We use cookies to operate this website and to improve its usability. Full details of what cookies are, why we use them and how you can manage them can be found by reading our Privacy & Cookies pages. Please note that by using this site you are consenting to the use of cookies.

Accept
Reject
Home Winners > Winners 2019 > ITALY: Chianti

Winner Details

Italy: Chianti

2019 GOLD: 5      SILVER: 8      BRONZE: 8      COMMENDED: 7
2018 GOLD: 7      SILVER: 5      BRONZE: 2      COMMENDED: 7

One of the undoubted stars of last year, Chianti put in a slightly more subdued performance this year, though five Golds is still above average.

This seems to be a category in something of a stylistic transition, and that brought mixed responses from our tasters. Some liked the extra fruit (and oak in the case of the Gran Selezione wines), others found them overdone and expensive.

Some liked the tougher, mid-weight acid bombs, others found them mean and hard going. In this category, you really can find whatever you want at whatever price you want it, though it’s getting tougher to find much under a tenner. Stop us if you’ve heard this before.

Two points of further interest: no Chiantis (as opposed to Classicos) picked up Gold this year, and well done to Vicchiomaggio and San Felice, both of whom picked up top spots for the second year on the trot.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Some of the best examples showed this dark cherry, gravelly, minerally character and lovely precision. With so much excitement around Piemonte, Chianti has been slightly forgotten about, which is a shame, as with a bit of age they can be beautiful.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘Nobody ever asks me for it. I have one, we never sell it. I don’t know why. It’s not the popular wine it used to be.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘Chianti’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s quite a harsh, austere style with a lot of tannin and dried fruit. But it has so much depth and potential when you match it with food. It’s adaptable.’ Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House

‘Chianti Classico should be joyous with lovely red fruits – easy drinking. These were tough, green, volatile. Deeply disappointing.’ Victoria Sharples, St John Wines

‘These [richer, oakier] kinds of Chianti can be a bit overdone. I find them unbalanced. I think Chianti Classico is much better. Gran Seleziones are good wines, but for this price I’d go for Bordeaux, Brunello, or Nebbiolo.’ Janusz Sasiadek, Bottles & Battles

‘If you’re looking for a wine that’s fuller in body, and more expressive, then Gran Selezione suits you, but I think the majority of people are looking for normal Chianti, with medium body.’ Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant

‘Gran Selezione has a style already, which is good. But I can’t see where in the UK on-trade these fit. You’re getting up to £60, and there are more interesting wines from Tuscany at the same price point.’ Andres Ituarte, team leader

 

Award winners

Found 28 wines

Italy: Chianti

Castello Vicchiomaggio, Agostino Petri, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Gold medal winner

This ‘rich and intense’ Chianti Classico Riserva, according to Paola Giraldo of Wiltons, was clearly a candidate for Gold, with team leader Laura Rhys MS describing it as ‘perfumed and floral’, with ‘black cherries and cherry stone notes, and good tannic structure’, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group found it ‘very elegant, with some liquorice and woody notes’. An ‘amazingly silky texture, with elegant tannins and dark fruit flavours’ made this a good accompaniment for ‘winter dishes’, thought team leader Lionel Periner.

£17.00 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

San Felice, Il Grigio, Chianti Classico Riserva 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Gold medal winner

As this earned itself a well-deserved Gold, Paola Giraldo of Wiltons had praise for its ‘elegant nose and delicate aromas, leading to intense spices and ripe fruits on the palate, with great length’, while James Fryer of Woodhead 17 appreciated notes of ‘coffee, red earth and leather, along with dried black fruits and grippy tannins’. Further noting ‘dense dark berry fruits, as well as chocolate and liquorice’, team leader Nigel Lister added: ‘Pappardelle with wild boar ragu, anyone?’

£13.10 Boutinot

San Felice, Poggio Rosso, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Gold medal winner

For Valentin Radosav of Gymkhana Restaurant, this Gold-worthy Gran Selezione was ‘ripe and expressive, with grippy tannins, cherries, sweet cardamom spice and vanilla’. Team leader Andres Ituarte thought it ‘bright, pretty and elegant, as well as mineral and earthy, with oaky, spicy notes’, while Raphael Thierry of Street XO appreciated its ‘good fruit concentration, with redcurrants and strawberries, as well as well-integrated oak, with tobacco, mocha and cinnamon, and a long, fresh finish’.

£29.15 Boutinot

Villa Cerna, Primocolle, Chianti Classico 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Gold medal winner

Amid generous praise from our judges, this was awarded not only a Gold medal but a Food Match award, too, with team leader Martin Lam approving of its ‘proper Chianti profile, with pencil shavings and a cherry-fruit nose, more sour cherry on the palate, and a savoury finish’. Raphael Thierry of Street XO, meanwhile, was impressed by its ‘tannic structure balanced by good freshness, and some redcurrant, mocha and tobacco notes’.

£9.22 Vinexus Ltd

Castellare, Il Poggiale, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Gold medal winner

As this took its place on the Gold podium, The Royal Automobile Club’s Michael Fiducia expressed appreciation of its ‘very concentrated morello cherries and subtle spices, with a smooth, yet softly structured palate that will age well’, while James Fryer of Woodhead 17 enjoyed notes of ‘sap and varnish, with black fruits and milk chocolate, too’. Finding it ‘rich and balanced’, Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse thought it would be ideal to serve alongside ‘liver and bacon with sautéed apples’.

£25.06 Bibendum

Tenuta di Capraia, Effe 55, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Very ripe dark and red cherry fruit with violet, clove and mocha aromatics,’ said team leader Jan Konetzki, while Claire Love of Loves Consultancy thought it had ‘great concentration of sour cherry with herbal notes and good texture’.

£25.65 Eurowines

Castello Vicchiomaggio, La Prima, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘This is a great example of the 2015 vintage,’ said Alan Bednarski of Texture, adding: ‘Along with the good, ripe, stewed red cherry and strawberry fruit, there are notes of cherry in chocolate and ripe red currants with tarry balsamic notes; plus great aromatics with orange zest, violet and rose.’

£33.15 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Castello Vicchiomaggio, Vicchiomaggio Vegan 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Nice forest fruits, with dark chocolate, black pepper and tobacco,’ said Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection, adding: ‘It’s juicy, with sweet tannins and fine use of oak, plus there’s good balance and length.’

£15.70 Castello Vicchiomaggio

Prunatelli, Chianti Rufina 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

This Chianti had much to commend it, with team leader Jan Konetzki finding ‘barnyard notes with game and leather’ among the ‘red and black cherry fruit’. He described the palate as ‘dry and grippy with good length’ and thought ‘osso bucco would be a good match’.

£8.15 Boutinot

Uggiano, Fagiano, Chianti Riserva 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Nice, elegant nose,’ said Paola Giraldo of Wiltons, adding: ‘It’s spiced, with red plum flavours; there’s fairly high tannins, but it’s elegant, with nice, long length. This would be really good with steak.’

£9.50 Boutinot

Villa Saletta, Chianti 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

This aromatic wine brought notes of ‘clove, cinnamon, vanilla and honeycomb’ to the nose of team leader Jan Konetzki, while for Claire Love of Loves Consultancy there was ‘concentrated cherry note’ and ‘a morello cherry palate with a thyme and sage finish’.

£13.73 Fattoria Villa Saletta Società Agricola srl

Castellare, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘This has a lifted, perfumed nose of cherry pie and a nicely mineral, crunchy palate,’ said Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club. ‘It’s rich, with a lot character,’ added Paola Giraldo of Wiltons.

£21.18 Bibendum

Castellare, Chianti Classico 2017, Tuscany, Italy

Silver medal winner

For Raphael Thierry of Street XO this wine brought ‘an aromatic umami note of stewed tomato peel; there are juicy tannins and a long refreshing finish, where the fruit is peppered with complex notes of cinnamon and mocha’.

£15.84 Bibendum

Uggiano, Prestige, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘A lovely nose,’ said Paola Giraldo of Wiltons, ‘there’s rich plums, spice with dried herbs and lots of character.’

£8.85 Boutinot

Grati, Poggio Galiga, Chianti 2017, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

For Claire Love of Loves Consultancy this brought hints of ‘cherries and tea leaves to the nose’, and had a ‘fresh, creamy, juicy character with gentle fruit’.

£6.30 Majestic Commercial

Brancaia, Chianti Classico Riserva 2013, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Very animal aromatics,’ thought The Royal Automobile Club’s Michael Fiducia, ‘and the smell of old leather armchairs’. ‘It’s certainly rich, with lots of character,’ added Paola Giraldo of Wiltons.

£24.58 Enotria&Coe

Castello di Gabbiano, Chianti Classico Riserva 2013, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘This could work well served by the glass,’ thought Paola Giraldo of Wiltons, adding: ‘It’s aromatic, with ripe red fruit and sour cherry, rich tannins and notes of liquorice.’

£8.45 Molson Coors, Treasury Wine Estates

Ruffino, Chianti 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

For Texture’s Alan Bednarski ‘this medium-bodied wine has good black cherry fruit with fresh floral notes and good concentration’.

£9.16 Matthew Clark

Ruffino, Santedame Estate, Chianti Classico 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Jan Konetzki found this wine to have ‘fresh and very ripe dark cherry fruit with a dry, oak-spiced, herbaceous finish and good acidity’.

£15.44 Matthew Clark

Ruffino, Riserva Ducale, Chianti Classico Riserva 2014, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘This is well balanced and earthy, cooked red fruits, plum, chocolate and spice and leather; plus, there’s smooth tannins and a decent finish.’

£15.70 Matthew Clark

Villa Rosa, Ribaldoni, Chianti Classico 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Nicely aromatic, this Chianti brought ‘notes of violets, cinnamon, clove and dark chocolate’ to team leader Jan Konetzki, with a ‘good dry finish’.

£9.99 Vinexus Ltd

Prunatelli, Chianti 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£6.95 Boutinot

La Sala, Il Torriano 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£26.78 La Sala

Ruffino, Il Leo, Chianti Superiore 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£12.00 Matthew Clark

Ruffino, Riserva Ducale, Oro, Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione 2014, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£25.26 Matthew Clark

Nipozzano, Chianti Rúfina Riserva, Frescobaldi 2015, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

Villa Cerna, Chianti Classico Riserva 2014, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.58 Vinexus Ltd

Fèlsina, Rancia 2016, Tuscany, Italy

Commended medal winner

£31.27 Liberty Wines

 

Subscribe to the SWA newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and keep up to date with the latest Sommelier Wine Awards news.