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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.


Merrigio 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

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

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
The herd at Fontodi provides a constant supply of one of organic farming's basic essentials

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

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

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

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

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

UK Agent: Liberty Wines.

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