Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chianti Classico: The 2007 Anteprima, or Vintage Presentation

Chianti Classico is, as always, a moving target, with producers presenting a number of vintages. Generally in tandem, either a year-old Chianti Classico (2005 in this case) and a two-year-old Chianti Classico Riserva (2004), or a two-year-old Chianti Classico (2004) and a three-year-old Chianti Classico Riserva (2003).

The choice is governed by production philosophy; those who prefer younger, fruitier wines release them earlier, while those who prefer a little more maturity hold them for another year. As a practical consideration, the wines that are held longer tend to see a little more wood, and may or may not have more bottle age. The other thing worth noting is that the official release date for the Chianti Classico D'Annata, the basic vintage wine, is 18 months after the harvest -- June -- and as a result a number of producers presenting their 2005 presented barrel samples.
Given the number of wines presented at the Anteprima -- 310 -- and the time allotted -- two days -- I chose to overlook the barrel samples, which are unfinished wines that will change in bottle, and then picked and chose among the remainder, selecting some names I am familiar with and others that caught my eye. I also chose to concentrate on the vintage wine, again because of time constraints.

The vintages?

Most of the summer of 2005 was quite wet, with mild temperatures, but the sun came out in the beginning of September and continued to shine throughout the harvest; one producer told me that the effect was to reduce the grapes, which the summer rains had swelled to the size of marbles: The bunches looked perfect, he said. Of course appearance is one thing and perfect ripeness is another: The resultant wines tend to be light, with bright bouquets, pale ruby tints, moderate concentration, and lively, brambly acidities, which lead me to conclude that the vines didn't concentrate the substances responsible for color and structure as much as they do in sunnier summers. To be honest, many are scrappy enough that unless you like this kind of wine you won't want to open a bottle far from the table. However, wine is meant to be drunk with food, or at least Italian wine is, and here these wines shine: I found them to be uniformly drinkable, quite drinkable even, the sort of wine that will be perfect at the table. Indeed, you will likely find the bottle empty before the meal is done, and this is a good excuse to open another.

The 2004 vintage confirms the impressions I had last year, basically that it represents a return to the past, with seasons of a sort that we last had in the 90s: Spring, with heavy rains that provided a store of moisture for the rest of the growing season, followed by a summer that came up gradually and was hot but not too hot, with some additional rainfall and cooler evening temperatures that allowed the vines respite and helped the grapes develop perfumes, followed by good sun and optimal temperature excursions in autumn. The grapes ripened as they used to too, neither too quickly nor too slowly (problems of the 2003 and 2002 vintages, respectively), and the unhurried ripening resulted a balanced accumulation of the polyphenols that give color and structure, and the sugars that provide alcohol. In short, elegant, beautifully balanced wines that drink nicely now, and have the capacity to age very well.

The wines, tasted Feb 20-21 2007

Antico Borgo di Sugame
Via Convertoie 14
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.borgo-di-sugame.com

Antico Borgo di Sugame Chianti Classico 2005
Lively black cherry ruby with black reflections and ruby rim. The bouquet is powerful, with considerable sour berry fruit supported by herbal notes, rosemary and a hint of sage, and bramble. On the palate it's light, with moderate sour berry fruit supported by tannins that are cedary, and flow into a clean very bitter finish. It's a bit disjointed, with the cedar overshadowing the fruit, and the bitterness a bit more than I'd have liked. This said, it will drink well with lesser grilled meats or hearty pasta dishes.
1 star

Badia a Coltibuono
Località Badia a Coltibuono
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI)
http://www.coltibuono.com

Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2005
Lively ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is delicate, with brambles and some red berry fruit that has a tart overlay; it somehow brings to mind light flitering through underbrush. On the palate it's light, with moderately intense sour berry fruit supported by light tannins that flow into a clean sour berry fruit finish. Quite light, and direct, an up front wine that will drink well with simple foods, ranging from meats off the grill and the requisite fixings through legume-based soups or meat-based pasta sauces. Quite traditional, in a light key, and if you like this fairly aggressive style it will go quickly.
1 star

Badia a Coltibuono RS Chianti Classico 2005
Lively ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is brambly, without much fruit, though there is some bitter iodine. On the palate it's medium bodied with moderate fruit supported by tart fairly bitter, oddly unsubstantial tannins that flow into a clean bitter finish. I'd have liked more depth; it comes across as a bit thin, almost emaciated.
1 star

Barone Ricasoli
Cantine del Castello di Brolio
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI)
http://www.ricasoli.it

Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is moderately intense, with iodine and brambles, mingled with some spicy -- peppery, even -- red berry fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied with moderately intense rather lax sour berry fruit supported by tannins that have bitter brambly overtones and flow into a clean bitter finish; I'd have liked a more tightly woven tannic structure. It will drink well with lesser grilled meats and light stews.
1 star

Bibbiano
Via Bibbiano 76
53011 Castellina in Chianti
http://www.tenutadibibbiano.com

Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2005
Pale cherry ruby with black reflections and some orange in the rim. The bouquet is slightly fuzzy -- it's lacking in definition -- with moderate decidedly brambly berry fruit. The palate reflects the nose, with moderately intense poorly defined red berry fruit supported by brambly notes and a fair degree of bitterness that flow into a clean bitter finish. It is thin, but with the thinness of diet rather than exercise.
1 star

Bibbiano Montornello Chianti Classico 2005
Lively slightly orange cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fresh, with bright acidity and some sour herbal notes mingled with red berry fruit. On the palate it's bright, and deft, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that have marked bitter accents, and flow into a clean fairly bitter finish. It's pleasant, in a rather scrappy traditional key, and will drink quite well with foods, especially grilled meats or light stews, and if you like the style the bottle will go very fast. Worth seeking out
2 stars

Bindi Segardi
Località I Colli 2
53035 Monteriggioni (SI)
http://www.bindisegardi.it

Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with sour raspberry fruit mingled with some peppery overtones and a fair amount of alcohol. Bracing, though a little more fruit would have been nice. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright sour red berry fruit supported by clean acidity, and fairly slight tannins that flow into a clean sour finish. It's more graceful on the palate than the nose, and pleasant in a slight key; it will drink well with simple meats off the grill or light stews. I found it growing on me, but you have to like the style.
2 stars


Carpineto
Località Dudda 17/B
50022 Greve in Chianti
http://www.carpineto.com

Carpineto Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is muted, with some iodine and moderate brambly cedar, but not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, and smoother than many, with fairly soft slightly sour red berry fruit (mostly cherry) supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fruit laced finish. It needs a little time for the nose to develop, another year, but will be elegant in a fairly soft, gentle key, and will drink well with simple foods.
2 stars

Poderi Castellare di Castellina
Località Castellare
Castellina in Chianti (Siena) 53011
http://www.castellare.it

Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with brambly slightly sour berry fruit that has greenish overtones that bring to mind hints of chlorine. On the palate it's medium bodied, with frankly languid black currant fruit supported by splintery tannins that lay a cedary burr over the tongue. It's thin, and frankly disjointed; though ti will settle with time I'm not sure how well it will meld.
1 star

Castellinuzza e Piuca
Via Petriolo 21/A
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.castellinuzzaepiuca.it

Castellinuzza e Piuca Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly bright, with black cherry supported by moderately intense greenish accents and some brambles, with spicy overtones. On the palate it's light, with sour rather thin cherry fruit supported by smooth slightly brambly tannins that flow into a clean sour finish with some bitter overtones. It's young, but feels tired.
1 star

Castello di Querceto
Dudda 50020 Lucolena
Greve in Chianti Firenze
http://www.castello-querceto.it/

Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is powerful, and pungent, with peppery notes and eucalyptus mingled with red berry fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, and graceful, with fairly rich slightly sour cherry fruit with some red currant acidity, supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean sour berry fruit finish with bitter accents. It's not powerful, but displays a lacy elegance that will increase with time, I think. It isn't a wine for lovers of the studied smoothness that comes with Merlot, but does have quite a bit to say, and will drink very well with foods. Worth seeking out if you like the style.
2 stars

Castello di Tizzano
Via di Tizzano 9
50020 San Polo in Chianti (FI)
http://www.castelloditizzano.it

Castello di Tizzano Chianti Classico 2005
Barrel sample (brought by mistake)
Lively ruby. The bouquet is fresh, and brambly, with sour raspberry fruit supported by alcohol and brambly acidity. Bracing. On the palate it's medium bodied and deft, with tart berry fruit supported by greenish brambly tannins that flow into a green finish. Lively, almost skittish, and though it's not a wine to drink far from the table, it will work quite nicely with grilled meats or light stews, and will also go quickly. You may want a second bottle.

Castello di Tizzano Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with herbal greenish notes mingling with red berry fruit and some underlying peppery spice. Not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, and flatter than I might have liked, with moderately intense red berry fruit that settles into a cedar-laced tannic structure, which finds itself carrying though into a distinctly tannic finish. It's tired.
1 star

Castello di Uzzano
Via di Uzzano 23
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.agricolauzzano.com

Castello di Uzzano Chianti Classico 2005
Deep cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with slightly jammy red berry fruit that has black currant accents, and is supported by brambly overtones. On the palate it's medium bodied and very smooth, with rich, dusky black currant fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that have a slight cedar burr, and flow into a clean moderately long finish. It's very smooth, and distinctly international in feel; if you prefer the scrappy acidity of the traditional style this won't work for you, but if you like smoother wines you will. Drink it with simple, not too fatty red meats, or light stews. Worth seeking out if you like the style, in a lighter key.
2 stars

Castello di Verrazzano
Località Verrazzano
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.verrazzano.com

Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry with black reflections. The bouquet is dusky, with some graphite shavings mingled with sour berry fruit and slight greenish animal tang. On the palate it's light, with moderate berry fruit supported by moderate graphite laced tannins that flow into a cedary finish. I'd have liked greater richness and flesh on the palate.
1 star

Castello di Vicchiomaggio
Via Vicchiomaggio 4
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.vicchiomaggio.it

Castello di Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo da Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico 2005
Deep almandine ruby with black reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is light, and brambly, with a fair amount of acidity and moderate, sour fruit, with spicy vegetal overtones. It seems light. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderately intense sour berry fruit that could have been better defined; though there is some sour cherry acidity, it brings to mind a person whose thinness is more diet than exercise.
1 star

Cecchi
Loc. Casina dei Ponti, 56
53011 Castellina in Chianti (SI)
http://www.cecchi.net/en/home.asp

Cecchi Chianti Classico 2005
Lively black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is brambly, with lively acidity laced with vegetal notes and sour berry fruit. On the palate it's bright, with pleasant red berry fruit -- sour cherry -- supported by light slightly brambly tannins that lay a clean burr over the tongue, and flow into a clean bitter finish. It's graceful, in a smooth lacy key, with quite a bit more fruit than many, and will drink nicely with simple grilled meats or light stews; if you like the fairly traditional style you will enjoy it very much. Worth seeking out.
2 stars

Collelungo
Località Collelungo
53011 Castellina in Chianti
http://www.collelungo.com

Collelungo Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and pink rim. The bouquet is fairly powerful, with a mix of vanilla - almost butterscotch - laced with pencil shavings and red fruit. It smells like a muted battle in a barrel. On the palate it's medium bodied, and quite smooth, with fairly rich sour cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by fairly intense bitter vanilla notes that gradually emerge as the fruit fades. It's very modern in style, and very young, and to be frank the oak is a bit much for me now; though it may fade, there isn't that much fruit to take its place.
1 star

Collelungo Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Deep black cherry ruby with almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, and frankly oak-laced, with fairly intense ripe berry fruit that has jammy overtones showing though cedar and vanilla spice. On the palate it's rich, with powerful red berry fruit supported by moderate acidity that provides direction quite well, thank you, and by deft tannins that owe much of their sweetness and structure to wood, flowing into a clean vanilla laced berry fruit finish. It's very international in style, and if you like this style you will like it very much, especially with grilled or roasted meats. Even if you're a traditionalist who frowns at small wood, you'll find something to think about. Worth seeking out.
88-90

Collelungo Campocerchi Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Deep almandine ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with jammy berry fruit that has some cooked plum accents supported by quite a bit of cedar and spice from oak.. On the palate it's full, and quite smooth, with fairly rich berry fruit that has some jammy accents, directed by moderate acidity, and supported by ample smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fruit finish. It's elegant, and a very nice expression of 2003, with much less of the overripeness than many of the wines display, but I found myself wishing there were a bit more acidity to give better direction to the fruit. It will in any case drink nicely with drier roasts, e.g. roast beef cooked rare, or roast pork loin with gravy.
2 stars

Concadoro
Località Concadoro 67
53011 Castellina in Chianti (SI)
http://www.aziendaconcadoro.it

Concadoro Chianti Classico 2005
Lively black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, and decidedly vegetal, with herbal notes mingling with black currants that open out in the glass. Young, fresh, and quite international. On the palate it's lighter than I might have expected, with considerably less fruit; what there is is herbal, and almost splintery, with graphite laced acidity and splintery tannins to hold it up. It's a bit of a disappointment; I had expected much more from the nose than I got. While it will pull together some with time, it will always be slight, I think.
1 star


Felsina
Via del Chianti 101
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI)
http://www.felsina.it

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with some black currant mingling with cedar and some peppery spice that reaches up to tingle the nose. On the palate it's fairly light, with moderately intense sour fruit that gains direction from distinctly lemony acidity that flows into a long clean acidic finish. I found the acidity to be a little sharp, though it is such that the wine will work quite well with fatty grilled meats, or with fried foods. In other words, you have to like this fairly rustic style, and open it at the proper occasion.
1 star

Il Mandorlo
Via Certaldese 2/b
50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa (FI)
http://www.il-mandorlo.it

Il Mandorlo Chianti Classico 2005
Lively ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with brambly red berry fruit mingled with quite a bit of bitter graphite shavings, and some iodine laced herbal acidity as well. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderately intense sour cherry fruit that is supported by tart acidity, and by tannins that have bitter graphite vegetal overtones and lead into a distinctly tannic finish. It's very young, and rather astringent; as such it's not a wine to consider if you prefer a smother more elegant style. If you instead prefer scrappy wines, it will work well with fattier grilled meats, and also has the wherewithal to stand up to fried foods. But you have to like the style.
1 star

La Madonnina
Via Palaia 39
50027 Strada in Chianti
http://www.triacca.com

La Madonnina Bello Stento Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is penetrating, with brambly acidity that rises up to tingle the nose, mingled with some bright berry fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, with rather languid slightly greenish berry fruit -- a mixture of black currants and cherry fruit supported by dusty tannins that have a furious peppery burr that sets the (at least my) tongue afire, leaving burning warmth. It's badly disjointed, and I wonder what happened to it.
1 star

La Marcellina
Via Case Sparse, 74
50020 Panzano in Chianti
http://www.lamarcellina.it

La Marcellina Comignole Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black almandine ruby with black reflections and almandine in the rim. The bouquet is greenish, with vegetal notes mingled with sour cherries and black currant fruit with some peppery overtones. On the palate it's medium bodied, and softer than the nose suggested, with ample sour cherry fruit that has some currant accents, and is supported by a combination of bitter brambly tannins that also owe some allegiance to oak -- there's a coffee ground/cocoa feel to them -- and sour acidity that flow into a fairly sour finish. It's scrappy, rather like a tomboy who's all elbows and knees, and if you like the style it will work well with succulent grilled meats or fried foods. But you do have to like this fairly aggressive style.
2 stars

La Marcellina Sassocupo Chianti Classico 2004
Black cherry ruby with black reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is fairly bright, with herbal red berry fruit supported by brambly acidity; it gives an impression of youth. On the palate it's medium bodied, and smoother than I expected from the nose, with tart sour cherry fruit supported by sour cherry acidity and smooth tannins that have a faint youthful burr, and flow into a clean sour berry fruit finish. Pleasant, in a distinctly traditional key, and though it is quite young it will drink nicely with succulent meats off the grill, including ribs that aren't too heavily spiced, or with fried meats and vegetables. If you like the style it will go quite quickly, and be perfect in the proper occasion. Worth seeking out.
2 stars

La Sala
Via Sorripa 34
50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa (FI)
http://www.lasala.it

La Sala Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with somewhat paler ruby in the rim, and hints of almandine in the nail. The bouquet is moderately intense, with some greenish herbal notes mingled with slight underbrush, and peppery acidity that tingles the nose. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderately intense red berry fruit supported by some acidity, but to a greater degree by bitter tannins whose cedary notes clearly derive from wood, and flow into a clean rather bitter tannic finish. I'd have liked more verve in the fruit, which is a touch settled, and perhaps a little less emphasis on oak, which will fade with time, but may leave things emptier than it should when it does.
1 star

Lornano
Località Lornano 11
53035 Monteriggioni (SI)
http://www.fattorialornano.it

Lornano Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with graphite shavings and brambly bitterness, but not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderate distinctly sour berry fruit supported by tannins that have an angry graphite burr, and flows into a distinctly cedary finish. It feels as if they were trying to extract more than there was from the grapes.
1 star

Lornano Le Bandite Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is bright, with spice mingled with some red berry fruit and a fair amount of warmth. On the palate it's medium bodied, with deft, bright cherry fruit supported by tannins that have a slight cedary burr, while pleasant acidity provides direction, and it all flows into a clean fruit laced finish. Graceful, and will drink nicely with foods, now, though those with the patience to wait another year or two will gain. It's one of those food wines that doesn't impress with bells and whistles, will simply vanish from the table.
83

Piccini
Località Piazzole
53011 Castellina in Chianti
http://www.tenutapiccini.it

Piccini Solco Chianti Classico 2005
Black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is a bit unusual, with cedar and some graphite mingled with slight berry fruit; the fruit is overshadowed by other things in the mix. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderate rather sour fruit supported by distinctly brambly tannins that lay a splintery burr over the tongue, and flow into a distinctly tannic finish. Because of its astringency it will work well with fattier grilled meats, or even fried foods.
1 star

Ruffino
Marketing and PR: Tenuta Poggio Casciano
Via Poggio al Mandorlo 1
50011 Quarate di Bagno a Ripoli
http://www.ruffino.com/

Ruffino Santedame Chianti Classico 2005
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with berry, primarily black currant, fruit supported by vegetal notes and some spice. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright berry fruit that gains direction from moderate acidity, and is supported by slightly brambly tannins that have youthful splintery overtones, and flow into a clean fruit laced bitter finish. It's light, but graceful, and will drink nicely with simple grilled meats or light stews. I found it growing on me, and though it isn't a wine to drink far from the table, it will go very fast if you like the style.
2 stars

San Fabiano Calcinaia
Località Cellole
53011 Castellina in Chianti
http://www.sanfabianocalcinaia.com

San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2005
Fairly deep cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is brambly, with airy sour berry fruit and some graphite as well, mingled with some slightly greenish acidity; the effect is lacy. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly bright red berry fruit supported by pleasant acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean berry fruit finish with peppery overtones; I found it growing upon me. It will drink well with simple grilled meats or light stews, and is worth considering if you like this style.
2 stars

San Felice
Località San Felice
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI)
http://www.agricolasanfelice.it

San Felice Chianti Classico 2005
Pale cherry ruby with black reflection and cherry rim. The bouquet is quite fresh, with graphite mingled with quite a bit of black currant fruit, and some spice overlying t all. On the palate it's medium bodied and very soft, with ample black currant fruit supported by fairly bright currant acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean currant finish that gains definition from some tartness. It's quite smooth, and very international in style; because of its softness I would drink it with relatively drier meats, rather than something fatty. If you like the style it will go quickly.
2 stars

San Felice Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico Riserva 2001
Impenetrable pyrope ruby with cherry ruby rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with dusky berry fruit laced with graphite and pencil shavings, with some underlying greenish acidity as well. Nice balance. On the palate it's full, and quite soft, with ample red berry fruit that agins direction from moderate sour berry fruit acidity, and is supported by smooth tannins that have some greenish cedar accents, and flow into a fairly long warm finish. Good, but somehow predictable, and I'd have liked a greater life to the fruit, which feels settled -- the acidity isn't as bright as it might have been, and this is likely an influence of wood.
2 stars

San Vincenti
Podere di Stignano 27
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI)
http://www.sanvincenti.it

San Vincenti Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is spicy, with some red berry fruit, black currants and peppery spice. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderate sour berry fruit supported by tannins that have a distinctly cedary burr, and flow into a warm fairly tannic finish.
1 star

Sant'Agnese
Località Sant'Agnese 7
53011 Castellina in Chianti (SI)
http://www.fattoriasantagnese.it

Sant'Agnese Chianti Classico 2005
Dark almandine ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is arm, with considerable sour berry fruit supported by peppery notes and pleasant citric acidity. Inviting in a traditional key. On the palate it's light, with graceful slightly sour cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean deft slightly tannic finish; it's pleasant, and will drink quite nicely with grilled meats or light stews, and has the wherewithal to age for 3-5 years, becoming lacy with time. It won't work if you like the smoothness of a Merlot, but if you prefer slightly more aggressive wines you will enjoy it.
2 stars

Sant'Agnese Abate di Sant'Agnese Chianti Classico 2005
Deep cherry ruby with black reflections. Fresh bouquet with cherry fruit and some vegetal overtones that give depth, and slightly brambly notes as well. On the palate it's delicate, with graceful sour red berry fruit supported by tannins that are a touch more splintery than I would like, and this is a factor of youth -- it will come together nicely, in a graceful lacy key over the next year or so, and if you like this rather lacy style you will like it very much.
2 stars

Spadaio e Piecorto
Via San Silvestro 1
50021 Barberino Val D'Elsa
Tel 055 807 2915

Spadaio e Piecorto Chianti Classico 2005
Almandine ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is closed, though swishing brings up some berry fruit. But it's not well defined. On the palate it's settled, with moderate berry fruit supported by flat tannins, while direction comes from some -- but not too much -- acidity. Weak.
1 star

Terrabianca
San Fedele a Paterno
53017 Radda in Chianti
http://www.terrabianca.com/index.html

Terrabianca Scassino Chianti Classico 2005
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections; it's darker than many. The bouquet is bright, with vegetal notes and berry fruit mingled with some brambly acidity. Deft. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by clean brambly acidity and tannins that have a slight cedary burr, flowing into a clean brambly finish. It's deft, though I found the tannins to be a little bit astringent; as a result it is a wine that will work well with foods, if you like the style, and in particular grilled meats or light stews, while it has the wherewithal to work with fried foods as well.
2 stars

Villa Calcinaia
Via Citille, 84
50022 Greve in Chianti
http://www.villacalcinaia.it

Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2005
Barrel sample (I asked for it by mistake)
Almandine ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with herbal notes and pine needles mingled with some spice; not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderately intense rather lax red berry fruit -- a fellow taster says Syrah -- supported by clean tannins that flow into a wood-laced finish. I'd have liked better definition than I found, and hope it pulls together in bottle.

Poggiopiano
Via Pisignano 28/30
50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa (FI)
Tel 055 822 9629

Poggiopiano Chianti Classico 2005
Barrel sample (suggested by fellow taster)
Quite promising, but very much a barrel sample. It will be worth seeking out, but is too young to say much about now.

Poggiopiano Chianti Classico 2004
Lively black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with brambly berry fruit laced with some greenish notes and deft peppery spice. On the palate it's ample and soft at the outset, with slightly overripe cherry fruit supported by tannins that have a warm cedar-laced burr and flow into a long warm finish. It's quite traditional, and if you like this style will like it, though I wouldn't drink it far from the table. In its defense it's very young, and will smooth considerably over the next year or two, and may reward those blessed with patience nicely.
2 stars

Agricoltori Chianti Geografico
Via Mulinaccio, 10
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI)
http://www.chiantigeografico.it

Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico Contessa di Radda Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with brambly dusky red berry fruit supported by some acidity. On the palate it's medium bodied and quite smooth, with moderately rich, rather bitter red berry fruit that has some cedary overtones, supported by blocky cedar-laced tannins that flow into a warm tannic finish. It needs another year to settle, but I'd have liked greater richness of fruit. Drink it with grilled meats or light stews.
1 star

Cantalici
Via della Croce 17/19
Località Castagnoli
53013 Gaiole in Chianti
http://www.cantalici.it

Cantalici Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and brilliant ruby rim. Looks cheeky. The bouquet is deft, and elegant, with slightly cherry fruit with clean spicy overtones and the herbal aromas of a Tuscan field in summer. Graceful. On the palate it's medium bodied, with rich cherry fruit supported by deft sour cherry acidity, and by tannins that still have a youthful burr, but will smooth nicely with time. It brings to mind a pretty, wide-eyed teen; as it stands it will drink quite well with succulent grilled meats, and in a year's time it will be something you might also enjoy far from the table, in a non-reverential situation. Worth seeking out
88-90

Cantalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and slightly pink rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with berry fruit that is overshadowed slightly by cedar from wood, and underlying acidity and peppery spice. Young. On the palate it's medium bodied, and a bit more along than the nose, with bright brambly berry fruit that gains direction from deft acidity, and is supported by tannins that have a slight cedary burr. It's quite nice but needs another year to come together, at which point it will be a fine accompaniment to grilled meats or light stews.
2 stars

Casa Sola
Via Cortine, 5
50021 Barberino Val d'Elsa
http://www.fattoriacasasola.com

Casa Sola Chianti Classico 2004
Lively ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is brambly, with bright rather greenish herbal notes and some sea salt; not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied and flat, with considerable bitterness that derives in part from tannins that have an angry cedary burr, and moderate acidity, without much fruit to keep it all together. It's like looking into a bramble patch.
1 star

Casaloste
Via Montagliari, 32
50020 Panzano
http://www.casaloste.com

Casaloste Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is surprisingly fresh, with a mixture of violets and black currant at first swish, coupled with some delicate spice. Pleasant, in a soft key. The palate reflects the nose; there's ample soft black currant and plum fruit with just enough acidity to keep it from flab, and smooth sweet tannins that have slight cedary overtones that will fold in with time. It's very soft, and if you like this soft style is quite nice. It's also a wine that will work best with drier meats, for example roasted pork loin, and with time might be something to sip by the glass if you like this smooth soft style. It will keep 3-5 years. Worth seeking out if you like the style.
2 stars

Castello della Paneretta
Strada della Paneretta 35
50021 Barberino Val D'Elsa (FI)
Tel 055 805 9003

Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is muted, though determined swishing brings up some alcohol and very faint fruit. It brings to mind a person clutching her knees to her chest while bowing her head. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly light sour cherry fruit supported by slightly greenish tannins that flow into a warm tannic finish. It needs another year to get its bearings, at which point it will drink well with simple grilled meats.
1 star

Castello Di Ama
Località Ama
53013 Gaiole in Chianti
http://www.castellodiama.com/

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2004
Deep cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fresh, and bright, with red berry fruit, a mix of cherries and red currants, supported by greenish herbal notes and some hints of chalk dust, while there is also underbrush and bramble. A fair amount going on in a youthful key. On the palate it's medium bodied, with moderately intense cherry fruit supported by bitter tannins that have a light burr, and by some greenish accents, which all flow into a fairly long tannic finish. There's a bit less fruit than I might have liked, and it's not quite as bright as I might have liked either. It will drink well with grilled or roasted meats.
1 star

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2001
Deep almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with some balsamic notes mingled with tart berry fruit and deft cedar. On the palate it's ample, and rich, with powerful red berry fruit, a mixture of cherry and red currant supported by deft currant acidity and ample smooth sweet tannins that flow into a warm clean finish. It's a touch ponderous, and this is attributable to its age, but pleasant and will drink well with succulent red meats or stews, including heartier fare such as game.
2 stars

Castello di Bossi
Località Bossi in Chianti
53033 Castelnuovo Berardenga
http://www.castellodibossi.it/default.htm

Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is closed, with some spice and slight sea salt, with brambly overtones and some almost mineral acidity. On the palate it's ample, and warm, with fairly bitter sour berry fruit supported by tannins that have a cedary burr, and flow into a warm tannic finish. It's lumbering, and brings to mind a person rolled up in a blanket -- restricted, or hindered; it frankly needs time, and is (for me) over oaked.
1 star

Castello di Cacchiano
53010 Monti in Chianti
Tel: 0577 747 018

Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico 2004
Lively slightly almandine cherry ruby with almandine in the rim. The bouquet is bright, with brambly tart cherry fruit mingled with some spice from grapes, and hints of sea salt. Quite a bit going on, and welcoming too. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by clean sweet tannins that have a warm slightly citric burr, and flow into a long clean warm sour fruit finish. It's quick to write, but shows great balance, and is an extremely nice example of Chianti in a traditional key; it's not something you'd probably want to drink far from the table, but it will transform a simple platter of mixed grilled meats into a memorable occasion. Well worth seeking out.
88-90

Castello Di Fonterutoli
Via Ottone III, 5
Località Fonterutoli
I-53011 Castellina in Chianti (Si)
http://www.fonterutoli.it/default_eng.htm

Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim with slight hints almandine. The bouquet is clean, with deft sour berry fruit acidity and some brambly notes mingled with cedar and slight graphite shavings. Pleasant. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright slightly sour cherry fruit that has some red currant overtones, supported by splintery cedar-laced tannins that flow into a clean fruit-laced finish. It's pleasant in a cheeky sort of way, though it needs a few months for the tannins to come together and heel; it will drink well with succulent grilled meats, including fattier fare such as ribs.
2 stars

Castello di Meleto
Località Meleto
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (Siena)
http://www.castellomeleto.it

Castello di Meleto Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is brambly, with moderate black currant-laced berry fruit mingled with cedar and some sea salt. On the palate it's ample, with fairly bright berry fruit supported by citric acidity, and by tannins that display a rather lax weave, and flow into a clean fairly acidic, somewhat herbal bitter finish. I'd have liked more tightness on the palate; it flows out.
1 star

Castello di Meleto Pieve di Spaltenna Chianti Classico 2004
Bright cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with brambly herbal notes mingling with sour cherry fruit and some pencil shavings, with underlying black currants. Fresh. On the palate it's medium bodied and deft, with bright slightly sour berry fruit supported by lively brambly acidity, and by tannins that have a cheeky greenish cast to them, flowing into a warm sour fruit finish. Quite nice, and will add considerably to a platter of mixed grilled meats, or perhaps even a platter of fried meats. A delightful food wine, and you can expect the bottle to go quickly.
2 stars

Castello di Monastero
Località Petroio 30
53017 Radda in Chianti (SI)
http://www.castellodimonastero.com

Castello di Monastero Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with bright brambly notes mingled with dusky cherry fruit and some underlying cedar. On the palate it's medium bodied, and fairly bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by clean tannins that have a slight burr, and flow into a long lemony finish. The nose is still developing, and is behind the palate, which is brighter and more fruit driven than I had expected; the overall impression is sassy and fairly aggressive, and if you like this sort of thing you will find the level of the bottle dropping quite fast. But you do have to like the style.
2 stars

Castello di Monterinaldi
Fattoria La Pesanella
53017 Radda in Chianti
http://www.monterinaldi.it/

Castello di Monterinaldi Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is a bit wild, with some animal tang mingled with acidity and greenish, almost artichoke herbal notes. Not much fruit. On the palate it's bright, with lively sour cherry acidity supported by dusky cedar-laced tannins that flow into a warm tannic finish. It's quite aggressive, and the fruit is quite acidic; if you like the style you will like it, but it's particular and if you prefer smoother rounder wines it won't work for you at all. In short, it takes no quarter. In terms of accompaniments, because of its aggressive acidity it will work well with fattier meats off the grill, and will also be a good bet with fried foods.
1 star

Castello di Volpaia
Località Volpaia
53017 Radda in Chianti (SI)
http://www.volpaia.com

Castello di Volpaia Volpaia Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and dusky ruby rim. The bouquet is bright, with bitter accents and animal tang -- wet horse -- mingled with some stable stew, and balsamic brightness. Not much fruit. On the palate it's ample, and smooth, with moderate red berry fruit supported by tannins that have a cedary burr, while direction comes from moderate greenish sour cherry acidity. It's a trifle lax, and I'd have liked more richness on the nose than I found, though it will drink well with grilled meats or light stews.
1 star

Fattoria di Cinciano
Località Cinciano 2
53036 Poggibonsi
http://www.cinciano.it

Fattoria di Cinciano Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is brambly, with deft berry fruit supported by cedar-laced acidity and some bitter herbal accents that bring grilled sage to mind, with pleasing peppery spice as well to provide depth. On the palate it's medium bodied, and softer than I expected, with bright slightly sour cherry fruit that gains direction from brambly acidity, and is supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean slightly greenish tannic warm sour fruit finish. Pleasant, in a tomboyish scrappy key, and will drink very well with foods; it's not a wine to drink far from the table, but will contribute nicely to a light stew or platter of grilled meats. Or even an elegant burger.
2 stars

Fattoria la Ripa
P.O.Box, 1
50020 S. Donato in Poggio
http://www.laripa.it

Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and bright rim. The bouquet is elegant, with rich red berry fruit supported by deft acidity, and subtle floral accents that contribute nicely. Quite a bit going on, and a wine that invites many sniffs. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright cherry fruit supported by clean almost citric acidity, and by ample sweet tannins that flow into a long tart fruit finish. Quite nice in a distinctly traditional key, and if you like this style you will like it very much. Even if you don't, you will find that it contributes a great deal to a platter of mixed grilled meats, and will also work well with succulent roasts, e.g. leg of lamb, or hearty stews. Worth seeking out.
2 stars

Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Impenetrable black almandine ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is bright, with delicate raspberry acidity mingled with greenish accents and a fair amount of alcohol. Hot vintage. On the palate it's full, and quite deft, with rich bright red berry fruit supported by deft berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that do reveal the heat of the summer though a certain stridency, leading into a hot fruit laced finish. It's not as well balanced as a more normal vintage would be, but is pleasant, and will drink quite well with succulent meats, especially rich roasts along the lines of leg of lamb, or with hearty stews, including venison. If you don't mind a touch of aggressive heat, it's well worth seeking out,
2 stars

Fattoria Nittardi
Località Nittardi
53011 Castellina in Chianti (SI)
Tel 0577 740 269

Fattoria Nittardi Casanuova di Nittardi Chianti Classico 2004
Deep cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is shut tight, though swishing brings up some brambly notes and slight spice. On the palate it's ample, and rather lax, with soft tart berry fruit that has very slight jammy overtones, supported by blocky greenish tannins that are clearly cedar-laced, and flow into a greenish finish. It's lax, and I'd have liked better definition.
1 star

Azienda San Michele a Torri
Via Di San Michele 36
50018 Scandicci
http://www.fattoriasanmichele.it/

Fattoria San Michele a Torri Tenuta la Gabbiola Chianti Classico 2004
Lively ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is pungent, with a fair amount of acidity mingled with some brambles and slight cedar, with underlying acetone. Not much fruit. On the palate it's ample, with moderate fruit supported by bitter dusty tannins that flow into a tongue-bendingly tannic finish that dried the teeth out. There's too much oak for the fruit, at least for me.
1 star

Azienda Agricola Fontodi
50020 Panzano in Chianti
http://www.fontodi.com/

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2004
Black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is charged, with quite a bit of greenish acidity mingled with brambles and some dusky cedar, but not much in the way of fruit. A fellow taster says it's going in several directions at once, and he has a point. On the palate it's medium bodied, with frankly bitter berry fruit that quickly settles, revealing a great cliff of cedary tannins. It's badly disjointed, and has yet to digest the wood it was fed; I wonder if it will. Because of its tannic aggressiveness it will drink well with a fatty steak that begs something to clean the palate between bites.
1 star

I Sodi
53010 Monti in Chianti
http://www.agrisodi.com

I Sodi Chianti Classico 2004
Pale cherry ruby with orange accents and rim. The bouquet is delicate, with sour cherry mingled with some acidity and warmth; it's almost lacy. On the palate it's clean, with bright sour berry fruit supported by smooth tannins and considerable acidic warmth that flow into a clean fairly sour finish. Tradition in a glass, and if you like the style it is a deft expression of it that will work quite well with grilled meats, or even fried foods. Worth seeking out if you like this style. If you instead prefer softer, less aggressive wines it won't work for you at all.
2 stars

Il Molino di Grace
Località Il Volano
Panzano in Chianti
http://www.ilmolinodigrace.com

Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2004
Lively ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with greenish herbal notes and cedar mingling with spice and slight berry fruit. On the palate it's brighter than I had expected from the nose, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by clean sweet bright tannins that lay a slightly aggressive burr over the tongue, and flow into a clean bright fruit finish. The nose needs a little more time, but the overall impression is graceful, in a rather lacy key, and though I wouldn't drink it far from the table, it will drink quite nicely with grilled meats -- especially thing like lamb chops -- or light stews, and will go quickly.
2 stars

Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Deep black almandine ruby with almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with bright red berry fruit supported by considerable warmth and quite a bit of alcohol; the heat of the vintage is quite apparent, and in other years one would say it was unbalanced. But it is an 03. On the palate it's full, and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by clean rich berry fruit acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that lead into a clean berry fruit finish, A very nice expression of the vintage, which is a bit too aggressive to drink by itself, but ill drink nicely with foods, especially succulent roasts or hearty stews.
2 stars

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fresh, with pleasant berry fruit and some brambly spice mingled with cedar and some warm spice. On the palate it's full, and quoite smooth, with fairly rich red berry fruit supported by tannins that are a touch strident, and this may be due to problems related to ripening brought on by extreme heat; the finish is clean and tannic, with lasting warmth. It's quite nice, but does reveal the perniscious influence of the long, hot 2003 summer; because of its aggressiveness it's a wine I wouldn't drink far form the table, though I would be tempted to open it with a thick steak.
2 stars

Le Cinciole
Via Case Sparse 83
50020 Panzano in Chianti (FI)
http://www.lecinciole.it

Le Cinciole Chianti Classico 2004
Slightly orange ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is closed, though some dusky berry fruit emerges with swishing. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly bright red berry fruit supported by warm acidity and moderately rich tannins; it's direct, and up front, and though not long on complexity will drink nicely with grilled or roasted meats.
75

Le Corti
Via San Piero di Sotto, 1
50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa
http://www.principecorsini.com

Le Corti Corsini Don Tommaso Chianti Classico 2004
Deep pigeon blood ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is powerful, with rich slightly jammy cherry fruit supported by underbrush and fairly intense oak; it's studied and quite international in style. On the palate it's full, with powerful fruit that washes up against an equally powerful wall of cedar, and it all flows into a which flows into a hot cedar laced wash. A tremendous load of oak, and though there was nice fruit to start out, it's struggling now to emerge from under it, and needs at least a year to succeed. If you like powerfully oaky wines you will like it, but it's too much for me.
1 star

Le Corti Corsini Le Corti Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with delicate cherry and forest berry fruit supported by clean acidity and some herbal notes mingled with spice. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly rich dusky cherry fruit supported by ample cedar-laced tannins that rise up, carrying into a frankly tannic finish with bitter undertones. I'd have liked more depth and more acidity than I found; the wood, which is quite evident, has tamed the expression of the grapes to a degree.
1 star

Le Fonti
Località Le Fonti
50020 Panzano in Chianti (FI)
http://www.fattorialefonti.it

Le Fonti Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and orange highlights. The bouquet is bright, with sour berry fruit mingled with the herbs of a Tuscan field and slight greenish notes, while there is also fairly deft acidity mingled with sea salt. Inviting, in a bracing sort of way. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by clean slightly mineral acidity and by ample slightly brambly tannins that flow into a clean sour fruit finish with bitter accents. It's a nice food wine, and will drink well with grilled meats, including chicken with its skin.
2 stars

Podere Le Boncie
Località San Felice
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI)
Tel 0577 359 383

Podere Le Boncie Le Trame Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections an cherry rim. The bouquet is fresh, with sour berry fruit supported by slight greenish accents and pleasing brambly acidity, with underlying spice. Nice, in a scrappy sort of way. On the palate it's medium bodied, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by clean acidity that has a raspberry cast, and by smooth tannins that have a slight burr to them. Quite approachable in a traditional key, and though its acidity is such that it won't drink well far from the table, it will drink nicely with succulent grilled meats, or even fried foods. If you like this fairly light, bright style you will like it.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Poggio Bonelli
Località Poggio Bonelli
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga
http://www.poggiobonelli.it/

Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico 2004
Deep almandine ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is a bit wild, with balsamic notes and animal warmth mingled with hints of stable straw. On the palate it's medium bodied, and lax with warm cedar laced berry fruit supported by cedary tannins that lay down a long cedary trail. It lumbers, and is not as exciting as I might have liked.
1 star

Renzo Marinai
Via Case Sparse 6
50020 Panzano in Chianti (FI)
http://www.agricecione.it

Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with pleasant red berry fruit, cherry with hints of wild strawberry, with some lemony acidity, herbal accents, and underlying spice. Nice balance. On the palate it's ample and smooth, with fairly intense rather bitter sour cherry fruit supported by considerable warmth and clean rather bitter tannins that lay a slight burr over the tongue, and flow into a clean brambly finish with fruit overtones. Pleasant, in a direct tomboy key, and will drink well with grilled meats, fatty roasts, or light stews.
2 stars

Riecine
Località Riecine
53013 Gaiole in Chianti
http://www.riecine.com/

Riecine Chianti Classico 2004
Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and hints of almandine in the rim. The bouquet is deft, with delicate cherry fruit laced with lemony acidity, and supported by some greenish brambly spice. On the palate it's medium bodied, with rich red berry fruit that gains direction from deft brambly citric acidity, and is supported by ample smooth tannins that flow into a clean rich berry fruit finish with tannic overtones. Quite elegant, and will drink very well with a platter of grilled meats or a tasty stew, transforming a meal into a memorable occasion. Worth seeking out.
90

Riecine Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Deep black almandine ruby with almandine rim. The bouquet is delicate, with warmth and cherry fruit that mingle with some alcohol and pleasant spice. On the palate it's medium bodied and at the outset, with considerable warm rich cherry fruit supported by clean acidity, and by tannins that peel back o reveal an angry hot vintage burr that is rather strident; there's an element of greenness to it, which is likely ripening related, and also a fair amount of wood. The bottom line: Not a wine to drink far from the table, though these tannins will make it a nice bet with a succulent cut of meat. Typical of a difficult vintage.
2 stars

Rocca delle Macie
Località Le Macie
53011 Castellina in Chianti
http://www.roccadellemacie.com

Rocca delle Macie Tenuta Sant'Alfonso Chianti Classico 2004
Deep pigeon blood ruby with almandine in the rim and black reflections. The bouquet is penetrating, with herbal notes and spice mingled with some cedar. Not much fruit. On the palate it's flatter than I might have liked, with moderately intense berry fruit supported by blocky tannins with bitter cedar accents that do much of the work; the finish is tannic.
1 star

Rocca di Castagnoli
Località Castagnoli
53013 Gaiole in Chianti
http://www.roccadicastagnoli.com

Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is warm, with quite a bit of alcohol laced with cedar, hot iron, and some brambly overtones, but not much fruit. On the palate it's fairly rich, with brighter berry fruit than I expected, supported by clean spicy tannins that flow into a distinctly tannic finish. It's disjointed, with the tannins peeling back from the fruit.
1 star

Castello di San Sano
Località Palazzino - San Sano
53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI)
http://www.castellosansano.com

Castello di San Sano Chianti Classico 2004
Lively black cherry ruby with black reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is shut tight -- swishing brings up some spice and moderate fruit, but one has the impression that it's holding back. The palate is further along than the nose, with bright cherry fruit laced with raspberry acidity, and supported by clean tannins that have a warm burr and flow into a clean berry fruit finish. Pleasant, and will work quite well with foods, though I would give the nose another year to catch up with the fruit.
2 stars

Tenuta di Nozzole
Via di Nozzole 12
Località Passo dei Pecorai
50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)
http://www.tenutefolonari.com

Tenuta di Nozzole Nozzole Chianti Classico 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with greenish accents and quite a bit of alcohol mingling with spice and some vegetal overtones; there is also some red berry fruit. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity and smooth sweet tannins that do have some cedar accents, and flow into a clean cedar laced finish. I'd perhaps have liked something more from the wine.
1 star

Rodano
Località Rodano 84
53011 Castellina in Chianti
Tel 0577 743 107

Rodano Chianti Classico 2003
Lively almandine ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is bright, with brambly acidity and some greenish overtones mingled with some spice; there's not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, and graceful, with elegant cherry fruit laced with strawberry acidity and slight sweetness, supported by clean smooth tannins that have a very slight burr, and flow into a clean rather languid cherry finish. Pleasant, in a ripe, rather softer key, and because of its softness it will drink well with drier meats. A nice expression of a difficult vintage.
2 stars

Rodano Viacosta Chianti Classico Riserva 2001
Deep black almandine ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is deft, and distant, with red berry fruit supported by peppery spice and clean brambly notes, while there is also underlying acidity. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful red berry fruit that gains direction from deft citric/mineral acidity, and is supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a long clean tart berry fruit finish. Very nice in a traditional key, and will drink quite well with red meats off the grill or out of the oven -- a porterhouse cut would approach perfection here now, and it will also age nicely, for those blessed with the patience necessary to give it time.
88-90

Villa di Geggiano
Via Geggiano 1
Località Pianella
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI)
Tel 0577 357 075

Villa di Geggiano Chianti Classico 2003
Dusky garnet ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is a bit green, with quite a bit of cedar mingled with some spice, and not that much fruit. On the palate it's full and quite smooth, with ample jammy cherry fruit that gains direction from deft wild strawberry acidity, while the tannins that hold it up are ample and smooth, and flow into a clean smooth finish. To be frank, I'm impressed; though there is an underlying warmth it doesn't display the sort of cooked aromas that many of the 2003 Chianti Classico wines do, but rather manages considerable delicacy. Not with the balance of a better vintage, but it is there.
2 stars

Villa Branca
Via Novoli 10
500124 Mercatale Val di pesa (FI)
http://www.villabranca.it

Villa Branca Alef Kasher Chianti Classico 2002
Deep almandine ruby with orange accents and almandine in the rim. The bouquet is brambly, with greenish underbrush - it's like looking into a thorny thicket -- but displays pleasing grace as well. On the palate it's fairly light with tart cherry fruit supported by brambly raspberry-red currant acidity, and by clean splintery tannins that flow into a clean brambly finish. It's light, with a certain supplety to it, of the sort I associate with distance runners who are mostly bone with corded muscle, and though it is thin, it also displays a pleasing grace, and will drink quite nicely with foods, especially grilled meats. A good example of why one should never write off even the worst of vintages.
2 stars

Villa Vignamaggio
Via Petriolo 5
50022 Greve in Chianti
http://www.vignamaggio.com/

Vignamaggio Castello di Monnalisa Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
Almandine black ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with greenish herbal notes mingled with red berry fruit and some heat, and also cedar, alcoholic warmth. On the palate it's ample, and smooth, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by ample sweet tannins that work from beneath the surface as it were but have enough presence to provide good direction, leading into a clean warm plum-laced finish with peppery accents. Drink it with drier meats with gravy -- a touch thin, and also a bit strident, and this is the vintage.
1 star

Vignamaggio Castello di Monnalisa Chianti Classico Riserva 2001
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is intense, with cherry and forest berry fruit laced with cedar; the effect is haunting. On the palate it's full, with rich red berry fruit that gains direction from acidity that's enough to guide but not such that it overshadows, and is supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a rich berry fruit finish. Quite elegant, and though it will do very interesting things in the future, one could already enjoy it now with a porterhouse steak or a rich, tasty roast. Well worth seeking out to set aside for a special occasion.
88-90

2 comments:

Danny said...

Stumbled onto your blog looking of a recipe on About.com

It is amazing how diverse Chianti Classico is becoming. I tend to enjoy the variety somtimes getting a jammy bordeaux like bottle or some wonderful austere ruby sangiovese.

nice notes thank you

Kyle Phillips said...

It is very diverse, and while I enjoy the variety personally, as a wine writer I wish there were more consistency for the sake of the average consumer, who may not have wine notes handy when buying and may therefore come up with something completely unexpected.

Glad you like the notes!

Kyle