The New Releases: Chianti Classico Riserva (2016s, more)

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 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.

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

sadly, none tasted on this day


Highly Recommended


2016 Gagliole Chianti Classico Riserva Gallule – Plump red berries, spice, leather, dust. Long, really nice, with a solid future. More complexity to follow. Drink now thru 2036. highly recommended+

2016 Quercia Al Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva – Attractive red berry, plum, light spice, leather. This is complex already, but is clearly packing more that will be revealed in 3-6 more years of rest. Just beautiful, if not so complete right now. HOLD. Drink 2024-2040+. Love it. highly recommended+

2016 Val delle Corti Chianti Classico Riserva – Flat out exciting for my palate. Great tension, purity, structure, potential. Really lovely, traditional example that offers a great future. Wow. Drink 2023-2040+. highly recommended+

2016 Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico Riserva – Exciting, the real deal. I want several cases. Showing extremely well already, and packing the goods to ensure a brilliant future, too. really impressive. Drink now thru 2040+. highly recommended+

2016 La Sala Chianti Classico Riserva – Whoa, this is special. Structured, long, lovely. Med/Med+ body, this has the goods to see another decade or two, no problem. This is exciting. highly recommended+

2016 I Sodi Chianti Classico Riserva – Oak spice, bright red fruits, soil. Medium-bodied, juicy/structured palate with a nice final. This will improve, and yet I’m already impressed. Bravo! Drink 2021-2037. highly recommended+

2016 Castello di Monterinaldi Chianti Classico Riserva – Has really developed in these past 6 months. Very good typicity, really, really good acidity. Wow, does this ever have structure. There’s a good, deep well of fruit, too, but I think this will enter its preferred plateau in about 4-5 years, and stay there for another 20. highly recommended

2016 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva – A bit more generous than I was expecting, but there’s plenty of structure, and fresh acidity, too. This is sure to make long-time fans very happy, and will probably make new friends, too. Really long finish, superb purity, and character. Love this. BUY it by the case. 2020-2043. highly recommended+

2016 Casa Sola Chianti Classico Riserva – Red-fruited, medium-bodied, with loads of varietal/place character. The acids are cheeky – given the amount of the fruit on first attack, I wasn’t so sure this could be properly (for me) lifted, but it is. Long finish, well structured. An excellent effort that will drink well 2021-2039+. highly recommended+

2016 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva – Darker brick red, clear. Lovely nose with plenty of red/purple flowers, soil, leather, and sweet cherry. Medium-bodied, excellent structure, purity. This is a wine with soul that will probably show better 2024-2040+. Very long. highly recommended+

2016 Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva – If earthy can be (is?) sexy, this wine is sexy. Loads of soil notes, with red (mostly) and some darker red fruits. It’s a wine I could smell all night. Medium body, plenty of fresh, exciting acidity, and such fine detail all leading to a long, long finish. A true beauty, wow. Drink 2021 (with 2 hours of air) -2045. highly recommended+

2016 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Il Poggiale – Tasted with Alessandro Cellai, I was able to spend a good 30 minutes evaluating it. Remarkably fresh, with vivid purity, and focus. This is an elegant Sangioveto wine, and one that is easily worth a case, or more, purchase. For purists, classicists, whatever, you need this in your cellar. Very classy beauty here, don’t miss this one. Should age for 20 years, no problem, but a lot to enjoy in the short-term, too. highly recommended




2016 Fattoria di Montecchio Chianti Classico Riserva – Round, a touch modern in the middle, though I think this oak will integrate. Needs some more tannic frame to better support the acids/fruits. Ok today, may well improve in 2-4 years. Good/Good+.  I have another bottle that I will open ~ 1 yr post-release as I think this will have moved in the proper direction. recommended

2016 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva – Round, ripe, ready, good+. An early drinking/approachable riserva with moderate finish, and an easy drinking style. Will make many quite happy. Drink now – 2028. recommended+

2016 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Classico Riserva Sergioveto – Generous yet still balanced. Unique/good sense of place. A touch bitter through the middle actually adds interest to this/it works. Young, with a solid future. Only moderate complexity on this day. Drink 2022-2040+ recommended+

2016 Villa a Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva – Somewhat high-toned just now, but to in a good way. Good+ soil notes, moderate+ length, good future. Red fruited, fine tannins, a sense of sweet red cherry on the final. Quite nice. Drink 2022-2039. recommended, with upside noted.

2016 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva – Round, ripe, ready, good+. An early drinking/approachable riserva with moderate finish, and an easy drinking style. Will make many quite happy. Drink now – 2028. recommended+

2016 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva – Med/med+ body, deep well of red/dark red fruits. Grainy tannins, kind of blocky just now. OK, but needs to improve from here if it’s going to show better on the whole. Drink 2022-2031. recommended

2016 Terreno Chianti Classico Riserva – Lovely nose, but the palate is all over the place. Let this rest for a few years, I’m thinking it’ll get there. Good+ for now. Drink 2024-2036. recommended, with good chance for upside.

2016 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Classico Riserva Sergioveto – Generous yet still balanced. Unique/good sense of place. A touch bitter through the middle actually adds interest to this/it works. Young, with a solid future. Only moderate complexity on this day. Drink 2022-2040+ recommended+

2016 Querciabella Chianti Classico Riserva – A bit high-toned, glossy red fruits. Not in my wheelhouse, and not so much of place/grape, but many will really, really like this. For the style, it’s easily recommended. Drink now thru 2032.

2016 Montefioralle Chianti Classico Riserva – Quite a floral and expressive nose. Approachable style, moderate length. Not something I would seek out, but would drink a glass if offered. Drink now thru 2027. recommended

2016 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva – Oak, red fruits, and a bit of soil. This needs time but shows structure, and purity to get there. I’d let these rest another 5 years, at which time this will no doubt over-deliver on its modest price. Medium(-) body that will probably add weight, and complexity, in time. Bravo. recommended+

2016 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva – Complex nose of red, spicy fruits, mixed with herbs, and forest floor. Something high-toned, and smoky in the middle, but it’s quick to fleet about. Lovely medium body, with plenty of fresh acidity. The oak seems a bit obtrusive just now, so look at this from 2024-2039+. recommended+

2016 Casaloste Chianti Classico Riserva – Plenty of oak on the nose, but with some brief swirling, some nice red fruits, too. The palate comes across as pretty heavy-handed in this moment (some may like that). That said, I’d like to revisit this in 3-4 years, to see if there’s been a trade – oak for fruit. Nice, but lacks proper acidity for my palate. Still, it can be recommended

2016 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Riserva – Oak, red fruits, some soil on the nose: this is rather closed – this sample, anyway. The palate is med/med+, it’s rich, and well-lifted in the middle. Finishes really long. Impressive; likely to improve from here. Drink 2023-2043. recommended+

2016 Capannelle Chianti Classico Riserva – Medium-bodied, red-fruited, with plenty of soil notes. But, it’s really the acidity that I’m enjoying here, keeping this fresh and long. Really solid effort that will need hours of aeration if opening anytime soon (don’t!). HOLD, drink 2023-2035+. recommended+

2016 Brancaia Chianti Classico Riserva – A nice nose of soil/place, and high-toned fruit. Medium/med+ body, oaky, but also well-lifted. Some warmth creeps into the middle, muddling the initial attack. The finish is creamy, warm, and melted. Not for my palate. Certainly recommended for those that enjoy this style.

2016 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Chianti Classico Riserva Misciano – Red/dark red fruits, baking and cooking spices, some soil. Medium-bodied, good, fresh acidity, and a med/med+ finish. Not the most complex just now, but I think this is holding something back that warrants another inquiry in a few years. As it is now, it’s round, warm, and easy to enjoy. Drink 2023-2038. recommended+

2016 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva – Really pretty, red-fruited nose, filled with Tuscan dust, and soil. The palate is a bit generous, but it’s well-lifted, and the finish is med+. There’s a lot to like here, and the quality at this farm has been consistently improving to such a point that I recommend you don’t overlook this (vintage) wine. Drink 2021-2035+. recommended+

2016 Riecine Chianti Classico Riserva – Generous, round, lifted, but I’m not finding much to get excited about – today. This riserva is way young, and this address is well known for top quality, so I say revisit in 4-6 years to get a better/proper feel for this wine. That said, the finish is nearly a minute. Drink 2024-2047. recommended+, with upside noted.

2016 Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico Riserva Bugialla – Oak, cinnamon, cherries, on the nose. The palate is decidedly medium+ bodied, and the finish is long, generous. That said, this is not something I would seek out, but no doubt there are many that would deeply enjoy this; I wanted more freshness, acidity. Drink now thru 2033. recommended for the style.

2016 Azienda Agricola Panzanello Chianti Classico Riserva – Bright, lively brick red, with the energy flowing over to the highly traditional nose. The palate is medium-bodied, quite fresh, and clean; the finish is impressively long, and shows great purity and focus. Very good likelihood that this will improve in the next 2-4 years, and bracket up score-wise. Very good. 15k bottles produced; 98% Sangiovese, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. A BIO grown wine; drink 2021 thru 2036. recommended






Not Rated/Just Not That Interesting


2016 I Fabbri Chianti Classico Riserva

2016 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico Riserva

2016 Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva La Forra

2016 Tenuta Lilliano Chianti Classico Riserva – Cocoa powder, cherry liqueur, dust. Seems a bit simple, and the finish has a bitter note that’s not working in its favor. Might be an off bottle.

2016 Istine Chianti Classico Riserva Levigne

2016 Castelli del Grevepesa Chianti Classico Riserva Clemente VII

2016 Oliviera Chianti Classico Riserva Settantanove – A good/average Riserva wine from the Castelnuovo Berardegna area; just 2k bottles produced. Typical aromas, with the added benefit of some stone fruits, and citrus that add some interest to an otherwise unremarkable effort. Drink 2019 thru 2026; may improve slightly from here.



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