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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > ITALY: Chianti

Winner Details

Italy: Chianti

2016 Gold: 1 Silver: 6 Bronze: 5 Commended: 5
2015 Gold: 3 Silver: 7 Bronze: 2 Commended: 4

Chianti is in an odd place at the moment. On one hand, it’s probably the only Italian wine style that your average man in the street could recognise, on the other, a growing number of restaurants no longer see it as a must-stock. It made its name as a source of cheap, not always good, glugging wines, yet increasingly in this competition we see smart, high-quality wines in a variety of styles – and at top-end prices.

There were a lot of good medal winners here this year (albeit fewer Golds and Silvers than in 2015), but only two or three of them could realistically make it on to a list under £40. That said, there was an appreciation of the new(ish) gran selezione classification, which genuinely seemed to represent a step up in quality.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Chianti is a region where there is still value to be found, even at the top end.’ James Hocking, The Vineyard Group

‘In the past there’s been a lot of volatility and rusticity in the Chianti Classicos, but there were some pristine examples today and very smart winemaking – lovely wines.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘I was looking for fruit, wild flowers and youth with classicity and length.’ Mauro Pirovano, New Street Grill

‘People don’t ask for Chianti – it is a hand sell. It has gone out of fashion and I don’t know why. People need to reconnect with it, especially the younger generation. Older people know it but had a bad experience, so we need a new [audience].’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

“The Gran Selezione meant something.” Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

“Great quality, very reflective of where they come from. This flight exceeded my expectations.” Luca Campi, Plateau Restaurant

Award winners

Found 17 wines

Italy: Chianti

Ruffino, Riserva Ducale Oro, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2011, Tuscany , Italy

Gold medal winner

'Relaxed, honest, sexy and nutty - a very sexy modern style with good depth and potential too,' said team leader Simon Woods – no wonder it made Gold! Chantal Serrano of The Cinnamon Club found 'ripe, velvety fruit, red cherries' on a 'long, balanced, intense yet fresh' palate, while Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains said: 'Bready, toasty notes, harmonious with moderate tannins and ripe, perfumed cassis fruit.'

£24.23 Matthew Clark

Castello di Bossi, Chianti Classico, 2013, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'The nose shows ageing power, with leather, tobacco, mushroom and spice,' began The Sign of the Don's Carlos Ferreira, continuing: 'More leather and tobacco on the palate, with tomato and balsamic hints. Very complex.'

£14.76 Wine Traders

Rocca di Castagnoli, Poggio a Frati, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'Spicy character with nicely worked wood and good balance in the mouth, though the tannin is a little prominent,' said Mauro Pirovano of New Street Grill, with team leader Andrea Briccarello highlighting its 'violets and plums, good texture with rich cherry compote notes on the finish'.

£13.38 Eurowines

Rocca di Castagnoli, Stielle, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2011, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'Softly fruity fragrance, smooth, elegant and ready on the palate with a persistent and pleasant finish,' said Mauro Pirovano of New Street Grill. 'Very rich, intense, deep and spicy, with lots of plum and good length,' added team leader Andrea Briccarello.

£18.87 Eurowines

Castello Vicchiomaggio, Vigna La Prima, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'A very sexy, modern style of gran selezione,' said team leader Simon Woods, continuing: 'This is relaxed and honest, fleshy and nutty, with creamy berry and plum fruits, and further potential, too.' Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains was struck by its 'proper, ripe fruit' aromas, followed by 'decent tannin weight, good balance and cassis-plum fruit, with a hint of rillette pork fat'.

£30.00 Hallgarten & Novum Wines , Matthew Clark

Fontodi, Chianti Classico, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'Lovely, juicy, ripe fruit with concentration, multi-layered and long,' began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Rudina Arapi of Galvin at Windows adding: 'Fermentation aromas and spicy fruit, great wine.'

£13.65 Liberty Wines

Castellare di Castellina, Chianti Classico, 2014, Tuscany , Italy

Silver medal winner

'Ripe and evolved but clean, with cherry aromas and flavours, spice notes and a touch of vanilla on the finish,' said James Hocking of The Vineyard Group. 'Red fruit notes, lively and crisp, with potential to age,' added Rudina Arapi of Galvin at Windows.

£12.56 Bibendum Wine

Ruffino, Chianti, 2015, Tuscany , Italy

Bronze medal winner

James Hocking of The Vineyard Group enjoyed its 'firm, full-bodied style, loaded with fresh fruit', finding it 'great length, great value'. 'Beautiful, everything well balanced,' added Plateau Restaurant's Luca Campi.

£8.42 Matthew Clark

Castello di Querceto, Chianti Classico, 2014, Tuscany , Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Great farmyardy and leather aromas to the fore, with smooth leather and tobacco on the palate, good tannins, vegetal hints and a balanced finish,' said Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don. 'More traditional style with a lovely, savoury herbal streak,' added team leader Annette Scarfe MW.

£10.35 Barwell & Jones

Cecchi, Riserva di Famiglia, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2013, Tuscany , Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Quite a shy nose, but gamey complexity on a closed palate with notes of breadcrumbs, lovely balance of flavour with low acidity,' said Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains, while Scott Levy of Smith & Wollensky London found 'soft, round, plummy fruit, elegance and a good finish'.

£13.68 Enotria&Coe

Frescobaldi, Nipozzano, Chianti Rufina Riserva, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Big, fun, ripe, punchy and juicy, with a powerful, grippy finish,' said team leader Simon Woods of this wine with its deep, black cherry and blackberry jam nose, and pleasing palate with soft tannins.

£14.98 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Capraia, Chianti Classico, 2014, Tuscany , Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Evolved, almost resinous nose, with baked cherry aromas. Firm acidity and low tannin, this is great value,' said James Hocking of The Vineyard Group, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW found a 'juicy core of red fruit with a vibrant freshness'.

£10.00 Eurowines

Badia di Morrona , I Sodi dei Paretaio, Chianti, 2014, Tuscany , Italy

Commended medal winner

£7.18 Eurowines

Cecchi, Villa Cerna, Chianti Classico, 2013, Tuscany , Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.39 Enotria&Coe

Castello di Querceto, I Colombi, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Commended medal winner

Ruffino, Riserva Ducale, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2012, Tuscany , Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.87 Matthew Clark

Rocca di Castagnoli, Chianti Classico, 2014, Tuscany , Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.97 Eurowines