts up the quality,” a noble venture or undertaking that balances the angles and trips into light. The reductive one is, as per the firm and grippy vintage, tannic and taut, wound still in the present, with the rob and the savour. The minty one, in a way, and with graphite and creosote. Very sapid, tight and intense. The most brooding of the four (’15, ’13 this and ’06). Drink 2021-2030.? ?Tasted February 2018

Vinsantaia, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico

stello Di Radda Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG Occhio Di Pernice 2015


Occhio di Pernice is made from red grapes, here having rested in ratelli for five years. Mainly sangiovese with 10 per cent naiolo, keeping the pH up with acidity by slightly early picked fruit in Vin Santo terms. Only 1,000 bottles are made of the first vintage, the “lavorato do amore,” labour of love. A savoury one, built on Radda herbs and brush, Raddese acidity, with toasted nuts and roasted chestnut. Even a mild olive brininess. The flavours are centred on wild strawberry in a Vin Santo that is clearly balanced and elegant. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted March 2022

stello Di Volpaia Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 2015


A warm vintage for Vin Santo, from trebbiano and malvasia, hung for three months and a definite cheese wine. Far from a thick and syrupy example, a snapshot of the vintage, warming, ressing, more than full enough to fill up and coat the palate. Once again the diversity of the appellation (even more so than the Chianti Classico reds) is evident with Volpaia’s finessed and generational wine. Like glazed nuts meeting praline halfway, as if the nuts are braised, softened and made into a gelée or curd. One of the most unique aromatic profiles and textures in Vinsanto. Drink 2021-2035.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 2013


Very youthful, only in bottle now 18 months. A classic trebbiano and malvasia blend with just a few percentage points of sangiovese and naiolo. A Vin Santo of 400 g/L residual sugar which is nothing short of remarkable. A glass of treacle, with just enough acidity for buoyancy. Right in the wheelhouse at 5.8-5.9 TA but truth is (confirmed by Lu Martini di Cigala) is the volatile acidity number at 1.9, more than high enough and the one that matters most. A most fragrant VS as a result and one from which the complexities are truly experienced. No chance of decline for 20 more years. Drink 2025-2042.? Tasted November 2021

In Lamole, with Michaela Morris and Giovanni Manetti

Fontodi Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 2012


At the top of the concentration and full throttle sweetness pyramid is this from Fontodi and the vintage does bring super purposed acidity, thanks God. Not sure it n fully keep up with the sugars but the lemon, rooibos and orange marmalata do the yeoman work to bring flavour complexity and texture to this traditional dessert wine. Poached pear in trebbiano and malvasia, ramelized and levelling in brushstroke across a creamy palette. Our palate is thankful for the finale alongside Margarita’s tiramisu. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Roc Di Montegrossi Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 2011


At just about nine years of age this is Vin Santo in its infancy, likely around 320 g/L and let’s say 4.5-5.0 of total acidity, but it is so very young. Everything about it is primary, aromas of fresh fruit, just a hint of dried apricot and fig, maple syrup and not really ramelized at all. Orange fleshiness and lemon meringue, biscotti with almonds and just a hint of fennel. Great length. Drink 2024-2039.? Tasted November 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 2001


So resolved and yet so fresh, exciting and of acidity seemingly perched at an all time high. “The aging of Vin Santo is ten times longer than the sangiovese,” explains Lu Martini di Cigala. That means 20 years for Chianti Classico DOCG is like two for VinSanto, which puts this 2001 into infancy, one still emitting primary aromas and flavours. Orange skin, ramel, fig and dried ci (persimmon), not yet into the molasses, brown butter nor toasted nuts. Not really showing much dried fruit complexities as of yet. Hard to fathom but it n be done. Consider the lack of botrytis and ratelli that rry the wisdom of Vin Santos of Chianti Classico past. Drink 2021-2039.? Tasted November 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico DOCG 1998


All the necessary ingredients swim engrossingly and energized together; sweet, sour, salty, nutty and tart. The acidity runs high right in the face of the honeyed and ramelized flavours of great reserve matched by intensity. The volatility is wholly in check, the maple aspect unnny and the spice cupboard truly infiltrated throughout, within and beyond. Magnificent Vin Santo. Drink 2022-2035.? Tasted February 2022

With Michaela Morris and Sean Il Guercio O’llaghan, Tenuta di rleone, Radda

Sparkling,?White and Rosé IGTs

stell’in Villa Rosato Gazzara 2021, IGT Tosna

From the vineyard where the agriturismo is loted and a sangiovese of a few hours of skin contact, no saignée. Grapes are picked early to preserve acidity, the wine is laden with citrus and they are many; lemon, orange and grapefruit namely and a saltiness urged on by the shells found in this vineyard. So much flavour, positive sweetness, not too dry and very complex. “The secret of this wine is that you want it again,” palate cleansing, pleasing and long. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

Roc Di Montegrossi Rosato 2021, IGT Tosna

A tender Rosato, salty, dry and über fresh. Beautifully run from Monti fruit in a vintage out of which an April frost could have spelled disaster but Marco Risoli’s sangiovese, naiolo, colorino and pugnitello did prevail. The Marchi di Monti, brand name varietal signatures that fashion some of the Chianti Classico territory’s most crushable Rosato. If this 2021 is any harbinger for what’s to come in the Annata and Gran Selezione of Roc Di Montegrossi then great things are on the way. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

ntalici Petali Rosato Tosna IGT 2020

Purposed grown sangiovese for Rosato and just the free-run juice as witnessed by the pale hue and subtle floral aroma. Richer and creamier to taste but suitably salty and refreshingly satisfying. High acids keep the sugars down below and freshness is never compromised. Most excellent Rosato. 11 euro at the winery. Drink 2022-2024. Tasted February 2022

Fattoria Le Masse mporello 2020, IGT Tosna Bianco

A blend of all the trebbiano available in a year ravaged by hail (grandine) and raised in amphora (from Impruneta). Skin-contact through to January (so approximately three plus months) and a wine of ease, not to mention comfort. When you go in mporella you take wine, a blanket and food (…”and a girl”…) into a field. Purely amphora, a wine in the end lm, restorative and elegant. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

Foresacco, a wild rye or cereal very dangerous when dried, especially to a dog. From the word Forare, “to make a whole” and how the grain might poke a whole in a sac. The three figures on the label represent three girls from Florence who me to help with the harvest. From the 1986 planted vineyard to pinot gris (25 per cent), chardonnay and oddly two or three rows of gewürztraminer. Natural ferment, a stack of fermentation, 2,000-3,000 bottles made depending on the vintage and just now coming into its happy place, even if the white is sold out. Bloody delicious and again, a lming and restorative wine. Distinct citrus, living, breathing, of blue sky clarity and changing. Spigoloso. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted October 2021

Lu Martini di Cigala, San Giusto a Rentennano, Gaiole

Fattoria San Giusto A Rentennano Ruori Misura Rosato 2020, IGT Tosna

“My idea is to make Rosato by not throwing away any grapes” tells Lu Martini di Cigala. A white vinifition is created to establish an acid base and then mixed with a wine of salas,?for a bigger room of freshness mixed with acidity. In a sense a white sangiovese base wine meeting the last green harvest in September for really spirited and sapid Rosato. Dotato di arguzia vivace, in Renoir Rosé as The Thinker, poised and determined to seek and find the truth. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021 and February 2022

Fontodi Meriggio 2020, IGT Colli Tosna Centrale

The blend is 90 per cent sauvignon blanc with trebbiano done up in a small percentage of wood for the one the Tusns would refer to as the one meaning “it’s time to lay down under a tree and have a siesta in the afternoon.” A rich and sunshine dripping vintage for this singular Panzano white, aromatilly nutty, of pine nut and then a pour of tropil fruit. Sweet herbal finish wraps up the package in a fine savoury bow. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

Principe Corsini Sparkling Rosé 2020, Vino Spumante Rosato

Sangiovese 100 per cent, a green harvest done one week later than most Rosé though even that’s changing. A project with Bisol in Valdobiaddene, base wines sent up there to undergo second fermentation, 12 weeks in tank (much longer than Prosecco). Good salt and pepper seasoning, just a touch elevated in sugar but certainly within a proper threshold (8 g/L) so easily Brut in style. If only they had these San sciano in Val di Pesa pliocenic hills rich of river stones raised grapes in Prosecco. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Rosato Venusio 2020, IGT Tosna

Juicy, fruity, simple Rosé, well made, could use more seasoning but yes a saltiness comes through at the end. The label is designed by Duccio Corsini’s sister. Drink 2021-2022.? Tasted October 2021

Monte Bernardi Trebbiano, IGT Tosna

A varietal trebbiano, now basilly two years since harvest, fermented in barrel, zero sulphites and connected with the must of 2020. Brut sauvage essentially. The hope is to see this reach 2 g/L or less, so essentially dry and it’s likely now in a five to six g/L number at this stage. Very pear and mint, wild fennocchio, really complex and good though surely not searing or striking acidity. White peppery finish on a really fascinating wine and yes Michael Schmelzer, surely a better use of trebbiano than accenting sangiovese for Rosato. It’s like sparkling chenin in so many ways, with that washed cheese rind notation. Approximately 600 bottles and 60 magnums produced. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Tenuta Marsiliana Vermentino 2020, IGT Costa Tosna

“A vermentino without contamination,” explains Villa Le Corti in San sciano owner Duccio Corsini, meaning no chardonnay, no pinot bianco, no nothing other. No wood, only stainless and straight to bottle after approximately five months. Straightforward, salty, well seasoned and thirst quenching. Essential coastal vermentino. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted October 2021

stello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio

stello Di Monsanto Chardonnay Collezione Dai Vigneti Di Monsanto 2020, IGT Tosna

A painting by the Tusn impressionist Andrea Borella from the 1800s was found in the house and so Laura Bianchi’s father Fabrizio decided to use it for the chardonnay. The first vintage of the Monsanto Collezione was 1990. A full malo, nearly half in barrel, fleshy and reductively creamy chardonnay. There is a linearity however in 2020 that surely makes this a chardonnay vintage. Quite tight, taut and making demands on the mind, body and soul. Plenty of fruit to back up the attitude and confidence. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Monsanto Chardonnay Collezione Dai Vigneti Di Monsanto 2019, IGT Tosna

Reminds of chardonnay that once was, used to be and here one of comfort from a happy vintage for 30 per cent to be aged in tonneaux. The rest in stainless and then a year of further bottle aging. The vines were first planted in 1976, then again in the 1990s and finally in 2020, bringing the total hectarage up from four and a half to seven. Laura Bianchi’s father once made a traditional method sparkling wine from this fruit lled Bianco di Bianchi. Yes, a happy vintage this 2019, equal, balanced, rich and vigorous, smooth and salubrious. Monsanto wants to make chardonnay that will age and to do so must be picked at precisely the right moment. As here. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Querciabella Batàr 2019, IGT Tosna

Bottled at the beginning of May and to be released around Christmas time or early January. A true anteprima tasting of this chardonnay and pinot bianco joint with some but still a real decreased amount of batonnage. The bungs are made of silicon but also threaded so that when they are secured the seal is just about perfect, less oxygen gets in and also maintains the sulphur level. They expand as they are inserted and what this effects is a decrease for sulphur usage and so it’s a white wine easy to certify organic and keeps the natural component through the use of a tool for fine tuning. Batàr 2019 shows as much fruit substance and creamed texture as ever before while also a chiselling that’s at the top of its very special game. Fine tuning always on the move and so focus, precision and finesse are unparalleled for white wine made from this land. Drink 2023-2032.? Tasted November 2021

ntalici ntavento 2018, IGT Tosna?

A varietal malvasia bian, saline, green olive briny yet in tapenade, preserved lime in sherbet and avodo. Smooth and seductively metallic, crisp enough yet also creamy and even oily, with a good level of glück. Ages for six months in older French wood, Approximately a 5,000 bottles per year production. 14 euro at the winery. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Monsanto Chardonnay Fabrizio Bianchi 2011, IGT Tosna

A fascinating look back at Tusn chardonnay, 10 years in reverse from Fabrizio Bianchi now to Laura. A warm vintage and it shows in the ripeness and development, of fruit leathered and weathered. Of great curiosity is the riesling-like petrol nose to travel alongside lemon curd, crème br?lee and baking apples. A chardonnay custard, soft and dreamy with a faint metallic note coming through. Demure in a glossy 10 year-old IGT. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted October 2021

stello Di Monsanto Chardonnay Collezione Dai Vigneti Di Monsanto 2002, IGT Tosna

This would be the third older vintage of the Collezione chardonnay I have tasted in the last four years and this is one of a specific acidity that has helped the wine stand the test of time. Was not a warm vintage by any stretch of the imagination in fact it was bloody awful one here and in most of Europe, save for Champagne and perhaps Bourgogne, a.k.a. cool climate regions or with varieties suited to cool years. Amazing and emotive if ideologil in its persistence, moving through its denouement with grace, class and even a thought to the tune of suspended animation. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Villa lcinaia Mauvais Chapon Rosato Metodo Classico 2016

Sebastiano pponi’s traditional method sparkling wine receives a tirage of VinSanto, almost nadian in a way and three-ish years on the lees. The name is a funny riff, literally the “bad pon,” a gallo nero/pponi family dualistic pun made in reference to the French siege of Florence in 494. An offer was made, refused and the trumpets sounded. Ancestor to Sebastiano named Piero led the revolt. France is the connection, family the conduit and toasty, gingered and oxidative bubbles the modern day result. Crisp citrus, herbal tonic and a rounder, luxe and fuller wine comes from the long and generous vintage. Good fun, pleasure, times and stories shared will be had by all. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted February 2022

stello Di Radda Vermouth

Made from a Rosé base wine with 36 herbs for a 5,000 bottle production, “to do something different during Covid.” Mainly rosemary, sage, lavender and elderflower, typil of the area in Chianti Classico. Really quite elegant, sweet and perfumed Vermouth, pretty and floral, just mildly bitter. Getting some citrus, verbena almost into lemongrass, orange peel and even fresh peach. Really expressive and blessed with glycerin texture. Would take a Negroni to the next level.? Tasted March 2022

Fontodi’s Giovanni Manetti with Michaela Miha Morris, Lamole

Solo Sangiovese IGTs

sa Emma Harenae 2019, IGT Colli Della Tosne Centrale

Harenae as in sand (Arenaria) and the material used to make the terra cotta from Impruneta. A 100 per cent sangiovese, vinified entirely in (three) 1000L amphora, one year spent there, stirred twice daily, around 45 says pello sommerso. This is the second vintage and total production of 2,500 bottles per year. Changes face in different vessel, now a pure syrupy distillate, glycerin and the fruit heads into the tropil, white peach perhaps but always the blood orange, especially in this vintage. Could contain five per cent malvasia nera coming soon. A wine of great presence and truth be told almost too easy to enjoy. Faboloso. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted October 2021

Sampling 2021 tank samples with Giovanni Manetti, Fontodi, Panzano

Fontodi Dino 2019, IGT Colli Tosna Centrale

Dino is natural sangiovese aged four months in Manetti amphora, textural like no other Fontodi wines spilling over the rounded brimming edges with blood orange and liquid peppery piques of pure, unadulterated joy. Moves easily and effortlessly through pools of Amaro liqueur before exiting at cured salumi savour. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted February 2022

Montelvi V.V. 2019, IGT Tosna

Just bottled a few weeks ago and from the 1932 planted vineyard. Essentially sangiovese though having been planted then it’s surely a field blend with a few plants of naiolo, trebbiano, etc., The aromas are so different, lifted aromatics that sing while the volatility remains really low. Won’t be released for years with 2016 being the current vintage available. Talk about the texture and the passion (55 euro retail so 100-120 nadian). Incredulous wine from a very specific old vineyard. Drink 2024-2031.? Tasted March 2022

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Figo Sangiovese 2019, IGT Tosna

Sometimes the opposite of expectation happens between sets of wines contrasted against vintages and thus the look at Per Filo and Figo from 2018 and 2019. A matter of emotional randomness, “but what happens doesn’t really matter.” You may compare to Gren Selezione Zac if you must beuse it a steadier and more consistent trajectory. That is due to more control, direction and hands on actionability. There is some meatiness to Figo in ’19, a minor gaminess, “selvati,” raw and uncultured but that’s just early fresh bleeding happening. It may disappear next year. That will become the future beuse of the perfume, the sweetness of the palate and also the acidity. Takes your breath away at the finish. lls out for a second glass and bottle. 115 euro retail. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Per Filo 2019, IGT Tosna

Immediately less reduction than 2018 and a fresher, more forthright expression of the single Guliae vineyard. Lifted perfume, a bouquet of florals, somewhere between violet and rose. A sweetness and a layering of fruit flavours and textures somehow obstructed in 2018. It would seem very quickly that 2019 was special for Per Filo and Figo, and therefore will also be for (Gran Selezione) Zac. 50 euro retail. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Il Guercio, Tenuta di rleone, Radda

Tenuta Di rleone Il Guercio 2019, IGT Tosna Rosso

Il Guercio means bastard, essentially, a name given to oenologist Séan O’llaghan by a chef friend, kind of like the one-eyed Notre Dame reference. O’llaghan was born with only one and so his brand shares the story of his life. Like Uno the wine is 100 per cent sangiovese but here from the Mello vineyard in Gaiole in Chianti at 700m. That alone will make it different, fresher than most Classico and then there is the five months of Piedmontazine maceration. Then pressed off in February, “the wine we go to the border with,” of no oak, just cement, possibly an egg, or both. Only sangiovese and the wine that is asked to take the greatest risk. The pH is raised which is something Séan does not want, the colour drops (which he does not re about), but most important is the great polymerization of the tannins. It’s a complex weave of freshness and greens swimming in their pool of the finest bloody tannin. Even though the maceration is higher the integration and the aforementioned complex weave declares that volatility negligible, at most. A toss up between Il Guercio and Uno as to which offers the most appeal but here is not a place for splitting hairs, or putting on heirs. The world holds room for both. Drink 2024-2033.? Tasted March 2022

Sean “Il Guercio” O’llaghan, Tenuta di rleone, Radda

Tenuta Di rleone Uno 2019, IGT Tosna Rosso

Uno must be put into context with three sets of ingredients contributing to the final account. First is sangiovese, raised in Radda. Second is the maker, Il Guercio himself Séan O’llaghan, the man who rries in pocket three dedes of making wine in this area. Third is the concept that if pinot noir and nebbiolo had a baby it would be sangiovese. Methodology sees to minimal extraction over a very long period with one or two pump-overs early on, for just five minutes and then you basilly wait. First things first. Uno has some lift and volatility but conveniently, snugly and completely held in check. “The lighter the wine the more oak you n put on it,” explains Il Guercio. And so with the lift and volatility you get spiciness, not chocolate and coffee. That’s today’s epiphany. A 100 per cent sangiovese and the lightest wine of the lot put to a small amount of new oak. “The soul of sangiovese,” one grape, one love. Sure there is a litheness of being but there is an organza fabric sheathing of barrel and such spice one may have never come across in this territory. When Bourgogne is at its best the lightest, most transparent and infinite pinot noir is elevated and lifted by just a modicum of wood. But sangiovese? It’s never done this way. Séan’s Chianti Classico may tend to nebbiolo (if a comparison needs to be made) and so Uno looks at Burgundy. But really, what is this? Drink it or age it? Which is it? Flavour and texture. Umami and Zen. Reality and freedom. What else is there? Drink 2024-2033.? Tasted March 2022

Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2018, IGT Tosna Centrale

Once again hear this. The vintage 2018 is not a small, light and easy one. If Vigna del Sorbo proved this point then Flaccianello drives it home. This is the first vintage in which some younger vineyard fruit lower down in the Con d’Oro near Giovanni Manetti’s house was used to regulate, make fluid and more succinctly “scoverrole” the grip of this wine’s tannins. Like a river’s flow, the fruit insertion uses the grippy juice to flow across the palate in a more ressing way. The 2018 is a serious wine and needs time, plenty of precious time and you must heed this ll. To understand the breadth and depth this is completely necessary. Drink 2024-2033.? Tasted October 2021

Isole E Olena Cepparello 2018, IGT Tosna

Running like the eponymous stream through Isole under a September shower. In the words of Paolo de Marchi. “I like ’18 beuse I’m not looking for the biggest power in this wine. It’s also a matter of balance in the extraction and I expect this is a vintage that will age very well.” Showing with that expected revelry four months later, well short of that six to eight year premonition.? Last tasted February 2022

A different and great vintage, so apposite for Chianti Classico, here bigger, 100 per cent sangiovese benevolent, as always from the friable schisty marl, grey to blue Galestro soils at the top of the Olena hill, facing southwest. Much of the fruit is from the oldest vines where they foster a naturally low yielding premonition. In 2018 the fruit darkens and of an incombustible inhalant that instead moves with perfumed rhythm. Big, beautiful, charitable, altruistic and in another six to eight years will morph into something almost completely other. That’s the window to tch and taste what will be. Wait for it, don’t miss out and revel in the glory. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Figo Sangiovese 2018, IGT Tosna

Figo comes from the central part of the three-sectioned single vineyard, again organic and biodynamic, non sulphured and in line with Zac Gran Selezione and more so Per Filo. Figo makes reference to a fig tree and a “nickname” dedited to Duccio’s son Filippo, also like Per Filo. These are wines conceptualized by Duccio though his hands are off of them, “until I become intimate with them.” There is sweetness to this fruit, an absence of earthiness and “rnale,” certainly no “animale.” A gorgeous and alone wine, singular, spirited, lifted, emotional and really fine. Only 800 bottles made from three barrels. 115 euro retail. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted October 2021

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Per Filo 2018, IGT Tosna

From the same vineyard as Gran Selezione “Zac,” hand-picked and a selection of one of three plots, this from the western section, raised in tonneaux. No added sulphites, a natural expression of place, one hundred per cent sangiovese, reductive, needing air time. “Natural wines are like the sunset, the heat and situation changes and the process of evolution in the glass is greater than other wines.” Here the blood orange and sanguine notes are readily apparent, the post spezzatura in full aromatic and sensory swing. There is a sweetness and a transparency to the fruit that appears in ways only these wines from this vineyard are want to show. 50 euro retail. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Perrlo 2018, IGT Tosna

“The season was a copy of 2016, but the wines are not the same,” explains Lu Martini di Cigala. Mid-September was the difference. In Dylan’s words, “a change in the weather was said to be extreme,” high temperatures flew in by day and the ripeness me hard and fast. “But what’s the sense in changing horses in mid-stream” and so Lu did not react but sat back and let things happen beuse in his words, “what n you do about it?” And yet this elegant, satiny and harmonious sangiovese elicits a swoon, of scents misty and the grace lays sapid with succulence. Feels like a glass liquid of ndied roses and violets. Tannins are there but they slide and glide along. Plenty of Perrlo sangiovese blood on the tracks. Drink 2025-2032.? Tasted February 2022

Riecine, Gaiole

Riecine Di Riecine 2017, IGT Rosso Di Tosna

Clearly combs the warm and arid vintage with a 100 per cent Gaiole sangiovese made by winemaker Alessandro mpatelli. A wine taken from barrel in September 2018 yet even still (and also the well-developed vintage) so far from steadying, readying and opening for business. Spices are omnipresent, depth of fruit, acidity and earth all pervasive. The freshness is more implosive inward then outward in expression. Almost takes your breath away. Time will offer reward. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Perrlo 2017, IGT Tosna

A Perrlo of 100 per cent sangiovese and in Lu’s opinion an arid vintage that shows much greater acidity than previous warm and similar near equivalents like 2011 and 2012. The ability in necessity to sort and eliminate sun-burnt berries makes this 2017 fresher and also enables it to age much longer. Freshness yes but also 2017’s solar accumulation and intensity of concentration. The acids are in fact raging and sweet, the tannins pretty fine and just at that drying edge. But the wine is very long and will indeed age very well. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted November 2021

stello Di Monsanto Sangioveto 2016, IGT Tosna

From a single vineyard lled Snni, planted by Fabrizio Bianchi to 100 per cent sangiovese vines in 1968, well before the concept was allowed. First harvested in 1974, lling the wine sangiovese grosso beuse the berries were larger and the bunches as well. Bianchi wrote it on the label really big to show people that the sangiovese grown in Chianti Classico was equal at the very least to that which was growing in Montalcino. Also bottled in Bourgogne shape to equate sangioivese to pinot noir. Aged in tonneaux, one-third new. Earthier and more of a gathering by hunters and foragers; alla mpania, frutta di bosco, frutta secco, gariga and game. Not so ferric or hematic but perhaps a guinea fowl or pigeon note. Works so perfectly well with Pollo alla cciatore. A revised drinking window: Drink 2023-2030.? Last tasted February 2022

Snni Vineyard, not labeled as such (absurdity of Italian law for IGT wines) but a wine that has been vinified this way since 1974. Made from the larger berry clone found in Il Poggio but here 100 per cent sangiovese whereas the Chianti Classico have five per cent naiolo. Darker fruit, a south-southwest facing vineyard with Galestro and lri-argiloso content. Smooth grain of tannin so different than Il Poggio. A real curious and cool study in proximate space sangiovese contrast. Drink earlier and often. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Working farm, Val delle Corti, Radda

Val Delle Corti Extra Vino Rosso 2016, IGT Tosna

The same experiment in 2016, old clones, a selection of fruit from the Riserva block. Four years in large barrel and honestly this could very well be labeled Gran Selezione as a 100 per cent sangiovese. Also fermented in open top wood fermenters with some oxidation and in this se only three weeks on skins pello sommerso style. So really a classic Chianti Classico fermentation though no, not there (yet) but a Vino Rosso. Reasoned glycerin and softly seasoned, elegant as much as that word n mean to sangiovese or rather how it may be used to describe a luxe and silky wine. Extra, extra, read all about it. A phenom of Radda acidity and extrapolation. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Isole E Olena Cepparello 2011, IGT Tosna

No it’s not C?te-Rotie, nor is there any over abundance beuse a little bit of creativity makes Cepparello 2018 go pop. Also hard to believe this wine is 10-plus years old beuse the freshness rules and reigns. Will live in infamy.? Last tasted February 2022

“Molto parfumato,” binds an aromatic agreement between myself and Paolo de Marchi upon sniffing this ’11 found on Londa Pietracupa’s wine list. “Cepparello needs time,” says Paolo, understatement of the obvious for the evening, year, dede and history with respect to sangiovese grown in the Chianti Classico territory. Also truth succinctly spoken, roses and violets exhaling and a 100 per cent varietal (or so it seems) profile of succulence and one to fully draw you in. Mint to conifers, multiplicity by complexity value, not to mention vigorous acidity sent straight to a mouth with a full compliment of wisdoms able to think about the situation. A linear Cepparello seeing its wide open window at the 10 year mark. And now a Paolo de Marchi story. “One side of the vine’s grapes were burnt and so I lled up (Consorzio Direttore Giuseppe) Liberatore and asked are we changing the name of the appellation? Liberatore said what? To Chianti Amarone replied de Marchi, or sangiovese Port? Joking aside, a stringent selection and a five per cent inclusion of trebbiano did for this ’11 Cepparello what viognier might do for syrah. Not a Chianti Classico so perfectly kosher. A secret until now but all above board. Totally cool. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano Perrlo 2007, IGT Tosna

Also a warm summer but without extreme temperatures. Not just early budding in March but also so quick to grow and spread. A September of escursione, diurnal shifts in temperature fluctuation to preserve acidity and keep freshness in the sangiovese. Now fully into secondary territory and more advanced than 2006 but close enough in showing persistent vitality. More balsamico, soy and developing character, bigger than 2006, less elegant. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Isole E Olena Cepparello 2006, IGT Tosna

Since 2005 Paolo de Marchi started bottling Cepparello as 100 per cent sangiovese and without sulphites. The 2006 surely shows evolution while maintaining precision and purity, all without the need for heavy sulphites inside. Plenitude of fruit in more ways than one, some fresh and others dried like plum and persimmon hung on strings in a cold cellar. A rare Cepparello of liquorice and 15 year-old acidity that sings, spits and shines. Clearly kept under perfect cork, almost no oxidation which means true micro-incremental development. Dangerously high toned in the most beneficial way. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

Flaccianello della Pieve, Fontodi, Panzano

Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2001, IGT Tosna Centrale

Youthful is the proverbial understatement, zesty and full of Panzano life the other. A sangiovese in strike of ideal accord, freshness ptured in bottle and development low, easy and slow accrued. Just like the season, stress-free, never too hot, never too wet. Stellar autumn of warm days and retentive cool nights. A late harvest and full phenolic character. It all shows in this 20-plus year-old Flaccianello, singing a ballad, verse after verse, refrain post refrain. After 20 minutes a sweet porcini perfume emits and one wishes for a 50 day dry-aged Chianina Fiorentina. What fortune! Along with the special effects of smoky rosmarino and wild fennochio. Drink 2022-2029.? Tasted February 2022

Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 1993, IGT Tosna Centrale

A bottle with the most subtle amount of T but also one that should never be sent away. Acidity and freshness are far from peak performance, waning like a gibbous moon. Accessible and ostensibly intact, a matter of integrated tactile function, a massaging of south facing Con d’Oro vines messaging through the auspices of mighty fine evolutionary powers. Offers up a way to talk about 1993 and rell the turbulent mid-1990s in general. To say this is a sangiovese from a time when anything and everything might happen helps to soften the Brettanomyces effect and to allow microbial bygones to be bygones. Just enjoy the silk textured ride. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted October 2021

stello Di Monsanto Sangioveto 1986, IGT Tosna

From the 1974 planted sangiovese grosso Snni Vineyard and at the 12 year mark this 100 per cent sangiovese would have just been hitting its territorial stride. In fact at 35-plus years it should be said that Sangioveto only hit the top of its own aged hill perhaps six to eight years ago. The fruit is in tact, the acids sharp as a tack and the tannins just recently solved and resolved. And this is the original cork. Blessed. Earthiness and dried fruit plus nuts for what Sangioveto always shows and side by side with 2016 you could hardly tell more than a dede’s worth of distance. Happy birthday, buon compleanno and auguri to all you 1986s. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted February 2022

E buono I say to Bernardo Manetti. “Of course it’s good” he answers, eyes rolled northwards, as if he’s responding to Dad Giovanni. Flaccianello 1983 was Manetti’s third vintage, a beneficial one with great potential and 38-plus years onwards the confirmation is indeed il budino. That and the hallmark of a wine aged, developed and inveterato by a Panzano and al tempo Chianti Classico freshness on the finish. Not to mention a parochial acidity still present, accounting for the super pacity to love and age. Truth be told more wood effect comes from ’83, even if the emotion is only now a matter of shadows. This truly does scent like dry aged beef and there is no doubt 2001 will access a similar funk but with even more succulenza. Here yet another Manetti sangiovese that slides with scorrevole ease across the nerves. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Morino, San sciano

Other endemic red and blended IGTs

Azienda Agricola Mori Concetta Ritmo Malvasia Nera 2020, IGT Tosna

After six years of trials this (red) malvasia from Massimo Bettelli has come to light and my oh my what an introspective introduction. Hard to imagine why more producers do not plant and champion this endemic variety with greater love and emotion. There are only 8,400 bottles made of this varietal Chianti wine in the Classico area, a succulent red of music and tannin, heart, headiness and soul. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Sri Lankan born and Brit oenologist slash winemaker Séan O’llaghan worked for years at Riecine with founder and Englishman John Dunkley, along with rlo Ferrini. Riecine was sold in 1996 to Amerin Gary Bowman and in 2012 to Russian interests, which is when O’llaghan parted ways. That was 2016, when he created Il Guercio, with the first vintage being 2015 while also working with Austrian Karl Egger, owner of Tenuta di rleone. For Randagio long macerations are up to five months and while it varies, here the usage is approximately 40 per cent whole bunch. Fascinating, hold your breath and cross your fingers stuff it would seem but this t has nine lives. The blend is 50 per cent bernet franc, (40) merlot and (10) sangiovese. “For me this tastes like gamay,” tells Séan. Randagio is a mixed up dog and a mash-up of French varieties. It should be Meticcio but instead it’s Randagio, i.e. “the stray.” Meticcio 2018 was the first, Randagio the second and life is mimicked, the wine laid back, really just about fun. The adage holds true that you n make a funky label and still make nice wine. Fruit-centric, perfectly leathery and swarthy. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Timeo, Fattoria Le Masse, San Donato in Poggio

Fattoria Le Masse Timeo 2019, IGT Tosna Rosso

Timeo, the 100 per cent naiolo from 60 year-old vines (1961) and 2,300 bottles made. Claudio feels that (based on their grapes) that 2019 is the best vintage of the last six. Picked in late September but before the hottest final days and so there is a relaxed and balanced feel, purity of red fruits and truly fine acid backbone. Linear wine but without angles, certainly not round and simply seamless. More so a matter of pH waving over the palate. A blood orange moment though not sanguine, really just a fine, lightly tannic and particularly expressive naiolo. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted October 2021

Dedited to Santo Spirito, the church and the artistic centre of Florence. 6,600 bottles made. Absolutely! Sacred spirit alive, an old Chianti recipe, of sangiovese (80 per cent), with naiolo, colorino, malvasia nera, malvasia bian and trebbiano. Was and could still be a Chianti but thankfully not. The wine is simply too good and too fine, Clarity, fruit purity, freshness and drink-ability off the charts. Glug glug, back up the truck. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted October 2021

L’Erta di Radda, November 2021, 2021

L’Erta Di Radda 2 E 2 2019, IGT Tosna Rosso

A most amazing four-poster blend of two red plus two white varieties, first with sangiovese and naiolo, then trebbiano and malvasia, two plus two. An ark of Chianti Classico endemic varietal covenant, walking in two by two, 70 per cent reds and 30 whites. The dominance is of course sangiovese at 60 per cent in the co-fermentation but the “traditional” 10 per cent white inclusion is tripled while also gauged in an apposite methodology, with Diego Fennochi using the Governo method on only those white grapes. Makes for an intensely aromatic wine, floral of course, though in the freshest of bouquet. Concentrating the white contributors doubles or perhaps even triples down on the effect and creates the most lifted regional experience. The first vintage was 2014, back then having employed the 10 per cent white grapes in the first two vintages, after which Diego decided to go all in. Comes out at 13.5 per cent and the wine simply pops, with rocks and minerals, elements and stones. It’s really quite beautiful. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted March 2022

Bottled just before the Chianti Classico 2019, so just three weeks ago. A blend of sangiovese with naiolo and colorino, as it’s its nature and privilege. The sangiovese is taken from the vineyard on top of San Francesco’s hill, adjacent the naiolo and colorino vineyards. A limited (3-5,000 bottle) production, a wine that’s all about selection (from two vineyards) and elevating craft to the highest of Il Molino di Grace levels. Still sees some barriques but going forward the plan should be to age only in large sks. The chewiest and most textural of the wines, with sapidity and colour matching salinity, acidity and savour. Drama but one in complete control, that is Gratius. Drink 2023-2030.? Tasted February 2022

As a solo artist pugnitello is extremely vinous, so very grape juicy and pitchy as a clear stelnuovo night. Tons of flavour, depth and charisma, uniquely varietal and you n really see why Leonardo Bellacini and San Felice have invested so much experimental time and effort in to the grape. Gains richness and fleshes as it airs.? Drink 2023-2026. Tasted February 2022

San Felice Vigorello 2018, IGT Tosna

Vigorello comes from a time when Chianti Classico producers wanted to step up and away from disciplinare?restrictions and make wines of freedom and artistic expression. It was a sangiovese and bernet blend, then fully Bordeaux styled and finally From 2011 the pugnitello beme the biggest (35-40 per cent) part of the blend. The 2018 comes away cimmerian dark and balsamic luxe with dark soy, high acidity and real international styling. Nothing Classico about Vigorello, only a kinship with Poggiorosso beuse of the pugnitello. For lovers of rich and luxurious Tusn wines. Drink 2024-2028.? Tasted February 2022

Il Molino Di Grace Gratius 2017, IGT Tosna

It seems to be a repeated story ad nauseum but 2017 saw a small amount of rain after the frost and then none for three months, with some 40 degree days and 30 degree nights. The lack of diurnal fluctuation might have been an issue for many but allowing grapes to fully mature right through September, downgrade their sugar and alcohol and ultimately find balance was the key to success. Gratius found it and delivers a punch of fruit, kept acidity and a swath of chocolate ganache. More wood is felt from 2017 but that was unavoidable. The only adjustment would have been to put water into the wine. And so it goes that 2017 is what it is.? Last tasted February 2022

Gratius is actually a 90 per cent sangiovese blend with (10) naiolo and colorino. A grand Gratius, finely chalky, with the additional grapes adding sublime complexities. The wine is an authentic expression of the Classico trinity of endemic varieties. Unaggressive yet knowable and powerful. Lots of ganache at the finish, the first of which incidentally is shed of distraction and excess baggage. The new label (and all of IMdG’s) were designed by the late sommelier Valentino Monticello, this ’17 to celebrate the 20th vintage he’d been apart of the winery’s work. Frank Grace met him at Harry’s in London.? Tasted October 2021

Gratius expresses the vineyard in ways the Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione appellative sangiovese do not. This 100 per cent sangiovese reeks of the vineyard; fennel. rosemary and gariga. From the part of the vineyard at the peak of the hill where San Francesco’s hulking sculpture towers and watches over the sangiovese. Grip, intensity, signs, wealth of fruit, knowledge and portents. So fine. Drink 2025-2038.? Last tasted September 2019

A varietal bernet sauvignon, “a slow burner” as winemaker Tim Manning lls it and so a wine that stays in bottle for a good long time. Yet it scents directly of bernet sauvignon but just as much Tosna and I’d go so far as to say Greve in Chianti. Youthful is the understatement, complexity the operative over and actually quite the traditional wine. Surely some volatility and Brett but with this much going on there n be many hats worn and hung up to rest. Such a rich and chalky wine that tastes like nothing else but still just seems to be from here. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted March 2022

stell’in Villa Santa Croce Di stell’In Villa 2009, IGT Tosna

“Our little bastard this one,” says the Principesa, a combination of sangiovese and bernet sauvignon, more or less. Remarkable longevity from this “little” IGT blend, not really so little and after all an important wine for the estate. Expecting more evolution is normal and so imagine the surprise when you find out how little this has actually evolved. Sees barriques (as opposed to the grandi botti for the solo sangiovese) and while chocolate is everywhere, so is freshness and energy. Good vintage, great grapes and attentive winemaking work. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted March 2022

San Felice Vigorello 2008, IGT Tosna

At the time Vigorello was a super tusn blend of sangiovese and bernet sauvignon. Vigorello does not go through the same kind of transformation as is witnessed in a Poggiorosso with the same soy, balsamic and pitchy depth showing in this 2008 as would emit by a recent vintage. Also less juicy freshness and more oxidation than the sangiovese yet plenty of lush, rich and hedonistic character. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted February 2022

Il Molino Di Grace Gratius 2005, IGT Tosna

“I don’t think it’s 100 per cent sangiovese and I do know the wine has held up very well,’ tells Iacopo Morganti. Freshness persists with porcini and plum pudding, orange zest and balsamic. Many shades of chocolate and acidity not yet (maybe never will) abating. Keeps its groove and 17 year-old dance moves gliding across the palate. A very good older vintage for Il Molino di Grace, perhaps the best of its mini era.? Last tasted February 2022.

A next look nine months later confirms what Iacopo insists. “The acidity’s finished for me. It’s ready to drink now.” At this juncture Gratius 2005 has abandoned its fantasy in concession to a drink now reality.? Tasted February 2017

The Gratius 2005 shares DNA with 2009 aromatilly speaking but in texture and expression the litheness is pinot noir like, with a bit of bretty volatility as an impression that is vineyard funk derived. Just now beginning a drinking window in performance for the art of perfect timing but why not imagine the installation persisting for 10-12 more years? Here the Montefili Galestro vineyard is clearly iterated in a funk-soil-chalk-liquid rubies way. A brilliant peek back beuse the tart is just so right. Ask the question, “what was the old wine like?” The answer is “it was like old wine, that is to say, like all old wines.” Drink 2016-2022.? Tasted May 2016

Isole e Olena IGTs

Merlot, bernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Red Blend IGTs

rpineta Fontalpino Do Ut Des 2017, IGT Tosna

Do ut des brings bernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot into mix, darker of fruit, herbal and full of both currants and roasted nightshades. A veritable ponata in a glass, Mediterranean, with black olive garnish. These are grapes that had an easier time in the dryness of the vintage and so the wine is soft but full, so very ripe and really gastronomic. Merlot pick started on the 21st of August, which is incredible, and yet it is soft and ripe. This wine is delicious now, won’t last like the sangiovese, but so ideal for restaurant pours. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted November 2021

stello Di Volpaia Balifico 2018, IGT Tosna

A field blend of sangiovese and bernet sauvignon, roughly two thirds to one third and yet the showy expatriate variety acts like it runs the roost. A bigger wine on the nose but soft enough on the palate. A wine of pomp and pleasure, plenty of sweet wood fluidity and made since 1985. “To make something different, for a different palate.” Balifico grows up close to Coltasalla but it truly is the bernet that takes it down a different path. For whatever anything is worth this is a truly proficient, beautiful and special red with confidence, purpose and style. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Istine Merlot 550 2018, IGT Tosna

Merlot is not used for any other wine beuse Angela Fronti chooses to keep her Chianti Classico as sangiovese, although some recent plantings of malvasia nera and naiolo could change this in the future. Merlot is a small plot at lower elevation in the Radda Istine vineyard. Lots of oak here, as is the want to match merlot, allow it to flesh out and age with distinction. That it will though the lavender is extreme and the vanilla welling on through. Drink 2023-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Isole E Olena Collezione Privata Syrah 2018, IGT Tosna

According to Paolo de Marchi “this is the most elegant syrah I have made.” He attributes the success directly to the vintage. It is in fact silk tethered, smooth textured, naturally sweet and just the easiest syrah. Seductive and again sweetly endowed in phenolic terms, a perfume of lm and beauty. So yes this is an elegant varietal wine, less structured, peppery and demanding than most. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted October 2021

Spice, chocolate, dark fruit with nominative verdancy, wood control and big, bad tannins. A wine in total control, yet relenting, made full by a late September heat thrush matched by cool acidity preserving nights. A rare instance where merlot needs as much bottle time as sangiovese to integrate, settle and play fair. Drink 2022-2027.? Tasted October 2021

paccia Tosna IGT 2017

paccia is just that, the IGT that is this place, the name of the borgo that was and will always be here. A 50 bernet sauvignon plus 25 each franc and sangiovese. Brings in fruit from Lo Scopiccio Vineyard on the southeast facing side of the hill. The sangiovese from the other blocks is kept separate while the bs are fermented together. Distinctly Tusn and also Radda, here from the driest and warmest of vintages. Black fruit, warmth, texture and spice from 300L French wood, some austerity in the tannins but mostly Raddese acidity. “Vinoso” like the sangiovese but also very much a child of sandy, Macigno del Chianti soils. Well structured and will live into a balsamic and truffled future. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted March 2022

Querciabella martina 2017, IGT Tosna

The most consistent Querciabella IGT, at 70 per cent bernet sauvignon with (30) sangiovese from the Ruffoli hillside, since 2003. Ages approximately 18 months and to be honest the bernet suffered more in this hot dry vintage. Paying attention to avoiding over extraction, dropping temperature during fermentation and tannin management were key. A wine to handle with kid gloves and looking at it now there is no loss of liveliness, nor are the tannins hard to handle. Au contraire, there is grace and there are pleasantries in round abound with a red cherry to berry fruit compendium ready and willing to receive the structural parts. Surely a beneficial lotion for 2017 fruit, replete with that season’s acidity and so well managed fermentative activities bring about a really age-able martina. Drink 2024-2036.? Tasted November 2021

Querciabella Palafreno 2017, IGT Tosna

As always (since 2004) a one hundred per cent merlot, from Ruffoli facing west, thankfully not due south and lucky beuse this vineyard has a higher density and compaction to retain water. Much freshness retained and perhaps a slight hyperbole in merlot’s verdancy but also if you close your eyes, “I see something blue,” notes Manfred Ing, and yes as if a petit verdot blue fruit notation, with the soil idea coming through as a compact set of tannins in dense grains. A big vintage, very different vintage than 2016. Drink 2024-2035.? Tasted November 2021

Querciabella Turpino 2017, IGT Tosna

Has emerged from its hard shell, albeit incrementally with much further to go. A first stage of rounding out, fruit happier, and still this Mediterranean feel of all the Querciabella wines. A wilder component and a marine streak, a bit rugged and a sense of the Maremma very much indeed. No it’s still quite primary, the tannins at least, so wait another 18 months or so.? Last tasted November 2021

First commercial vintage was 2010 when at the time it was 50-50 Maremma and Greve. Since 2015 it identifies as 100 per cent Tusn coast with more barrel exercise and power than Mongrana, now a cuvée of approximately 12,000 bottles. “Turpino,” as in a character from Sebastiano Cossia stiglioni’s favourite poem, like his son Orlando (and also for the names Mongrana and Palafreno). Frost was a major problem in 2017, followed by heat, no rain and vines that just went crazy. Small pickings were done in the first week of September and then the rain me. The vines dropped in alcohol potential by a degree but the vines were tired and so the fruit could not hang in there like it could (better so) in Ruffoli. A blend of 40 per cent each bernet franc and syrah with (20) merlot. Spiciness but not in a traditionally Tusn syrah (Cortona) way and so the franc is to thank for the pique, sharpness and pointed directive of this ripe wine agitative of pricks and sway. In the end this is truly Tusn coast, rrying the dried and bushy herbs but with an extended olive branch, muscular arm and structured savour. Only 10,000 bottles were made of this succulent, strange bedfellows (for Tusny) red wine. House wine, Querciabella style. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted May 2021

Roc Di Montegrossi Geremia 2017, IGT Tosna

A blend of 82 per cent merlot and 18 bernet sauvignon from the most arid and hot vintage though with grapes that n handle the extreme truth and consequence, at least relative to sangiovese. But it also makes for a much bigger expression, heady and weighty and yet the Montegrossi terroir n’t be removed from the DNA of this wine. Extremely youthful with rigorous and grippy structure, deep purple fruit hanging in the balance and a consistency of lolized acidity always on side and in sight. Big wine made bigger by the vintage. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted November 2021

Isole E Olena Collezione De Marchi bernet Sauvignon 2016, IGT Tosna

Though 2017 was just released here we are tasting what is a quintessential bernet vintage for Isole e Olena. Truth be told it is a very difficult wine to make according to Paolo de Marchi beuse maintaining both sugar and phenolic ripeness is a never-ending challenge. Blended in 2016 with bernet franc (eight per cent), plus two each of petit verdot and merlot. Pure ssis, black forest ke and waves of both black current and cherry. All the dark fruits, silken and reminiscent of Napa Valley mountain bernet, perhaps even specifilly Atlas Peak. Drink 2024-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Roc Di Montegrossi Ridolfo 2015, IGT Tosna

A 50-50 split between bernet sauvignon and pugnitello, the first vintage of its kind, 25 months in barriques and three years in bottle. Also the first of its ilk and newly minted idiom, not so much beuse the two grapes are bedfellows of another mother but beuse they’ve never aligned in this manner. After fermentation Marco decided, perhaps as a joke, to mix the two grapes in his glass and the best percentage was half and half. Less than 2,000 bottles are produced of a wine with no real reference point. So what to make of it? The wood is very much in the mix, the aromas are in the vanilla, lavender and graphite vein. Stylish, obviously so well put together and yet one of those polished wines that will become much more interesting after five to seven more years time. Drink 2025-2030.? Tasted November 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano La Ricolma 2018, IGT Merlot Di Tosna

The vineyards are in six different parcels, the first having been planted in 1991. Followed by 2006 and so forth. The original idea was to plant and mix small percentages into the Chianti Classico but they didn’t like the results. Now make five to six thousand bottles. First vintage was 1993 and up until 2004 the vineyards were managed like sangiovese, but this was not right and so changes were made. Used to be a more vegetal wine and by slowing down ripening through pruning the wines improved dramatilly. Six buds were left and when the buds opened they cut again to delay the vine by 7-10 days. Also more turning of the soil and for green harvest this has to be when the grapes are completely red. Not the best climate here beuse the expediency of ripening is in such a short window. Fine and silky tannins meet dark fruit full of berries and especially raspberry. Great merlot and an ideal vintage for it to work out right. Labeled 15 per cent but could be more. Drink 2024-2030.? Tasted November 2021

Le Fonti Di Panzano Fontissimo 2017, IGT Tosna

Also high wood influence but here a glycerin IGT with finer grain of tannin and sweeter glycerin slash pectin fruit substance. You need to work and hang out with this wine for some quality time to gain intel and a feeling of its potential grace and charm. Really quite fine and without some of the drying tendencies found in the more particular tannic vein of the Chianti Classicos. Drink 2023-2027.? Tasted October 2021

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico 91 bernet Sauvignon 2016, IGT Tosna

Rich and welling with ssis, fulsome, so beautifully ripe and of exquisitely fine, sweeter tannins. Drink 2023-2029.? Tasted October 2021

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico 91 bernet Sauvignon 2015, IGT Tosna

Sharper, higher in acidity, once offering you a slap in the face but now settling ins though the tannins are grand and nearly grainy. The tannins are present for for 2015 and 2016 so discussing structural longevity is like discussing comparative mythologies. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted October 2021

San Giusto A Rentennano La Ricolma 2015, IGT Merlot Di Tosna

Probably as easy a vintage as it gets for merlot and Lu prefers this, as opposed to ’16 being the preferred one for sangiovese. Still a big wine and unavoidable as merlot in this San Giusto’s very specific micro-climate and lotion. These are really fine, sweet and elastic tannins stretching out for a lunga mminata in what really is quite a beautiful merlot. Drink 2022-2028.? Tasted November 2021 and February 2022

paccia 2011, IGT Tosna

The 2011 paccia IGT bernet sauvignon is in a terrific place, full of energy and fruit swells, almost no drying of that fruit or tannins, acids as always in charge. Lots of wood of course but it is that swell of fennel, rosemary, lavender and elderflower that dominates, permeates and seems to propagate through this warm and strong vintage wine. Really feels like an 11 year-old wine and one from the time. Also place so that is really what paccia is all about. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted March 2022

Good to go!


Gallo Nero at the Chianti Classico Collection 2022, Stazione Leopolda, Firenze




The walrus is Paul

I don’t usually write pieces like this. When I heard the news this past weekend of Paul Pender’s tragic passing I was stunned. Even though someone very close to him told me what happened, I could not and would not believe the news. It made zero sense and there was simply no way that this was true. I still feel this way and while I’m not one to live in fantasy and certainly understand the cruel reality of this world, I n still see Paul’s kind face and little boy sparkle as clear as every time I’ve been with him. I don’t imagine that will change any time soon. An hour ago I sat down to pen this note about Paul Pender. It just felt like the right time.

Related – Paul Pender’s Tawse and?effect

(c) Stephen Elphick

I simply n’t approach Paul’s death from a journalist’s view. While it is true that I am a wine writer and a critic whose job includes assessing Tawse and Redstone wines, the work has always been kept separate from the friendship and respect Paul and I always shared. I have no interest in breaking news and unfolding circumstances. Remembering a great man, father, husband, uncle, friend, colleague and winemaker is all that matters.

Paul always struck me as a bit of a rock star but he was always humble. I think it was six years ago that I wrote “Paul Pender’s acumen and winemaking professionalism has reached a whole new level of Rock ‘N Roll. He is a big picture guy and Niagara renaissance man; songwriter, volist, lead guitar, producer and engineer. He’s Cuddy, Cripps?and?Chris Shreenan-Dyck rolled into one.” I once compared him to Bruce Springsteen. To me he is so much more. He is as if John Lennon were singing a lyric about him. “The walrus is Paul.” Buddha, “aesthetilly thin and unassuming…I am he as you are he as you are me.”

In 2012 I reached out to Paul and asked for a visit. Even if some people knew me as a Toronto chef you could probably count on one hand how many knew me as a wine writer. Not only did Paul immediately and graciously accept the request, he gave an open-ended amount of his time. We tasted through two dozen barrels as if I were the most important journalist in the world. He invited me back again and again, each and every time there were new wines to assess. He valued my opinion and wanted to teach, share and converse about all that was on his winemaking mind. If I were wandering about at any point during the i4c Cool Chardonnay Celebration I could always count on Paul for a convo or just a quiet sit on a step over a glass at brunch.

Paul touched so many people, most of all his immediate family, his amazing wife Allison, for whom my heart aches and breaks. His work and kinship with Moray Tawse is legendary in the world of wine and I grieve for Moray who has lost both a son and a brother. Everyone at Tawse, Redstone and Vintage Coffee Roasters now have to say goodbye to a friend, mentor and no doubt the greatest guy to work with and be around. Vicki, Jessi, Devin, Jessi, Augusta, David, Daniel, Daniel, Pasl and everyone who worked alongside at the wineries. Magdalena Kaiser and staff at the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario. My colleagues at WineAlign and all the writers who had the privilege to interview and taste with the soft-spoken Mr. Pender.

So many Ontario vigneron and especially winemakers’ work and lives were bettered by Paul; Jay, Shiraz, Rene, Dan, Brian, J-L, Marco, Thomas, Ilya, Dean, Kelly, Sue-Ann, Dave, Adam, Kevin, Keith, Steve, J.P., Philip, Peter, Ann, Marlize, Emma, Craig, Charles, Angelo, Katie, Marty, Ben, David, Katie, Lydia, Greg, Chris, Amélie, Bruce, Lawrence, Jacob, Andrzej, Ryan, Rob, Yvonne, Jeff, Sébastien, Richie, Colin, Mackenzie, sey, Arthur, Lee, Frédéric, Gavin, Richard, Derek, Jonas, Marc, Adnan, Gordon, Wes, Vadim, Ross, Ron, Gabe, Fabian, Sean, Nicholas, Will and the list goes on and on. To all of you and to all who will miss him. I’m so sorry to you all for your tremendous loss.

Paul Pender humanized everything in his life and all that he touched. He never expressed any dismay at comments I may have made about wines not being perfect, nor did he exalt in high scores or praise for wines about which I may have gushed or waxed rhapsodic. He was always zen, even-keeled, grounded and humble. Paul was the personifition of gravitational constant, THE universal gravitational constant, a constant of gravitation. His presence and being related force to mass and distance, and he lived his life within the law of gravitation. I hope he taught everyone to be this way and that we n all go forward with his wise, sage and lm demeanour, safely tucked into our own lives.

Thank you Paul. I love you, man. You are the walrus.

Good to go!





Montalcino Previews: 2020 and 2019 Rosso, 2017 Brunello Annata, Vigna and 2016 Riserva DOCG

The year was 2020. We said arrivederci e ci vediamo to Montalcino on a mild and still February afternoon. Little did we or anyone know that a return engagement would not be possible until the fall of 2021. During that 20 month hiatus I hosted and moderated six webinars in nada with more than 25 Montalcino producers, Each session was accompanied by a thematic article published to inclusive of an account for each producer. With thanks to the recent forward thinking and openness of the Conzorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, along with compatriot, friend and travelling companion Michaela Morris, we chalked out our homecoming and dove headfirst into more than 200 current releases. Two immersive eight hour sommelier assisted assessment sessions of Montalcino’s sangiovese, 12 estate visits and meetings, all over the course of five days. Benvenuto Brunello 2021, Drogheria Franci, ffè Fiaschetteria Italiana 1888, Il Giglio and Trattoria Il Pozzo. Cortonesi and Tenuta Buon Tempo. San Polo, Le Potazzine, Tenuta Fanti, Poggio di Sotto and Fattoria dei Barbi. Biondi-Santi, Conti Costanti, stello di Romitorio and Le Ragnaie. All beuse of and in the name of sangiovese, tissue of Rosso, bones of Brunello, grape of the future.

Related –?Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials: 40 years of Brunello di Montalcino?DOCG

Consorzio President Fabrizio Bindocci and Direttore Michele Fontana

Summing up that last Benvenuto Brunello in 2020 I noted that “Anteprime di Tosna’s culminating 2020 presentation of 2018 Rosso DOC and 2015 Brunello DOCG raised the bar for Montalcino’s venerable sangiovese.” Later I would write, “no one of sound mind passes up the opportunity to taste Brunello from Montalcino. When I think of Brunello di Montalcino there are two things that come to mind: Sangiovese and time.?Longevità e tempo. Contrasts and comparisons are unnecessary, neither to other grape varieties nor to wine regions that also fashion structured red wines. The sangiovese of Montalcino are like the eponymous medieval hilltop village, an island in a sea of vast varietal openness. They share the impossibility of undergoing the slightest shift in meaning or change, that is, without the assistance of time. They are incomparable, generous and durable but also part of a great community, finding permanence and always seeking to endure. As do their makers and protectors.”

This most recent trip in Montalcino with @michaelawine has taken my lifelong plan to another level. Grazie Miha for teaching me so much about Sangiovese, staying lm, focused and balanced over long days and just plain having a grand old time.

The 2021 vintage

On April 8, 2021 mail from Tommaso Cortonesi brought news of the early April frosts. “Here in Montalcino the Covid situation is under control but in the last couple of days we had to fight a dangerous enemy. Temperatures lower than 0’C. Last night several producers in Montosoli including me, panna, Baricci, Val di Suga, decided to burn hay bales to try to protect the vines with the smoke. Fortunately the vegetative state of the vines is still quite early so we hope this action has limited the possible damages. I send you attached some pictures from last night.”

Burning fires at Montosoli, Montalcino April 2021

Despite a signifint reduction for yields in many parts of Montalcino, the reasons for optimism are manyfold. Higher elevations above the frost danger zones, say 400-450m and up, especially to the northwest, for the most part remained unsthed. The vines had yet to fully awaken at estates like Corte Pavone, Le Potazzine, stello di Romotorio and Le Ragnaie. By September things were looking up in many sectors of Montalcino. Though production will be down, signifintly so for many estates, the promise for outstanding Rosso and Brunello is surely in the air.

Related – Backstage pass to Brunello di Montalcino

Godello at 450m, San Polo, Montalcino

At the end of the harvest prospects looked very promising, not for a bountiful vintage but surely one of high quality. A week to ten days into September the temperatures fluctuated 15-20 degrees. On the 7th the high was 29 and the low was 11. Made for excellent acidity retention aboard the march to phenolic ripeness. Younger and lower elevation vineyards began picking around the third week of September while higher points at the beginning of October. The challenge was to find a way to keep the link with the sangiovese of Montalcino and in a warm vintage not to go too far, neither in extraction nor maceration and to deliver a respectful wine. Usually 25-30 days but more like 18-20 in 2017. Also a 26-30 degree fermentation when some vintages it n be as high as 34, if only for a few days. In many ses the fermentations were some of the slowest on recent record. In fact as of November 18th one of Cortonesi’s vats was still at 4-5 g/L of residual sugar and would only likely finish in the first week of December. What Tommaso lled “sluggish beuse of the lowest level of yeasts.”

Related –?Ready for a long-term relationship? Brunello di Montalcino Vigna and?Riserva

The 2017 vintage

The elephant in the room is obvious and most producers answer before the question is even posed. From a winemaker, oenologist and proprietor you will be hit with this recurring refrain. “You will be surprised by the freshness and acidity of the 2017, despite the warm vintage.” It was hot and dry and “that’s what you need in high elevation vineyards surrounded by forests,” is how Filippo Chia of stello di Romitorio assesses the situation. When asked what to do with 2017 the pragmatic Andrea Costanti suggests it is a vintage “to introduce new people to Brunello di Montacino” and by extension a good Brunello for restaurants, sommeliers and licensees to take notice.

Related – Stamina and staying power: Brunello di Montalcino

Francesco Ripaccioli of nalicchio di Sopra remembers 2017 with almost wistful affection. He explains that following a summer during which there were 20 days above 35 degrees it was September that brought about the big surprise. After 40mm of rain on August 31st, through the course of the next month the phenolic maturation happened very slowly and finished late. Veraison at CdS did not begin until September and took nearly 30 days. “Even if you had a dry season (like 2017), you had this temperature fluctuation of on average 25 degrees by day and nine by night. That allowed you to harvest late, with preserved acidity and alcohol not so high. The plants were working very slowly with their reserve of water. (The vintages) of ’17 and ’12 for me are very similar, as seasons, where grapes and their skins wanted to oxidize but September changed everything. We went to school from 2012.”

With Consorzio President Fabrizio Bindocci and Chef rlo Cracco

Low does not due justice to how small a vintage was 2017. “We tried to extract less and keep it on the lighter side,” tells Alberto Machetti of Tenuta Buon Tempo. For Ricrdo mpinoti of Le Ragnaie yields and production were down 10-15 per cent, at least as compared with the previous two vintages. For mpinoti 2017 is a vintage of “unfinished tannins.” Not quite fully ripe and yet acidity never fell away. Another example of how Brunello n be sold now and for the next five years, especially to restaurants and shops for immediate or near-term consumption.

Related – Sangiovese is the future: Montalcino’s Rosso and Brunello

Riserva 2016

“In the beginning ’16 was…not enough,” begins the soliloquy by Fattoria dei Barbi’s Stefano Cinelli Colombini. “But after a year it changed.” Reading deeper one understands that time is the answer, for sangiovese, Brunello and 2016. “This is why Riserva should be sold after eight or 10 years,” continues Cinelli Colombini. “The problem with tradition is we make a mistake that if it exists, there must be a meaning inherent, otherwise it would not have taken so long. The mistake we make is between what is actually a tradition and the sense of tradition. You only need to taste to know that wine is the most democratic thing in the world.” This so beautifully sums up Riserva and 2016. As a vintage no other in the last seven-plus years is so intrinsilly bonded with the grape and how it raises from the territory. Sangiovese and time is the connection and though ’16 is not one of those touted in barrel as of the dede, century or of the ages, it is in fact one of those, if not all.

Montalcino sommeliers

Molte sane, repeats Andrea Costanti as if by mantra through the course of the 45 minutes while we taste, consider and assess his Riserva 2016. Not just Costanti’s but dozens upon dozens of ’16 Riserva. The healthiest sangiovese of great, sheer and utter clarity. Wines that may be described as possessive of a fineness running with liquid chalkiness, fluido or scorrevole. The 2015s may have shown heady structure, power and also generosity but the 16s are the complete package beuse they are also filled with delisse, elegance and grace.

Related –?Benvenuto Brunello 2020: Montalcino surges?ahead

Changes in agriculture and fermentation

Federico Radi is the incumbent oenologist at Biondi Santi, having worked previously at Isole e Olena and Mazzei Bolgheri, Radi is looking at regenerative agriculture, making compost integrating manure (which must be like black butter, aged several months before mixing into the soils), beginning now with cover crops and little disturbance to the soils. “We really want within the next five years to reach two point five per cent of organic matter in the soils.” A real fan of Chomsky, Federico feels the need to keep the rbon in the soils, to help reduce that 25 per cent that agriculture contributes to the release into the soils. “I’m sad when I see the grey and dusty soils. It shows they are dead. This needs to be improved. We have seen in two years that we have different soils so we have to tailor the cover crops to reach section. Not just regenerative but also preventative agriculture.” The plan is to keep alcohol levels from rising even further. “We want Biondi-Santi to stay under 14 per cent.” And so a nursery was started, “since the beginning.” Like when Bob Marley was asked “how long have you been a Rasta?” “Since creation.” Radi insists that it would be dangerous to live with only one clone of sangiovese, so 50 varieties are propagated.

A pensive Alberto Maccheti of Tenuta Buon Tempo. Must have been thinking about the 2017 vintage.

Filippo Chia of stello di Romitorio is getting even more specific. He talks about one of the major introductions being smaller berries, spargolo berries. Moving away from traditional sk aging may also be a step towards a future in which producers combat climate change with fresh ideas. For instance at Tenuta Buon Tempo Alberto Maccheti has been installing new concrete tanks to replace the more than 20 year old 64 hL Garbelotto sks. Whatever it takes seems to be the prevailing attitude for a region that has to, must do something.

Related – Gambero Rosso’s red wine of the year leads a vertil tasting of Argiano’s Vigna del Suolo

Morning in Montalcino

Much ado and what to do about Rosso di Montalcino

In 2020 I wrote that “culturally speaking Rosso di Montalcino is the most important wine. It’s what the Montalcinese drink daily. It’s a Monday night, a winemaker’s night off. There is work to be done in the morning so it wouldn’t be prudent to drink anything heavy or expensive. What to open? The answer is obvious and easy. Rosso di Montalcino. More than one Montalcino winemaker has used the phrase “it’s what we like to drink” and just as many will tell you that Rosso must reflect sangiovese’s character more than any other wine. What we know is that the Rosso are the protagonists of the new market.”

With Francesco Rippacioli and Tommaso Cortonesi

“The most fascinating thing about Rosso di Montalcino is that every producer has a unique philosophy and a personal relationship with the appellative wine. To some it persists in the old-school way, that is to think of it as a “baby Brunello,” or second wine, if you will. The days of Rosso being considered only in this way are long past. The baby Brunello concept now acquiesces to the notion of Rosso strictly made for Rosso, with great purpose and also meaning. There are some Rosso that really need to be considered and assessed just as you would Brunello and it is only where such structured sangiovese fit relative to the estate’s other Brunello that need qualify it as Rosso. In today’s Montalcino one’s Rosso is another’s Brunello. It’s now more than ever a matter of lotion, soil and altitude.”

Annual pic with the hardest working sommeliers in the business

“Rosso n refer to the sangiovese berries themselves, meaning the winemaker will pick the largest for Rosso, the medium berries for Brunello and the smallest ones for Riserva. Others will designate vineyards to the Rosso, or plant new ones and use the youngest fruit. Still there will be some who pass through all their vines and designate specific blocks, referring to it and even labelling it as a cru. Finally there are some who wait and craft Rosso in the cellar, after the fruit has come in and been pressed. There are many ways to skin a Rosso but these days it is always a wine treated with respect. In terms of elévage, Rosso will more likely than not be raised in big barrels but not the Grandi Botti often used for the Brunello. As for vine age it seems the sweet spot is between 15 and 20 years.”

Related –?What the winemakers drink: Rosso di Montalcino

Rosso di Montalcino could and should be elevated to DOCG status. To do so requires investment and also a mandatory minimum aging period in wood. The 2019 vintage is proof of why Rosso needs to once again be revisited, to be considered in its own light and of its own accord. This is beuse as a vintage much less Rosso was made, simply by the reason of across the board quality, raising the prospect of making more Brunello. A matter of available quantities and as an extension, economics. Which means that many vineyards pable of being purposed either way went in Brunello’s direction out of 2019. Which also means that more vineyards need to be designated as Rosso and were a DOCG awarded the rules would need to be altered to make sure the wines are pre-declared as such. There is enough Brunello to go around and the world needs more Rosso di Montalcino.

Drogheria Franci Restaurant Montalcino

Further to that the Consorzio’s decision to hold an anteprima in November uses producers to make choices they would not have had to think about before. The 2019 Rosso would have been shown in February and so November is both too late for producers who have already sold out or at least alloted their’s, but also too early for the 2020s to be presented. I purposely tasted only seven examples and each one was intensely youthful, tighter and more inaccessible than the next. The ’19s on the other hand were glorious, open and generous, as they would have already been just a few months earlier. Late April or early May would be an ideal time to show off the latest Rosso di Montalcino vintage, early enough for the early releasers and late enough for those who need 18 months before putting their Rosso to bed. Keep the Brunello anteprima in November if that works for the majority beuse the extra nine months (from the usual February event) works wonders for all three levels; Annata and Vigna plus the previous year’s Riserva. I n think of at least one more noble sangiovese producing appellation that would benefit from doing the same.

Here are 222 reviews, mostly from the November anteprima and estate visits but also some drawn from attending the October 2021 Gambero Rosso Awards tasting in Rome. There are 35 Rosso notes, 23 of them for the 2019 vintage. One hundred and seventy-one Brunello reviews, including seven from 2018 and for 2017 there are 103, 69 for Annata and 34 to Vigna. For 2016 there are 61 tasting notes, 45 on Riserva, the rest Annata and Vigna. Also 16 older vintages and IGTs.

Rosso di Montalcino 2020

parzo Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

While so many 2020 Rosso are going to be intensely youthful, this from parzo is really quite approachable. Classic estate red, like a liquor dosage of itself running and integrating through itself. Tart and expertly crafted with express intention to please. Of this there n be no doubt. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Taverna dei Barbi

Fattoria Dei Barbi Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

A vintage of viscosity and deepest of red cherry fruit, off of vines five to fifteen years old. While really young there is access here for drinking a 2020 ahead of many others. Classilly dark Barbi fruit and a Galestro feeling. Bottled just less than one month ago and settled into a lm state by now. Will remain stable for a few years, not necessarily gaining in complexity but surely keeping on. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Patrizia Cencioni Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

Extremely youthful, full deep fruit and whilst the rbonic feeling persists you n’t help but intuit a depth in this Rosso. Mix in an early high tonality and expectation then dictates this will offer up the fullest of mouthfeel. Charged and rich, a luxe Rosso with chalky underlay, a fine rage of acidity and a wine very much working in progress. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Talenti Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

Tight, young and early bracing Rosso from Talenti, showing off the darker fruit of the vintage and surely offering a glimpse into what the Brunello will bring three further years down the road. A vintage of well developed fruit and sharp acidity, vividly ptured in a sangiovese just like this. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

Very much a work just beginning its progress, both rbonic notions and sulphur completely unresolved. Needs a revisit to see where the darkening fruit will go. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Ucceliera Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

A Rosso further along than many, at least in terms of fermentative culmination and post-shock living. Shows off the hue and depth of vintage fruit with more redness, cherry ingress and tannic redress. You n feel the grip and the controlled power in this sangiovese. Will be a very good one beuse it already is. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Voliero Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2020

Tight, taut, wound around itself like a wire around a spool and yet having found its way out of fermentation and through bottling. Less fruit than brother Ucceliera and also lower toned, earthbound, grounded and yet the acids are right on point. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Rosso di Montalcino 2019

Armilla Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Lovely red, red fruit, supple and stylish. As if cherries grew on rose bushes and this light, dusty feeling improvised by a Rosso with a tender modicum of fortifying structure. The right pressing, pushed and from a lotion ideal for Rosso out of 2019. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted November 2021

stello Tricerchi Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Pushes the boundaries of red fruit into something deeper though the clarity and transparency are evident and true. Lithe yet subtle if also sneaky structured Rosso, one that will please those needing immediate gratifition yet with an ability to travel further, while treading lightly into a whole other realm. Great curiosity and possibility here. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted November 2021

stiglion Del Bosco Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Well-pressed, expressed and all tenets ptured Rosso having taken full advantage of a vintage willing to give it all. Feel the ripeness pushed and the effects of so much greenery, a forest of hope and dreams also pressed into this fulsome Rosso. All the immediacy one could want is here for the taking. Drink this young and impressionable. Drink 2021-2022.? Tasted November 2021

Collemattoni Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Classic Collematoni liqueur, a glycerin texture that fills every pore, pouring through and through. Just the sangiovese goods in purest form and a Rosso that speaks in clear, ernest and knowable 2019 terms. What’s really special is the way the wine lingers and stays with you without any astringencies nor finishing nut, pith or bitters. A top Rosso for the vintage. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

With Andrea Costanti and Michaela Morris

Conti Costanti Rosso Di Montalcino DOC Vermiglio 2019

The level of purity multiplied by concentration from 2019 is off the proverbial sangiovese cross referenced by Montalcino charts. This from a vintage when much less Rosso was made beuse the quality of the Brunello was so important. The fruit is of course deep cherry but branching off into a spectral expanse of darkening reds. The well runs deep, pooling with cool, ethereal and mineral licked waters, the textural breadth reaching into three-dimensional fabric. Also a tomato reduction, sweat of San Marzano, viscous and flessibile or perhaps flessuoso. Nothing remains out of reach or control, instead all is in focus and structured. Most would kill to reach such potential, have, show and sell this as Brunello. In a way this ’19 Costanti is a first of its kind, impressive for Rosso with a set of finest tannins. Long on the chain, pable of the most age-worthy extension. With 20 minutes of air a swarthiness emerges, putting this Rosso commensurate with some historil vintages, say 1985, 1988, 1990 and 1997. Drink 2023-2033.? Tasted November 2021

Corte Pavone Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Relatively lithe, dusty and crafty Rosso, giving away the impression of a really purposed example, a sangiovese of credibility and composure. That said there is some grip and intention as well so perhaps wait a year and better still two before seeing where this will travel. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Cortonesi La Mannella Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

The 2011 planted vineyard is the youngest at La Mannella and is used exclusively for Tommaso Cortonesi’s Rosso. “In recent years, for my generation we are trying to approach Rosso di Montalcino is a more personal way,” tells Cortonesi. “A fresh wind, brought to the production and (especially) the communition. Finding a real identity, not as a baby Brunello.” The clay soil does not necessarily give big concentration but more so ease, elegance and classic sangiovese. Seemingly dark in hue but bright and tart in such an accentuated way. n’t really shake the idea of the quality inherent in this specific scope of concentration. A liqueur of sangiovese, moving towards the finish swiftly and courteously across the palate. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

With Violante Gardini, Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosso Di Montalcino DOC sato Prime Donne 2019

Having a moment with the outward exhale of this perfume beuse it’s unlike most other Rosso and so the time taken to breathe it in will do all parties well. Clarity of roses and spring flowers, an exotique nearly equal and surely apposite to the ulterior presence of a gamey note that’s so intriguing. This is what sato Prime Donne brings to the table. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Elia Palazzesi Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019 Collelceto

Crisp and pure Rosso for Rosso’s sake, as automatilly and knowable as sangiovese as a Rosso from Montalcino n really be. Tugs straight at the heartstrings by offering a cherry red, tightly focused and lightly grippy wine. Perfectly representative for a now to three years Rosso for all who query and consider, each and every day of the week. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted November 2021

Tenuta Fanti

Fanti Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

From 15 hectares of Rosso vineyards with the potential to produce upwards of 50,000 bottles, though in truth much less is actually made. The rest of the unselected juice is sold off or portioned over to the IGT Torto Rosso. So yes a selection, aged for a year and a half in larger (30 hL) sks and some barriques. Not just another high quality and ready, rock-steady Rosso but here in 2019 a bolder and more substantial version of its always loveable and solid self. Gotta love it, any which way, all the time. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted November 2021

La Colombina Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Somewhat older-schooled, firm and grippy sangiovese in Rosso, a squeezed and ptured liqueur that takes hold without letting go. Plenty of portents and intendments in a wine that will need time to ease, settle and deliver. There will be more earth than fruit when that time comes. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted November 2021

La Fornace Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Beautiful gelid liqueur of sangiovese emits with fineness from La Fornace 2019 Rosso, making the vintage happen as it should from this part of town. Really fine tart red fruit pture and equal tannic ability but what’s really special here are the acids merging and making for great freshness. Parts are bigger than some and so well integrated. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

With Ricrdo mpinoti, Le Ragnaie

Le Ragnaie Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Still a barrel sample beuse Ricrdo mpinoti leaves his Rosso for two years, even though there are hundreds of the appellative wines already having been long ago released on the market. Still this is the final version, of 30,000 bottles produced, more or less. The barrels for the blend were chosen in October and bottling is imminent. Did not make it into this November’s anteprima beuse there was not enough notice given, also considering when Le Ragnaie puts Rosso to bottle. In 2019 there is 30 per cent Montosoli mixed in with stelnuovo dell’Abate and even some estate vineyard fruit. A firm and chewy Rosso, not yet settled and ready to play as it will. Substantial everything, beyond fruit, especially texture and real tannins for a Rosso. A harbinger for the Brunello to come, especially with all three (zonal) fruit sources layering their involvement. This will age really well. Drink 2023-2028.? Tasted November 2021

cio e Pepe, Il Giglio

A Rosso of interest beuse of the ulterior aromas and motives, of a pomegranate to blood orange citrus tartness and a wish for immediate gratifition. This is contrary to many Rosso of more grip and structure. This changes and then the wine shows its teeth. More interest than many and still in a Brunello vein. In a sense this Rosso does it all. Drink 2021-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Mastrojanni Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Firm yet a Rosso with more than ample charm and grace, full red fruit and tannin interposed, layered and sharing the sangiovese stage. Takes some time but the fulsome and dusty work here really gains and makes haste of your senses. Takes hold and really does not let go. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Pinino Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Intensity of Rosso aromas, rich and invigorating while showing more wood than many. Perhaps some barriques or possible new wood quite seasoned and throwing much in the way of dark chocolate into the wine. Espresso too in a Rosso of such ilk. Drink 2022-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Renieri Srl Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

From the word go the Renieri feels like a true and purposed Rosso, with no aspirations but to be Rosso and to take the appellation to a most important next level. This is the thing about Rosso today and in how the last five years have seen to arriving at moments like these. Chewy with red fruit in a liquorice way, lithely tart and a blood orange moment but incremental, a sangiovese climbing up as if on steps, not so much rising as getting to upwards levels. Length is outstanding. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

San Polo Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Released in September of 2021, at the time when 2020 Rosso are allowed to be released by the Consorzio. Aged in 40 hL sks, from fruit selected each season out of the eight parcels at San Polo. Oh my what an inviting and reeling Rosso, purity of exacting 2019 red fruit and really quite a deft touch to tie all parts together. Fresh and spirited, a chewy interior but always smart, energetic and gracefully powerful throughout the outer layers. Surely a Rosso of crunch but also a salinity with thanks to all the rocks in these “mountain” Montalcino vineyards. Just feels like a Rosso for Rosso sake. Quite ideal. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Trattoria Il Pozzo, Sant Angelo in Colle

Sasso Di Sole Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Sasso Di Sole’s is a northeasterly Montalcino lotion in the neighbourhood of Torrenieri, a cooler sub-zone of the territory. Doesn’t necessarily apply when a vintage like 2019 is in bottle beuse beautiful weather and near perfect growing conditions will put just as beautiful Rosso into the bottle. Still you have to appreciate and focus on the added freshness, perhaps as compared to some jammier and lush examples made in the southern reaches of the region. This is quite a salty and structured little Rosso number, tart and sassy, full of sun yes but also dried herbal, brushy and dusty substance. It’s all in here, a touch idiosyncratic and then with tannins that really turn arid, as felt in the mouth long after the wine is gone. Strong for the DOC, dark of fruit and mildly astringent at the end. Drink 2021-2023.? Tasted May and November 2021

Tenuta Buon Tempo Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

For Alberto Machetti a similar and equally “cool” vintage with grapes in stelnuovo facing Monte Amiata. Picking started on the 16th of September in a vintage with great freshness and in this se an intense level of savour. From the seven lowest hectares on alluvial clay soil only 50 metres from the Orcia River. Of double density and yields which work best for Rosso. Fine but relative ease and linear concentration for an easy but more than notable substantial essay of Rosso. Purple fruit and proper acids. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Tenuta La Potazzine Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

Bottled in June 2021 and a Rosso of real identity, on its own, connected to Brunello but so much a wine of its own accord. Truly Rosso for the sake of aromas, subtlety and for a starting point for drinking three to four years forward. The 2017 must be at perfect peak now with five years easy left at that level. Indites what will happen with this 2019, a Rosso delite and in charge, with power, of itself and also us. Complex and yet easy. The opposite of so many of us. Wait another year or so for the wine to soften and arrive at the right place. Drink 2023-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Tenuta San Giorgio Rosso Di Montalcino DOC Ciampoleto 2019

An old-fashioned Italian term meaning single-vineyard, from “Ciampolo.” Stainless steel and 15 months in Slavonian oak, from a vintage of excellent interchange and alternating between sunlight and rainfall. Also a vintage from which Monte Amiata really aided with airflow for freshness and kept acidity. Vineyards face southeast (next to Podere Le Ripi) and their age is up to 20 years of age. Youthful and charming Rosso, a snapshot of young vines and a luxe vintage getting together on the same page for sangiovese surety. Richness to be sure in that regard and a chocolate rendering, part milk and part dark, swirled through the texture of the wine. Fine grain of tannin runs through as well, taking over and finishing at macchianto. A savoury freshness and if you’ve tasted enough vintages of Ciampoleto you will know this is tops, exceptional, potent and seductive. Sweet fennel at the finish. Drink 2022-2025.? Tasted November 2021

Ventolaio Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2019

High spirit and tonality, a Ventolaio speciality and what is expected from their Rosso. This especially when considering a vintage that could entice a maker to go further and deeper. The commitment to restraint and even more importantly consistency makes this a special wine. Crisp enough to ll freshness the lead and with a fullness of texture to feel the barrel and lead this down a four to six year road. Exemplary, dictionary entry. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Rosso di Montalcino 2018 and 2017

Biondi Santi Rosso Di Montalcino DOC Tenuta “Greppo” 2018

The harvest started on September 16th, from a season where 800 grams of bunches per plant was almost double the norm so intensive selection was necessary. A tramontana wind me in and so the harvest was quickly concluded on the 26th. There was some fear of botrytis. Though there had been a great variability of ripeness 10 days earlier, the point was reached by the end of the season. Just a two week maceration, noted in the old-school colour, fragrant, never pushed, also perfume in the tannins, repliting the fruit. More to the point is the mimic of acidity so that all three are on the same page. Bottled just about one year ago so really coming into a drinking window. Labeled 13 per cent but in reality clocks in at exactly 12.8, which is nothing less than incredible. “There is something in this estate that is magic” tells Federico Radi. “This is Il Greppo, from the beginning there is balance and you n feel this in the first steps of alcoholic fermentation.” Could there be an easier place to work, in a sense, “beuse the quality of tannins are so fine.” So very true and as a Rosso an exact mirror into the vintage, lithe and elastic, pliable of structure and ready to drink quite soon. Textured of it’s own accord, disposition and way. Drink 2022-2030.? Tasted November 2021

Poggio Di Sotto Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2018

Rainy season early, cool enough with some sun but problematic at the outset by a daily pebbling of the two, followed by a terrific climatic summer. Definite herbal, Mediterranean aromatics, almost like walking and brushing past the hedges on the terrace overlooking the valley. Notably linear and demanding for Rosso, a Brunello (from barrel declassified) after three years. Hyper real, serious and gripped with no less mattering intendment. Remember that this too comes from a selection in the vineyard and so the backbone and probability begins from the day the grapes leave the vine. Teenage angst, rebellious, a bit angry and it will grown up. Proper role modelling and upbringing guarantees this Rosso 2018 will be fine and be great. Peppery piques at the finish and then all goes quiet. Elegance emerged. Drink 2021-2026.? Tasted November 2021

Tassi Di Franci Fran Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2018

Lean and transparent Rosso of purity and clarity, fruit far from full extraction and the wood very much a part of the easterly mix. Spice and chocolate shavings, intensity overall and while the barrel makes this immediate statement it falls away and the wine finishes with smooth, morbido and really pleasant consistency. Drink 2021-2024.? Tasted November 2021

Poggio di Sotto

Poggio Di Sotto Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2017

The work of Lu Marone (oenologist) and Federico Staderini (winemaking) surely had their rds laid out on the table from which they’ve managed to pick, sort and arrange in the creation of shared common ground sets of elegance and finesse. Not as other vintages per se but there are signs all over this wine to say it will pour like Brunello for years to come. The tannins are chalky overtop maximum sapid occupancy and mineral cuts in angles all across the body politic of this wine. Wait another year. You will be thankful for it. The volume was split between Rosso and Brunello, considering there was no Riserva produced. Drink 2022-2026.? Tasted November 2021

With Gigliola, Sofia and Viola, Le Potazzine

Tenuta La Potazzine Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2017

Poured from magnum, as Gigliola wishes all sangiovese were but knows it’s not really possible. Put thoughts of a hard vintage aside and just focus, use imagination and pay close attention to realities that tell the ’17 tale of this place. From vineyards upwards and exceeding 500m, a natural ferment, unfiltered and as fresh as any in Montalcino. If Montalcino were a perfume this might be it, inviting but with secrets, open and subtly so. Few sangiovese are as elegant and in such control, youthful but showing the rds to tell us what we should expect. Eventually. Slowly.? Last tasted November 2021

Very pretty pulchritude in the Potazzine Rosso ’17 with spice, charm and a great pulse of energy. This is so very Rosso and so very what Rosso wants, needs and n be. All pulse and vitality, with striking acids and sneaky formidable tannin. Delicious Rosso di Montalcino and a great harbinger for the vintage. Drink 2020-2026.? Tasted February 2019

Brunello di Montalcino 2018

Le Ragnaie Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2018

Ahh freshness, the first 2018 in my glass and no offence to 2017 but after tasting 150 ‘17s over four days this is surely a breath of new air. Bright and almost a marine wind blowing through while at the same time showing some substance and bones. Fleshy but elastilly so and these tannins are not sharp, nor austere, but forgiving and even generous. Left the barrel after the minimum amount of regulatory time to keep the wine from being tired by the wood. Drink 2023-2028. Tasted November 2021

Le Ragnaie Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG sanovina Montosoli 2018

As for sanovina from Montosoli there is everything one could hope for in fresh, sapid, saline, mineral expressiveness giving in to amenability as it pertains to enjoying, or projecting the enjoyment of Brunello Vigna looking a few years ahead. There is more depth and reserve in 2018 from Montosoli and if the previous vintage did not tell us just how special this northern fruit n be then better attention need be paid. Here we experience the prescience and extension to continued futures of Montalcino. A fruit to acid continuum of fresh sweetness and singular expressiveness. Also a backbone but not one rigid and compact, rather linear and stretching northward. Crisp and with terrific crunch, upward movement and great potential. Drink 2025-2035.? Tasted November 2021

Ragnaie Vineyard

Le Ragnaie Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG Paso Del Lume Spento 2018

As with the Brunello Annata and in fact all of his ‘18s, Ricrdo mpinoti decided to take this out of wood at the discipline number of months to stave off any chance of tiring and oxidation. As with the Annata there is of course great freshness but here magnified with even greater clarity, blue sky brightness and what a palate cleanser it is. Thanks to the 621m of altitude the wine maintains a level of acidity at the top of the tops but it is neither spicy nor piqued, no sign of peppery grinds nor sharpness neither. Cool, gelid, sandstone salt licked and a sangiovese that will never blind a travelle