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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.


Chianti Classico 2006
Sangiovese 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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