Tasting the wines of Chianti Classico, Tuscany

These notes accompany a in-depth feature on Chianti Classico. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: Chianti Classico – Little Black Rooster.


FONTODI

xMerrigio 2007
90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Pinot Blanc. Nice sense of figgy richness, with a mealy quality and fresh apple fruit. Just a touch of more tropical, guava character. The palate has good weight and a rounded fruit quality, but retains good freshness. 88/100. £15.49, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Casa Via Pinot Noir 2006
Quite a powerful wine, with big, ripe aromas of creamy, dark fruit and liquorice, and a little earthy tone. The palate has lots of spice and mouth-filling volume. A chunky, big wine that for me is a touch too full-bodied. 89/100. Around £30, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Casa Via Syrah 2004
Big, bold smoky bacon nose, with a touch too much oak that’s a little resinous, but there’s a welter-weight of fruit beneath. This has a deep, muscular character, though smoothed over by charry oak and svelte tannins. The acidity is good, in a big, impressive, though perhaps slightly overpowering wine. 91/100. Around £30, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico 2006
100% Sangiovese, 12 months in French oak – no new barrels. Very ripe, bloody nose, with full fruit and sense of gamy, fleshy quality. Very good fruit quality, with tight, slightly leathery quality that is very typical, and a tight, sinewy cherry and blackcurrant gloss. Very svelte tannins, lots of freshening acidity, beautiful balance. Will age. 91/100. £17.95, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ 2004
Single vineyard wine, 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, all around 35-years-old. Very appealing fragrance, with a touch of smoky, gamy tobacco edge to concentrated dark berry fruits. The fruit on the palate is wonderfully buoyant and fresh, with a really bittersweet, racy plushness yet freshness. The smoky, exotic Sandalwood fills in on the finish. Needs time – 5 years or more- but absolutely glorious. 95/100. £31.49, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ 1999
A similar year to 2004. Has the edge of plush, gamy character with the cabernet component quite powerful, but the svelte black fruit and warming core of spice and tobacco comes through. On the palate that delicious juicy cherry and ripe blackcurrant depth and weight. A touch of black plum and Agen prune, in a bittersweet chocolaty finish. Lots of chocolate and sweet, plump fruit. 94/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Flaccianello della Pieve 2005
An IGT that is 100% Sangiovese, and pre-dates the rule change in Chianti Classico that allowed 100% Sangiovese cuvées. A touch of menthol and of swirling smokiness, with a sweet background of pure, bright cherry fruit. The palate has very crisp acidity and a slightly dry tannin, but the raciness and crisp, almost slightly leafy red fruit of raspberry and cherry is long and fresh into the finish. Very elegant and structured. 92/100. £42.49, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Flaccianello della Pieve 1999
The nose has that slightly animal, gamy edge to cool, precise, floral-edged cherry fruit. The oak is quite smoky and incense like, but it is in the background. The palate has a cool, classy quality, with a dry, chocolaty edge to the fruit, but one that is really quite harmonious. This has the same elegance and sense of breeding as the 2005; not at all flashy, but very lovely. Drinking well now. 93/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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CASTELLO DI QUERCETTO

Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico 2006
Quite muted and a slightly dull character, but some nice cherry fruit comes through. On the palate the fruit is good, with a nice bit of bitter dark cherry skin bite. A little spice. 86/100. Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva Il Picchio 2004
From a single vineyard planted in 1983, this is around 92% Sangiovese and spends 12 months in barriques. It has a deep ruby/crimson colour, and a nose that’s immediately perfumed and seductive, with graphite and smoky tobacco, but very tight and glossy red fruits too. On the palate this is lean and savoury, with lithe, sinewy tannins and acidity perhaps just overpowering the fruit a little. It is focused and composed, with a dried cherry fruit quality, but just a touch more flesh on its bones would have been preferred. 88/100. Around £20, see stockists on wine-searcher.com

xCastello di Querceto La Corte 2004
This 100% Sangiovese wine is aged 12 months in barrique. Ithas a very dark, almost opaque ruby colour, and a tight, floral-tinged nose of dark cherry fruit with real intensity. There are touches of cedar and lead pencil. This strikes the palate with authority, the sweet-edged red and black fruit flavours edged with spice and leather, and a grippy spine of sinewy tannin adding lots of tension and dry, uncompromising muscle. The balance is good, with fine acidity coming in to play, but this is another savoury style of concentrated wine that needs food. 90/100. Around £20, see stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Querceto Il Sole di Alessandro 2004
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this spends around 20 – 24 months in French oak barriques. It has a deep but bright crimson colour, and an immediately concentrated and dense nose with notes of cedar wood and svelte black fruit, but all very tightly-wound and muscular. On the palate there’s a cool, crisp edge to slightly gamy and minty black fruit, before a rush of acidity and tight, focused tannins add spine and a taut precision. The acidity leaves the finish tingling and fresh, in a powerful wine that marries good fruit to a fresh, fairly lean character. 91/100. Around £30, see stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Querceto Il Querciolaia 2004
Sangiovese (65%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (35%) spend 18 – 20 months in barrique. The wine has a dark, ruby colour and a beautifully fragrant nose, where hints of game and damp woodland meld into ripe black fruit, with little exotic hints of violet and Sandalwood. On the palate that slightly gamy, animal edge persists, but the quality of the fruit is excellent. There’s a ripeness on the mid-palate here, and just a fleshy richness that holds up well as lean, sinewy tannins and freshening acidity begin to push through. This finishes with tang and bite, but the lingering fruit and a mellowing oak quality buffer it nicely. Lovely stuff this. 92/100. Around £30, see stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Querceto Il Querciolaia 2003
Nicely ripe, gamy fruit with a touch of herbal quality. There is lovely ripeness here, with sweet fruit but a savoury., grippy, orangy acidity pushes in. Quite tangy and fresh in the finish. Lacks a little flesh and generosity with a slightly drying finish. 89/100.

Castello di Querceto Cignale 2004
This blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Merlot is aged in barrique for 20 – 24 months. It has a very deep, solid ruby colour, and a very refined nose of sweet, earthy tones and rich black fruit. There’s a hint of exotic Sandalwood and classy pencil-shaving notes, even just a hint of gaminess in a beguiling, complex profile. On the palate this is pure and linear, with a taut, sinewy muscularity to the tight black fruit, but softening edges of plum and cedar. The acidity is precise and along with crisp, fine tannins adds a certain grippy austerity to the finish that suggests maybe a year or two more in the cellar would benefit this wine. 91/100. Around £30, see stockists on wine-searcher.com

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CASTELLO DELLA PANERETTA

xChianti Classico 2006
With 10% Canaiolo in the blend, this has quite a smoky, almost ashy note that might be a little post-bottling character, and vinous red fruits. Clean fresh palate with lots of lemony acidity that stays fresh and with a sour cherry bite. Very appetising red wine. 89/100. £13.99, Majestic, £11,99, Booths, Harrods.

Torre a Destra Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
100% Sangiovese. Half aged in large botti, half in French barriques, 50% of which were new. A little earthiness, and a much deeper, black cherry and tobacco-edged black plum character. A little hint of blueberry and violet. Nice, plump, quite thick chocolaty fruit, though that dry, racy cherry-skin tannin and acid bite is there keeping this fresh and vital. 92/100. £24.95 Harrods, £30.32 Everywine.

Torre a Destra Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Again an earthy, slightly iron oxide note, with that delicately fragrant nose of violet and cherry, and good, solid red fruits. The palate has excellent freshness too for the vintage, with ripe fruit that has a touch of cherry skin bitterness, and nice tannins that stay quite fresh. Just lacks the beguiling aromatics of the 2004. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Torre a Destra Chianti Classico Riserva 1995
Just a little touch of something metallic or a touch leathery on the nose that suggest Brettanomyces? More notes of tobacco and cherry fruit, though all quite mellow and mature. The palate is fairly lean and acidic, with a big savoury lemon core, that pushes through with finish. This is perhaps a touch lean, but is fills in with tobacco and spice and a grippy tannic edge that gives it savoury bite and food-friendly character. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva 1997
A little meaty with perhaps a touch of Brett again, that is giving a ferrous quality to quite sweet fruit. The palate is drying slightly, but there’s a certain plumpness at the heart of this that adds juicy flavour and nice texture. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Sangiovese with 10% Canaiolo. Juicy cherry fruit with a touch of incense and burning embers, and a certain peach skin note. The acidity is very clean and fresh, with lots of cherry skin and lots of raciness with lemon zest and the oak just adding a hint of spice and woodsmoke. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Vin Santo 2002
Trebbiano and Malvasia, dried for three to five months in the loft above the winery, then aged for five years in small barrels of chestnut. Very sweet but barely oxidised aromas, with a hint of walnut and sultana fruit. The palate has certain purity with nectarine. Juicy fruit and good length. Very fine length and the sweetness is pure and balanced. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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TENUTA DI BIBBIANO

xChianti Classico 2006
A little herbal and breezy, ozone character, with crisp fruit. The palate is edgy and racy, with lots of lemon and cherry acidity and crispness. The tannins add a peppery grip, and and the finish is dry and lemony. Savoury and moreish. 87/100. 13.5% alcohol. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Montornello 2006
Montornello is a vineyard selection of grapes that spends 10 months in oak as opposed to the three months of the regular Chianti Classico. It is almost all Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot. More new oak evident, with a warming background toast and a touch of coffee. It is ripe and plump. On the palate there is a rich, warming spicy character, with a lot more flesh on its bones, but then the core of lemony acidity and tight, structural tannins. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Montornello 1999
A slightly funky, game and leather character, with the fruit slightly stripped away. On the palate the wine too is a touch stripped, but it has an elegance and has a savoury, evolved style that would be good with food. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Montornello 1997
Very old, tawny-edged colour. The nose is slightly brown sugary and leafy, with a touch of mouldiness . On the palate there is a nicely soft, sweet character, but this is faded. Still some pepper and spice, and a touch of elegance, but for me this is just past its best. 87/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 2005
There’s a slightly varnishy, over-cooked quality to the fruit. The oak has a vanilla edge too. The palate has plenty of racy, crisp-edged fruit with a warming hint of clove and spice. Oddly, it seems a little lacking flesh on the mid-palate, but finishes with stylish, coffeeish warmth. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 2004
Fresher, more herb-tinged and tobacco quality with bold, ripe fruit. The palate has a lean stripe of liquoricy acidity that gives a nicely savoury, long, tightly-structured style. The palate has lots of weight and powerful, grippy tannins and acidity. A bit of a powerhouse this, with spice and plumy depth, but does have freshening balance. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 1995
Better colour than the ’97 of the Montornello with racier fruit that has retained a bit of cherry freshness, though those older, mellow leaf and undergrowth aromas come through. The palate has lots of racy, lean, savoury notes with a touch of grilled meat and a grippy roughness to the tannins. Very enjoyable. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 1993
Again a nice colour here and has lots of tobacco, toffee and a gentle herbal quality. The palate has a very dry quality, and though the fruit is drying, there is a certain elegance here with nice racy, lemony acidity and just a hint of the fruit at the core. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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FELSINA

xI Sistri Chardonnay Toscana IGT 2006
Almost all older barriques are used for this Chardonnay, which have previously been used for one of the red wines. Attractive, Burgundian nose with a ripe melon and tropical fruit layered with cashew and crushed oatmeal. On the palate cool and composed, with a core of cool apple and lemony fruit, and a certain cool minerality to the acidity. Quite a rich texture without any overt oakiness. Good length too. 90/100. £18.95, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Berardenga 2006
100% Sangiovese. A little bit reduced, but has a gamy quality and then a fresh cherry fruit comes through with airing. Bold, clean black cherry on the palate, with a big sour cherry core and lemon acidity. Very fresh.91/100. £17.49, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Bold, pure and fresh fruit on the nose, with a sense of minerality a little like coal or charcoal, but the fruit fills in on the palate, the texture and sweetness building in the mouth, and the tannins quite chocolaty and rich, melding into good acidity and a coffeeish oak. 93/100. £34.95, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Fontalloro IGT Toscana 2005
100% Sangiovese. Deeper, more espresso and plummy fruit, with a bold, sweet fruit quality. On the palate quite plush, and svelte, but all tightly wound by the acidity and very fine tannins. Very racy. 93/100 £39.99, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Nice quality of cedary oak comes through, with lovely cherry fruit and a lot of blackcurrant skin grip and savoury quality on the palate. The acidity is good, and the tannins and dry, elegant structure are lovely. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Fontalloro IGT Toscana 2004
The fruit here is lovely – very plush and very rounded, but it also has juicy, refined, racy acidity and has a fine earthy quality. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 1999
There’s an earthy quality here, with a slightly leathery, very slightly dank note, but the whole picture is pleasing, as it adds to a sweet, ripe red fruit background. The palate is lovely, the earthy but sweet fruit and silky texture pushing through very ripe and sweet at the core of the wine, and the tannins are ripe and creamy, yet again the acidity is very, very powerful and precise. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Fontalloro IGT Toscana 1990
Lovely maturity here, with a touch of damp undergrowth but also very fine, sweet cherry and bright, ripe raspberry fruit. The palate has beautifully resolved oak, with a touch of chocolate and dark, roasted coffee aromas, but the freshness again is hallmark stuff, with that sour cherry and lemon acidity adding length and freshening the finish. 95/100. See all stockists onwine-searcher.com

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CASTELL’IN VILLA

xChianti Classico Riserva 2000
Lovely nose of swirling, smoky, tight, racy blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. Very svelte. Beautifully fresh palate, with terrifically pure and sweetly ripe fruit. Deliciously fine and balanced wine with lithe, refined tannins and spicy character. Just gorgeous. 93/100.

Chianti Classico Riserva 1985
Lovely old, maturing nose with touches of undergrowth and brown sugar, but still a freshness and herbal and cherry character. Lovely palate with that bif sour cherry and lemon zest freshness. This has lovely length and spicy warmth but never loses clarity and focus. Another terrific wine. 93/100.

Poggio della Rose IGT Toscana 2003
Old-vine Sangiovese aged in barrique. Distinctly different from the 2000 Chianti Classico, with more weight and glossy ripeness, and the palate. This has the freshness of the estate’s style, but there is a creamy liquorice and cedary twist of oak and svelte tannin. 91/100.

Santacroce 2003
50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. A slightly schisty, lean edge with charcoal but sweet blackcurrant fruit and a touch of cedar. 90/100.

Chianti Classico Riserva 1977
Lovely nose, with some sweet, rotting vegetation. And glorious blackcurrant and sweet, ripe cherry fruit on the palate. It has such sweetness and plump, glossy ripeness, but then the silky, plush tannins and decisive acidity push in, adding just an element of grip and freshness. 95/100.

Vin Santo 1999
Trebbiano and Malvasia and a touch of Sangiovese. Toasty nose with a load of marmalade and honey and bright lemony notes. The palate has full figgy richness, with a lovely background of coffee and chocoalate and really good tangerine and lemon acidity. Deliciously drinkable. 92/100.

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PODERI IL PALAZZINO

xChianti Classico Grosso Sanese 2005
Has a charry, smoky bacon fat nose, with ripe, rich fruit that still has that savoury, slightly schisty, mineral sense. There’s a lot of tannin here, and masses of spice but maybe the fruit is a little flattened here. Owner Alessandro Sderci (right) says that come good with time, but for now, 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Grosso Sanese 1991
Tiny hint of turpentine, and something herbal. There is sweetness on the palate, with a little bit of plum and cherry and pleasant fruit. Dies away quite quickly, and the fading quality, along with the slightly odd nose leaves a doubt in my mind over this just being past its best. 87/100.

Chianti Classico La Pieve 2005
Much deeper, bloodier, plump and sweet fruit. Lots of earthiness. The palate has a little more smooth, rich flavour and texture. There is bite and a leathery tannic grip, but the freshness pulls this through very nicely. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Argenina 2006
Aged in big vats for 14 months, there’s a touch of schisty dryness again, with dry vinous character but perhaps just lacking a little fruit. The palate has a lovely texture and deep, serious, sinewy quality. For me it again lacks a touch of flesh and plumpness that I think would lift it. It does have persistance and spicy length. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Stagi 2004 IGT
100% Colorino. Vinous, with some cherry fruit and a dry, slightly inky quality. On the palate that hint of sweet ripe fruit soon dries away, and the charry oak carries through. 87/100.

Bertinga 2005 IGT
60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Petit Verdot. Quite a lot of pepper and spice here, with fairly muted fruit. The bloody quality of the cabernet comes through nicely on the palate, with a fleshy, thick blackcurrant quality. The tannins and acidity are soft, and give this a certain spicy plushness good balance. 90/100.

La Casina Girasole 2006 IGT
Slightly sulphury nose, with some soft strawberry fruitiness and a touch of spice. Palate is fairly crisp and fresh, though lacking a little fruit. 86/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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BARONE RICASOLI

xAlbia Rosé 2007
This Sangiovese/Merlot blend is made as a rosé, and not as a ‘bleed off’ to concentrate a red wine. It has cherry and nicely buttery, ripe, smooth fruit. The palate has a certain weight with a touch of tannic grip and a full-bodied presence, though staying crisp and fresh. 87/100.

Torricella Chardonnay 2004
From magnum. There’s a hint of pineapple, tropical fruit and plenty of oatmeal and little crushed almond notes. The palate has a very fresh but ripe apple and pear fruit, with very clean lemon zest qualities and a long, cool finish with shimmering acidity. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Brolio Chianti Classico 2006
90% Sangiovese, 10% of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in barrique for 10 months, proportion of new oak dependent on quality of vintage. Schisty with lightly herbal and cherry fruit notes, and a touch of gaminess. The palate has a certain bittersweet quality, with a little of the rounded, thicker black fruit of the Cab and Merlot in evidence, but then the racy black cherry fruit and acidity and dry, quite ashy tannins add savoury grip and more Sangiovese personality. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico 2004
Ricasoli consider this to be finer than a Riserva – to be their Chateau ‘Grand Vin’. Very deep, concentrated colour. Massively rich and concentrated nose, with big, thick fruit and a certain solidity. The palate is richer and thicker too, with a great tension between the sweetness and ripeness of fruit and thick, savoury tannins. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico 2001
More fragrant wine, with little kirsch and spicy notes, and a touch of seeds and herbs, and a plum and black fruit character. The palate has a dryness and that ashy quality of the Sangiovese, with plenty of spice and plenty of liquoricy, dark tannins. This has an extra layer of complexity over the 2004, both on the nose and palate. Big, grippy and built for the long haul. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca Guicciarda 2005
Big, smoky, herbal, quite ripe black fruits with a velvety quality. Keen lemony fruit and acidity and the cherry quality pushes through. Long and warming, with spice and a hint of coffee in the finish. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Casalferro IGT Toscana 2004
A blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot aged in barrique for 18 months. Creamy, plush, very Merlot-dominated nose with plum and blackcurrant dark fruits. There is vanilla and obvious concentration, though the brightness and edge of the Sangiovese comes through strongly. There is svelte, plush, mouthfilling texture and depths of flavour, but the Sangiovese character and the mineral and schisty quality comes through, with that sour, mouth-puckering cherry and lemon acidity that makes this very Italian, and very Sangiovese. Long and powerfully concentrated. 93/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Casalferro IGT Toscana 2001
Much gamier nose, with some of the iron oxide and bloody character of older Sangiovese, with vinous cherry fruits, and a suggestion of raciness. On the palate there is a chocolaty richness that comes through, but the bold, fresh, cherryish fruit is keen and vital, and again that sour, fairly uncompromising acidity really lends savoury, food-friendly bite. Again concentrated and very powerful, but retains its freshness and Tuscan identity. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Brolio Vin Santo 2003
Maximum of around 10,000 half bottles per vintage, 100% Malvasia fermented in small barriques for three or four years. Tobacco, toffee and with obvious honey and some floral character, and all the sweet, enveloping marmalade sweetness. The palate it thick and unctuous, with powerful concentration and subtle layers of nuttiness and preserved lemon, before a kick of alcohol that will mellow over 10 years or more. Terrific structure and persistence. 16.5%ABV. 93/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Granello IGT Toscana 2006
A passito wine made from 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Traminer. Distinctive nose with some lychee and Nivea cream Traminer aromas, but also a herbal, grassy and asparagus note. On the palate there is a certain richness and plenty of sweetness, but it lacks a little punch and zip, perhaps a little low in acidity. Slightly cloying but very pleasurable. 87/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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COLLE LUNGO

Chianti Classico 2006
xSangiovese with a little Merlot. This cuvée is aged in French barriques, but with no new oak. It has quite a meaty, ripe, rich blackcurrant fruit with a very plush, modern sheen of vanilla. The palate has a racy, crisp-edged black fruit, with cherry skins and plum skins giving fruit and grip. The spice and charry oak comes through powerfully, in a fairly big, powerful wine with lots of tannins and spice, but relatively low acidity. Plush and commercial, this is ‘international’ Chianti of very good quality. 88/100.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
100% Sangiovese. 12 months in French oak. Real schisty minerality on the nose with smoke and charcoal, and a very deep-set black fruit. Powerful vanillin, even though barriques are not new. The palate has a modern gloss, with sweet blackcurrant and great fruit sweetness. The zip and fresh cherry acidity of the Sangiovese is there, but this is a big, plush solid style with the blackcurrant and oak pushing through. Very impressive, but again in a distinctly modern style. 89/100. 16 – 20 Euros locally.

Chianti Classico Riserva Campo Cerchi 2004
Single vineyard wine which is 100% Sangiovese aged in all new barriques for 18 months. Charry, spicy nose, with lots of high toast oak over quite ashy, mineral-tinged black cherry and berry fruit. The palate has quite a freshness about it, but the acidity and the oak dries it slightly. The wood tannins and quite grippy, grainy tannins add a lot of dark-hued, spicy and bittersweet edge. Impressive, but for me a touch over-oaked. 90/100. 25 – 30 Euros.

Chianti Classico Riserva Campo Cerchi 2000
Was in barrel when Lorenzo took over the estate, but he blended and bottled. The nose here is lovely, with a touch of game and of cedar, and a softened character of sweet black fruits. The palate has fine sweetness of fruit with an almost pastille-like quality, but then the bittersweet plum and plum skin quality adds lots of grip. The animal quality is there in the background, that might be a touch of Brettanomyces, but is sits nicely within this framework. 90/100.

Merlot 2006 IGT
14.5% alcohol, the third crop from young vines, but harvested at less than half a kilogramme of grapes per vine. It is aged in French oak that is all new, with just a little American oak. A little touch of liquorice and plenty of mint, quite chocolaty and charry. On the palate there is a nice bittersweet quality, with a savoury acidity and masses of spice. The fruit is quite solid and powerful, and it avoids being jammy, but at the same time it ends up a little overoaked and the char and spice overpowers the fruit in the finish. Has substance and weight, but 88/100. 16 – 20 Euros. UK Agent: Small availablitiy through Lay & Wheeler.

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CASTELLO VICCHIOMAGGIO

xChianti Classico Agostino Petri 2005
90% Sangiovese, 5% each of Canaioli and Cabernet Sauvignon. Spice and lightly smoky plum and ripe, dark cherry fruit. There’s an earthiness that comes through onto the palate too, but the spice and the sweet, fat fruit that has good acidity and lovely fine tannins. Beautiful with a piece of really good cured ham or prosciutto. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Chianti Classico Riserva La Prima 2004
From 50-year-old Sangiovese. Only around 7000 bottles. Deep, dense crimson colour. Very deep, sonorous nose with lovely ripeness and richness of fruit. Very full and rich, with lots of fat and blackcurrant sweetness, and deep spiciness. The texture is lovely, and the acidity is terrific along with the spicy tannins. Long and delicious. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com
Ripa delle More Toscana IGT 2004
Hill of the blackberries. 60 Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% merlot. Aged in 100% new oak, but lightly toasted and aged another year in bottle. A much richer, deeper aromatic profile, with thick, black fruits and a wrapping of smoky minerality. Very pure, almost black olive savouriness, with meaty, dark berry fruit. The acidity is really good again, and the plush tannins push through in a long finish. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello Vicchiomaggio FSM Toscana IGT 2004
FSM are the initials of John Matta’s father, Federico Secundo Matta. 3,000 bottles of pure Merlot harvested at 18 hl/ha, that spent 29 months in new French oak. Fairly understated nose, with elegant, almost Pomerol-like fruit that has plumpness of plum and chocolate, and nicely deep and sinuous bittersweet fruit. The palate also has a structured, svelte, deep and creamy, with solidity yet very good structural length and freshness. Terrific but expensive stuff. 94/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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CHIANTI CLASSICO & RISERVA

xMonsanto Chianti Classico 2006
Cedary and quite Bordeaux-like, with some gamy notes and good black fruit. The palate has a focused black fruit with plenty of spice and ripe, bold cherry acidity. Long and peppery in the finish. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castagnoli Chianti Classico 2006
Organic. Much more international style with an almost minty oak quality, very ripe fruit and a blueberry depth. There’s a slightly resinous quality too onto the palate, with rich berry flavours and lots of chocolate and spiciness in the finish. Should improve. 88/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Principe Corsini Le Corti Chianti Classico 2006
Attractively tobacco and spice-edged black fruit nose, with a touch of sweet, damp earth. Really nice freshness, with a crisp fruit quality, though it stays pretty simple, with a clean, savoury finish that may lack a touch of complexity, but is balanced and vital. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

I Fabbri Chianti Classico 2006
Bright, focused cherry fruit with a nice ripeness. Quite earthy and a touch gamy. Quite chunky on the palate, with a slightly rustic edge to the tannins and a gamy edge. Dries a little on the finish. 87/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Querciabella Chianti Classico 2006
Wonderfully, svelte, elegant seamless stuff with delicious smooth elegance and deliciously rounded sweet fruit. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

I’ll Colombaio di Cencio ‘I Maggi’ Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Lots of exotic Sandalwood and spice and a red berry fruit quality. A touch of green peppercorn. On the palate the spice overpowers slightly, the fruit quality not quite pushing through with enough authority, but a savoury, spicy wine. 88/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Casaloste Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Quite rich and earthy with a lovely glossy cherry fruit and lots of tobacco and cedar. -t has really brisk acidity on the palate, with poised, slightly bloody blackcurrant fruit. Long and delicious. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Monteraponi Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Smoky, burning incense nose. Quite neutral fruit, with some fresh, crisp quality. I’m warming to this, as the. Classy, pure correct wine that grows stealthily. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Castello di Bossi Berardo Chianti Classico 2004
15% Merlot which was in new French barriques. Some smoky, tobacco notes and a plush red and black berry fruit quality. The palate has a certain plushness too, with a soft ruffled velvet character, very sweet, ripe fruit and a deliciously warm finish. This lacks some Chianti Classico typicity and is undoubtedly more international in style. But quality is very high. 91/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Panzanello Chianti Classico 2006
Organically farmed. Nicely ripe and solid black fruit, with a deep-seated fruity ripeness. A Fresh palate with a modern, svelte style 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Le Fonti Chianti Classico Riserva 2006
Much more mineral and fresh with a background meatiness and earth. The palate has good acidity too, and though a lot of smoky oak comes through. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

San Felice I’ll Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
Lead pencil and slightly dusty black fruit, with a certain crunch on the palate. Very nice length and a freshness. 90/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Poggio Piano Chianti Classico La Tradizione 2005
100% Sangiovese, with some chocolate and charry, espresso notes, and a little floral and cherry lift. There’s an earthiness too, and a delicious volume and sweetness, but also structural tannins and acidity. 92/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Ormanni Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Really ripe fruit on the nose, with massive mouth-filling sweetness, nice ripe tannins. Very smooth and ripe. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

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