2017 Chianti Classico, newly released (Feb 2020)

A more challenging vintage than the ones to either side of it (i.e. 2016, 2018), in 2017 there were greatly reduced yields, and in many cases, the wines are lacking freshness, energy, structure. But, as is often the case, there are also some really nice, really tasty wines that will no doubt sell for fair (if not crazy) values given what’s in the bottle.

Can’t say I’d cellar any of them for more than 4-6 years; actually drink the lot of them in the near>short term.

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.

My final report in this series focusing on the the new releases of the 2017 Chianti Classico Collection as tasted in February, 2020 in Florence.  I’ve broken out the 2017s from the other, previous report (with 2018s, 2017s – it’s a long report) with the idea that it might be easier for some to find the 2017s in particular. I hope you find something that helps.

Chianti Classico Collection 2020
LOTS of wines over two long days

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. There’s also some 2017 Chianti Classico, etc. A rather comprehensive event.

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

 

Very Highly Recommended

None on this day.

 

Highly Recommended

 

2017 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico – Really, really good. Six months since my last sample, and the bottle tonight is the ideal expression of fleshy, balanced, Sangiovese fruit. This type of (Classico) wine doesn’t come about very often – most young Classico are a bit acidic, and/or stern – made for food. This isn’t, it’s perfectly ripe, with a good depth, and layering to the red fruits. It’s simply a joy, and I find myself wanting a case. Delicious, structured, bright, pure, what’s not to like? highly recommended, drink now thru 2024. Not an ager, so drink sooner than later.

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+

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 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 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico – 5th time, at least, and consistent with my previous tastings – I’m probably going to end up with a case of this. Sure, the vintage was panned, but this still rocks and rolls. Such power, breadth, and visceral intrigue. Just wonderful, and easily in the top 5% of all Chianti Classico in this vintage; PnP is just fine. Highly recommended, thru 2028+.

 

 

Recommended

 

2017 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico – Cherry, spice, some Mexican chocolate. Good+ acids, moderate finish. Simple, enjoyable. Drink now. 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 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico – Ripe, red/dark red fruits. Juicy, moderate finish. Good early drinker, if short on complexity. Good. 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 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 Podere La Cappella Chianti Classico** Note ** re-tasted a few days later at the winery, this is excellent, and the above note is NOT at all representative. recommended+, thru 2033, at least. (the bottles at the tasting were somehow damaged, almost stewed; nearly a polar opposite to the wine tasted at the cellar door a few days after the Collection tasting.)

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Podere Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico – Highly traditional and still quite young. Classic flavors, and aromas, with a nicely proportioned, and fresh structure. Very much to my taste (impressively so for their base wine, and in this challenging vintage, too); should drink nicely, perhaps even improving a bit 2020 thru 2031. 21k bottles produced; 100% Sangiovese. recommended+

 

 

 

Not Rated/Just Not That Interesting

 

2017 Fattoria Le Fonti Chianti ClassicoI like the nose, but the palate trotted out some chocolate covered cherries, and I lost interest. I know this producer, and this (barrel sample) is likely just an off bottle, and or just too lacking in harmony. NR

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