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Chianti Classico tasting notes

text and photographs © 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on The Wines of Chianti Classico.


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

Castello 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

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

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

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

UK Agent: Coe Vintners and Alexander wines.

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