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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.


Albia 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK Agent: Enotria.

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