The newly released wines of Chianti Classico (2018s)

Each year the Consorzio puts on terrific event at the (former) Leopalda Train Station. This is a large building, lacking in any form of natural light, but making up for it by keeping the temperature inside relatively conducive to evaluating wine; that it’s in February doesn’t hurt, either.

The Press side of the event

 

The wines at this tasting spanned several categories – not all producers release their wines at the same time. For instance, while some were showing the 2018 Chianti Classico wines, others won’t show those until next year, or later. 2016 Riserva, 2017 Gran Selezione, and lots of variations at this tasting. A rather comprehensive event.

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I’ve written previously on how the event is organized, etc., so I’ll take this time to describe in detail the wines tasted, with my usual categories of:

  • very highly recommended, highly recommended, recommended, and not rated/just not interesting

 

Chianti Classico Collection 2020
LOTS of wines over two long days

This is a long report, and it’s not made any easier given that I don’t use points. Remember, there is NO order within the categories, it’s random.

 

Very Highly Recommended

sadly, none this go around…

 

 

Highly Recommended

 

2018 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico

med ruby, bright, clear. Herbal, woodsy nose; pretty, and with good soil character. Med(-) body that appears to have good+ structure, freshness, and length already. This is tight and coiled, but also quite promising – for traditionalists. highly recommended

2018 Casa Emma Chianti Classico

Bright ruby/bricked red, clear. Woods, fruit and soil driven nose with character of place, and variety. Medium/med+ body, with lovely tension, depth, and breadth; an instant winner in the mouth. Has already developed an impressive length. I’m in lovely with this, and can’t wait to seek it out here in Italia, and also for my cellar in Colorado. Drink 2021-2039+ highly recommended+

2018 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico

Translucent britk red, bright and clear. Exciting, soil and red-fruit driven nose; lightly closed, today, but a great sense of place, and character already. Medium-bodied, with excellent tension, structure, and purity. This is a case/muti-case purchase candidate. Drink 2021-2040. highly recommended+

2018 Riecine Chianti Classico

A classic beauty, with a lovely med/med+ mid palate. Such elegance, such length. Truly a special and breathtaking property, growing in an organic way (with NO shortage of flavor, etc.). Stunning. Bravo! highly recommended

2018 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico

Medium brick red, clear. Soil-driven, red fruits, great sense of place and grape. Medium-bodied, fresh, balanced, and exciting on the palate. Shows structure, and great character. Drink 2021-2040 highly recommended+

2018 Cerasi Chianti Classico Concadoro

** not listed as ‘Cerasi’ on today’s tasting card; may well be the same wine. I don’t recall ever tasting these wines before. ** Edit: label confirms is same.

Bright, translucent. Pretty, soil and red-fruit nose; already I’m interested. Tension, character, and good structure. A touch of cherry cough drop in this early moment, but clearly this is a wine I like and would purchase, if available. Drink 2022-2037. highly recommended

2018 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico

This is already very exciting. Red fruited, with a medium/med + body. Lots of depth, tension, breadth – you name it, there’s a hundred+ reasons I’m drawn to this wine. Buy a case, or more from your favorite retailer early, this will sell out quickly. Drink 2021-2045+. highly recommended+

2018 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico

Med. brick red, clear, and bright. Instant appeal on the nose, but it’s also holding something back just now. Very much in the Felsina mold, this is easily highly recommended for those that already know the label, and to those that are considering a widely-available, traditional wine with good+ character. Not so much exciting for me today, but I could be singing a different tune in 4-10 years. I’m a fan.

2018 Podere La Cappella Chianti Classico

A classic beauty, with a lovely med/med+ mid palate. Such elegance, such length. Truly a special and breathtaking property, growing in an organic way (with NO shortage of flavor, etc.). Stunning; drink 2021-2040+. Bravo! One of the finest Classico wines tasted today. highly recommended

2018 I Fabbri Chianti Classico Lamole

Medium brick red, bright. Interesting/appealing nose of soil, red fruits, and citrus. Medium-bodied, good+ tension, good+ length. I’m not normally such a fan of this label, but am in this vintage. Bravo! highly recommended

2018 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

Med+ brick red, clear. The aromas are mostly hiding, today, but the medium-bodied, red-fruited palate is absolutely in my wheelhouse. A kiss of sweet/roundness in the middle palate, with plenty of fresh acidity, citrus, and depth/length to keep this very interesting. A pure joy, bravo, Paolo! Drink 2021-2040+. highly recommended+

2018 Le Filigare Chianti Classico

Classic brick red color, bright and clear. The nose runs the course, with citrus, watermelon, cherry, sage, and mixed floral notes. Medium-bodied, exciting, tension-driven palate, with a long, classic finish. I’m so happy to have tasted this; traditionalists, rejoice. Drink 2022-2039. highly recommended+

2018 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico

Soil, cedar, red fruits; good typicity, interesting aromas. Med/med+ palate, with well-judged structure, depth, etc. The finish is already pretty long, and this shows the bones to age favorably. Drink 2023-2040+ highly recommended

2018 Tolaini Chianti Classico Vallenuova

Medium-bodied, high acidity, classic aromas, and flavors. Admirable structure, purity. I like this, and rather look forward to revisiting in 3-5 years, and the next decade+ after that. Bravo! highly recommended+

2018 Casa Sola Chianti Classico

Classic color, bright. Aromas of pine tree, mushroom, Tuscan dust, amaretto, sage. Juicy, medium/med+ frame, with gushing acidity, and lovely structure. This should be in a great place with just another year or two of rest. Drink 2022-2040. highly recommended+

2017 Fontodi Chianti Classico

Darker brick red, with some reduced notes, soil, and loads of freshly turned earth. Love the tension, juicy middle, and purity. Very good, and better in the short/middle term. Didn’t expect to like this as much as I do in this vintage. Bravo! Drink 2022-2034. highly recommended+

2017 Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico

Very good, with everything I’m looking for in young, off-vintage Chianti Classico. Wow, great finish; plumps up in the middle, finishes strong, full. Drink 2020-2031. highly recommended+

2017 Tenuta Lilliano Chianti Classico

Soil-driven, herb, and forest berry nose, with flavors largely following. Impressive mid-palate, and final. This is one to look for, very good. highly recommended+

2016 Podere il Palazzino Chianti Classico Argenina

Bright, exciting, round, layered, focused; excellent length, flavors. Really like this. Want a case or more. Ideal every day Chianti Classico. A touch of mint on the end makes it even more interesting. Bravo, Edoardo. Drink 2020-2035. highly recommended+

2014 Castello Di Lamole Chianti Classico le Stinche

Round, spicy, layered, deep, gorgeous, elegant, long. The full package. Love it. Drink now – 2028. highly recommended+

 

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The day before the nationwide quarantine, which is a 99% lock-down on nearly all outdoor activity, something in my mind told me to raid my cellar in Roero, that I might need some good friends to keep me company for an unknown period of time. I think I grabbed enough, we’ll see.

 

 

Recommended

 

2018 Bibbiano Chianti Classico

med red brick, bright, clear. Slightly reduced, herbal, soil-driven nose. Med/med+ body, with good acidity, but slightly off-center on balance – today, this is obviously very young. Shows good length, depth, though nothing exciting just now. Revisit in a year. (will likely be recommended, or highly recommended knowing this addresses commitment to quality)

2018 Monteraponi Chianti Classico

Aromas are not so forthcoming at this early stage. The palate enters round, a bit muddled. The finish shows good/good+ length, and there’s decent structure, but some EtOH really takes away. To revisit. (will likely be recommended, or highly recommended knowing this addresses commitment to quality)

2018 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico

Medium ruby>brick red. Nose showing oak, and ripe red fruits, mostly. This is tight, with lots of unresolved oak just now. However, shows really good structure, and the potential to improve. Probably best to let this rest 2-4 years if today’s bottle is representative. recommended+

2018 Carpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico Dofana

(** not rated on this day, but I feel ultimately it’ll be in the recommended category **)
Darker, slightly dull brick red color. Cheeky nose: lots of oak at first, but with some swirling, a good balance of soil, and ripe-ish red fruits, too. Medium-bodied, lightly sweet aromas of red cherry, and some vanilla. The sense of place, and variety struggles today, but may resolve in time. Something to revisit. Drink 2022-2033.

2018 Carpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico Montaperto

Medium brick red, bright. The nose is much more to my preference than the Dofana. That said, there’ a bit too much oak/roundness on the palate that shows mediocre structure. Maybe not a representative bottle, but if it is, this is an easy pass for me. Worth revisiting, though. Drink 2022-2033.

2018 Azienda Agricola Montesecondo Chianti Classico

Great typicity, a wine for traditionalists. While this may show a bit lean now, I think this is going to add weight in time. drink 2024-2039. Medium-bodied, good+ length. A wine with soul. recommended+

2018 Oliviera Chianti Classico

Somewhat candied nose of red/dark red fruits. Herbal, floral, forest, soil, and some citrus on the nose, and medium-bodied palate. A good+ example, and while not firmly in my wheelhouse, I’d not pass on a glass if offered. Drink 2020-2035. recommended+

2018 Ottomani Chianti Classico

Darker brick red, clear. Aromas are soil and forest driven. Red fruits, good+ freshness, structure, and length. Not sure I’ve tried this before. That said, I’d be happy to have this in the future. Classic, with just enough breadth, and depth. Bravo! recommended+, with upside noted.

2018 Azienda Agricola Panzanello Chianti Classico

It’s only 1pm here in Florence (in the middle of winter), and yet recent temps have this otherwise very cool building showing at a greatly higher than normal level – thus this wine is showing some more EtOH than others might encounter. That said, the aromas/flavors show decent, average typicity, but I’m wondering if the acids (if at a more ideal temperature) might let this show more/better character? Terrible review, I know, but the best I can do today. To revisit.

2018 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Famiglia Zingarelli

A nice surprise. A good/good+ bistro wine, with good tension, plenty of (red) fruit, and a good+ finish. A great value in this vintage, with quality that will surprise lots of snobs out there (wink, wink). Drink 2020-2032+recommended+

2018 Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico

Fresh, structured, and shows promise. I think this is typically value-priced, and some might dismiss the wine based on that alone – they would be wrong. A very safe play (in this vintage) if seen on a restaurant wine list. It’s not hauntingly good, but it’s not mediocre, either. recommended+

2018 Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico

Mountain herbs, red fruits, a swath of vanilla. Easy drinking, round, but also well-lifted. Nothing wrong here, even if it’s on the simple side for my palate. recommended+

2018 Ca’ Di Pesa Chianti Classico

Brilliant brick red/garnet, clear, bright. Initial aromas are sous bois, mushroom, forest, soil, and with some swirling, raspberry, citrus. The palate is really traditional, with vibrant, fresh acidity, and a med(-)/med body. The length is curtailed by its youth at the moment. Very nice wine, but more for the traditionalist than the modernist. Drink 2022-2036. recommended+, with upside quite possible in time.

2018 Castello di Selvole Chianti Classico

Classic brick red, clear, bright, with significant watery edge. Initial aromas combine some high-toned red berry, soil, and a touch of wood. Some pine, and citrus add considerable interest. Highly traditional in the mouth, with searing acids, a traditional frame, and classic lines. I really like this, which is to say those looking for a mouthful of fruit and creamy oak will want to stay away. A joy, but will require some years before it enters its preferred plateau. Drink 2024-2039. recommended+, with upside noted. (** this is a barrel sample **)

2018 Fattoria San Michele a Torri Chianti Classico Tenuta La Gabbiola

Pale brick red, clear. Initial aromas are quite closed this morning, even with some additional swirling. The palate is lean, tense, and coiled. The red fruits are not revealing much, and the acidity is dominating; moderate finish in this moment. I like it, but this should be revisited in 3 years or so. Drink 2023-2033. recommended

2018 La Castellina Chianti Classico Cosimo Bojola

Pale/Classic brick red, clear. Initial aromas somewhat closed-off; some wood, soil. Searing acidity, and moderate(-) red fruits; decidedly AFWE frame. Moderate finish, complexity just now; best to revisit in 3-5 years. HOLD. recommended

2018 Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico Retromarcia

Classic brick red, clear, and bright. Traditional aromas, flavors, but very much in a traditional build. Excellent, but will need time; structured, quite pure, and should prove a great partner to a wide variety of foods. recommended+, with upside noted. Modernists, avoid. HOLD.

2018 Monterotondo di Basagni Saverio Chianti Classico Vaggiolata

Darker brick red, initial aromas pretty limited to oak just now. Classic build/body, good+ typicity of flavors; high acidity, with lurking, deep well of red fruits. I like this, better in 2-4 years, to be sure. Drink 2023-2035. recommended+, with upside noted.

2018 Podere Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico

High-toned red berry fruits. Medium, round, and juicy body. This isn’t appealing to me, as I find the build to be a bit blowsy; too easy to enjoy, and one for early consumption. Not to my palate, but most should like this for its gentle, round nature. Drink 2021-2033; I like it for the style, but would not seek it out. recommended

2018 Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico

Ripe red berry fruits, some soil, a little oak, and leather on the nose. High-ish acids, good+ build, if a little loose in the mid-palate just now. Give this a few years of rest to better integrate, then drink for another decade+. Solid build, and purity. recommended+, with upside noted.

2018 Castello di Monterinaldi Chianti Classico

Darker brick red. Supple, juicy red fruits, with gushing acidity. Stern tannins just now, so give this 3-5 years to begin to see its really colors. For classicists, not modernists. Nice+. recommended+, drink 2024-2039.

2017 Fattoria di Montecchio Chianti Classico

Medium, bright brick red, with aromas, and flavors that are already quite approachable, appealing. Generous red fruits, fresh acids, firm, fine tannins. This is a winner, but should see an hour of air if consuming any time soon. Drink 2022-2033. recommended+, with upside noted. Really solid for the vintage.

2017 Fattoria Poggiopiano Chianti Classico

Approachable on the nose, a bit too tannic and acidic on the medium-bodied, juicy palate. Give this a year or two to better come together. Love the purity, build, and focus. Very good. recommended+

2017 I Sodi Chianti Classico

Darker brick red, with aromas of cinnamon stick, cherry, soil, dust. Loads of fresh acids; juicy, deep. Flavors are consistent with the nose, though I find the structure nodding toward the short/mid term for sure. Good effort, but not something I’d look for. Drink 2020-2026. recommended

2017 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

Really terroir driven nose, good/good+ acids, fine, sweet tannins. Ready now, and for the next 5-7 years. Just enough complexity, and finish to keep my attention. Drink 2020-2029. recommended+

2017 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico

Red fruits, leather, dust, lovely aromas. Some wood on the palate, so give this a bit of air if drinking any time soon. Solid build; good for early mid-term. Quite nice, with just enough length. Great daily drinker. Bravo! recommended+

2017 Montecalvi Chianti Classico

Darker, a bit riper red fruits, with lovely acids, and fine tannins that will see this drinking well now, and for the next several years. Solid for the vintage, and something I’d be happy to enjoy with a meal. recommended+

2017 Montefioralle Chianti Classico

Easy-drinking, juicy, medium body with high-ish tannins, good+ acids/length. Enjoy in the short term; quite good for the vintage. Drink 2020 (with 1 hour of air) – 2026. recommended+

2017 Monterotondo di Basagni Saverio Chianti Classico Vaggiolata

Sage, violet, plum, raspberry. Plenty of oak on the medium-bodied palate. An early drinking packing good enjoyment now. Best with at least 30 minutes of air if drinking anytime soon. Fun. recommended+

2017 Poggio al Sole Chianti Classico

Round, juicy, good; clearly for the short-term. A touch of bitter on the med. finish. I’d drink it, even if I won’t be looking for it. Good+ purity, focus. recommended+

2017 Querciabella Chianti Classico

Anise, sage, soil, red/dark red berries, spice. Juicy, good length. I’d drink it, though I won’t be seeking it out. Good+. Drink 2020-2026.
recommended+

2017 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico

Ripe, red/dark red fruits. Juicy, moderate finish. Good early drinker, if short on complexity. Good. recommended

2017 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico

Oak, leather, dusty bookcase, soil. Love it. On the palate, medium body, good+ fruit/acids, with fine, mostly resolved tannins. A joy. Drink 2020-2027. recommended+

2017 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico

Cherry, spice, some Mexican chocolate. Good+ acids, moderate finish. Simple, enjoyable. Drink now. recommended

2016 Villa a Sesta Chianti Classico Il Palei

Red fruited, a bit tannic just now, but with good/good+ potential. Look for this to improve a bit in a few more years. Drink 2022-2029. recommended+

2017 Marchesi Mazzei Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli

Earth, herbs, leather, warm, ripe cherry and some pomegranate. Warm, soft medium body with an creamy oak grip on the finish. Many will love it, it’s not to my taste. For the style, very easily recommended

 

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The very simple view from the back patio of my apartment here in Chianti Classico. The soccer/football field just behind, has been silent for the past weeks, another reminder of the virus’ tolls.

 

Not Rated/Just Not That Interesting

2018 Carpineto Chianti Classico

Med/Deep ruby. High-toned, ripe, slightly candied nose. Dull, somewhat anonymous nose. Lots, and lots of oak, with little identity of place or grape. Disappointing; easy pass for me.

2018 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Ama

Darker medium brick red, somewhat dull color. Ripe red fruits, and oak on the nose. Anonymous, muddled medium body, with a mix of poor/bad flavors; lots of oak. An easy pass for my palate.

2018 Castello di Meleto Chianti Classico

Medium brick red color. Somewhat anonymous, lightly reduced nose with a tomato soup influence. Anonymous, four-square medium-bodied palate. Lots of oak on the palate with little of interest today, and likely for the future, as well. Not for my palate.

2018 Castello di Querceto / Querceto Chianti Classico

Med brick red color; bit dull/cloudy. Woodsy, soil-driven aromas with some oak in the background. Oaky, slightly muddled, four-square and anonymous palate. Nothing of interest for my palate.

2018 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico

Medium+ brick red color, with initial aromas of sweet oak, red/candied fruit, and some vanilla. A mixture of one-dimensional medium/med+ bodied palate, not so interesting. The oak may resolve in time, but I don’t find enough to draw me back to this for any reason.

2018 Colle Bereto Chianti Classico

Med/med+ brick red color. Oak driven nose, with some sense of place, less a sense of grape. Decent candidate for a wine list in most restaurants, but nothing I would care to drink again, nor purchase. Most are going to like this, just not to my palate.

2018 Fietri Chianti Classico

Darker brick red, clear. Oak driven nose overwhelms any other characteristics that may be here. Medium-bodied, four square palate. A bit anonymous for my palate; an easy pass. Most will probably enjoy.

2018 San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico

Reduced, some prune, darker red fruits. Seems a bit simple, though nothing offends. Revisit?

2018 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico

Modernly styled nose, with high-toned, spicy red fruits. Round, modern, ripe, a bit hot, and a shallow finish. An easy pass for my palate; most would probably love it.

2018 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico

Wood/cedar, soil, red fruits, some dried herbs. Round, and simple on the medium+ palate; some heat. Not for my palate, though no doubt it will make many very happy. Don’t bother to age it.

2018 Cantine Guidi 1929 Chianti Classico

Pale brick red, clear, and bright. Initial aromas are more soil/place driven at the moment, however, some additional swirling reveals pretty, somewhat high-toned red berry fruit. The medium bodied palate is a bit muddled, rather loose-knit, with a lack of focus/finish. Not sure this has the goods for more than early consumption. Just OK.

2016 Montecalvi Chianti Classico

Might not be an ideal bottle. Some base/not so clean notes. Just ok.

2017 Marchesi Mazzei Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli

** This is for the Gran Selezione Badiola. There are, very surprisingly, 2 different GS wines from the same producer in this vintage **

Much more high-toned than the GS from this producer (i.e. non Badiola) tasted just before it. This is OTT for my palate, and is more in the cocktail wine genre. The Caymus of Toscana.

 

 

The trade/public side of the event

 

2 thoughts on “The newly released wines of Chianti Classico (2018s)

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