14 Classic Chianti You Cannot Miss

Doctor Wine Vinitaly
Among all the events I attended during Vinitaly, one that I really enjoyed is “Chianti Classico and its Declinations” at the Doctor Wine stand, where you can find Daniele Cernilli during the wine fair in Verona.
I already visited his stand two years ago and I still remember the happiness in my eyes when I saw all those Enomatic service systems lined up with a carefully curated selection of 99 fine wines.
Enomatic Vinitaly Wine Tasting
For a winelover, such a concentration of high-end wines as with The Doctor Wine‘s selection is extremely rare to find. Vinitaly is great for this reason and Doctor Wine’s stand represents a compressed and guided Vinitaly experience.

When we entered the room, 14 glasses were already filled with Chianti Classico: the view itself is always breathtaking. As in every tasting event at Vinitaly, each seat had a bottle of water with an additional glass and some crackers.
Wine Glasses Table Chianti
Cernilli provided a map of the Chianti classico region to every couple of wine tasters to help follow his journey across this re-launched tuscan wine. A brief introduction refreshed the history of this region: outside of Italy, Chianti is often associated with salumi and fiasco, a wide-bottomed bottle encased in a straw basket.
Fiasco Chianti
This region suffered a decline in quality in the past, but is now back to its past glory and even beyond, reaching peaks of very fine quality.

Chianti Classico is a separate Italian DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the most restrictive wine appellation of origin in the Italian wine regulation) since 1996. Before 1996, it used to be included as a sub-zone of Chianti DOCG.
It is limited to the traditional geographic area of Chianti, which includes 9 towns spread between the provinces of Siena and Florence (read the complete list of the original communes) . This region is much smaller than the entire Chianti region, though it’s 3 times bigger than the Barolo region and the Brunello region.

It’s now mandatory that the blend includes at least 80% Sangiovese grapes and white grapes are not allowed anymore (since 2006), contributing to the increase in quality. The selection of the other red grapes depends on vintners’ preferences: the most common ones are the local varieties Canaiolo, Colorino as well as international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Listening to Cernilli is an amazing experience that I advise any Italian speaking winelover to enjoy. He blends information, his personal experience and tasting notes as perfectly as a talented winemaker blends different grapes to make a great wine.

Here is the list of the 14 wines we tasted:

# Winery Wine Blend
1 LANCIOLA Chianti Classico Le Masse di Greve DOCG 2012 95% sangiovese, 5% other red grapes
2 BIBBIANO Chianti Classico Riserva Montornello DOCG 2012 100% sangiovese
3 TENUTA DI CAPRAIA Chianti Classico Tenuta di Capraia DOCG 2011 100% sangiovese
4 FELSINA Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia DOCG 2011 100% sangiovese
5 LE FONTI Chianti Classico Riserva Le Fonti DOCG 2011 90% sangiovese, 6% merlot, 4% cabernet sauvignon
6 TOLAINI Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2011 100% sangiovese
7 CASTELLO VICCHIOMAGGIO Chianti Classico Gran Selezione La Prima DOCG 2011 90% sangiovese, 10% merlot
8 ROCCA DELLE MACIE Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Riserva di Fizzano DOCG 2011 95% sangiovese, 5% merlot
9 CORTE DI VALLE Chianti Classico Corte di Valle DOCG 2010 100% sangiovese
10 CARPINETO Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 at least 80% sangiovese, up to 20% canaiolo and other red grapes
11 TENUTA DI ARCENO Chianti Classico Riserva Strada al Sasso DOCG 2010 100% sangiovese
12 ORMANNI Chianti Classico Riserva Borro del Diavolo DOCG 2010 100% sangiovese
13 LAMOLE DI LAMOLE Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto di Campolungo DOCG 2010 95% sangiovese, 5% cabernet sauvignon
14 VIGNOLE Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Crespine DOCG 2009 90% sangiovese, 10% cabernet
Find the tasting notes here.

The guiding theme of the tasting was the comparison between the fruity and smooth Chianti from Florence and the more tannic and “strong” Chanti from Siena. Violet versus damp earth aroma. Young and fresh versus ageing potential. The flow of the tasting was immediately clear: the selection of the wines brought us to switch three times between the two different characterizations of this region: it was a perfect way to fully understand them, so geographically close but different in the glass.
As Cernilli pointed out, you would expect them to be two different DOCGs.

I really had the feeling he could have been speaking about this wine region for days. This one-hour tasting followed through very smoothly and enriched us with the main differentiation in this region and several tips for wineries to visit in the next months.