Apr 08, 2019
In February I returned to Tuscany to take part in the annual Antiprime di Toscana.
This year, during the Chianti Classico Collection, the 2017 DOCGs were being released, but also shown were a selection of 2016 DOCGs, plus 2016 Riservas and Gran Seleziones (and some previous examples, the choice was up to the individual producer).
Hundreds of wines are poured for media and buyers in a well organized room overseen by dozens of sommeliers.
What to taste is up to the individual.
It was held as always, at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, and this year 197 of Chianti Classico’s prestigious estates personally attended.
In total, I tasted 175 wines.
Here are my top 63 picks; alphabetically and by vintage/style.
Badia a Coltibuono: (Barrel sample)
Brilliant ruby with high-toned cherry notes, vanilla, cedar, strawberry and roses; a pristine nose with some liquorice hints. Somewhat chewy, but like the palate it is fresh, firm and pretty wine, elegant with a liquorice, orange peel finish.
Banfi-Fonte Alla Selva:
Bright and bouncy on the nose, lively red fruit and good purity and length, overall. Some woodsy/botanical undertones on the nose.
Brancaia: (Barrel sample)
More closed than others in the lineup, but pristine high-toned red berry and cherry notes, nice faint spiciness and earthiness, but pure. Firm, tight tannins are sweet and well managed. Good freshness overall.
Carpineta Fontalpino-Dofana: (Barrel sample)
A bouncy and youthful wine; red fruit, leaning toward raspberries, is layered with liquorice, pipe tobaccco and cherries. Palate mimics the nose. The finish is firm, has very goof structured, and well developed sweet grape tannins.
Carpineto: Bouncy red berries and forest fruits, quite plush and full on the nose. Palate: deeper fruits, more structure and masculine style, very posture overall. Stylish, a real keeper.
Cigliano: (Barrel sample)
Aromas lean more to black cherry here; the entry is silky, lively and orderly fruit on palate. Good finesse and sooty tannins, a pretty wine.
Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano: (Barrel sample)
Beautiful weight and texture, structure, balance and power but also elegant. Good purity overall.
Pretty red fruits, bright and high-toned nose with anise undertones. The palate is beautifully structured. It has polished but firm chalky tannins and grip on finish.
Guidi 1929 San Giorgio allo Spadaio:
Expect a fine chalky nose with red fruit undertones. A bright palate, showing good levity; more feminine in style but with good firmness on finish.
Isole E Olena: (barrel sample)
Bright red cherries, pretty floral, botanical and spice aromas lead to a. lively palate to match the nose. More power in the mouth than the nose leads you to expect. Good overall purity and grippy textural tannins on the finish.
Bright but earthy with juicy strawberry and fine spice notes. It is feminine and fresh, nose and palate, is juicy expressive and pretty. Easy and approachable, Antinori. Even the tannins are well-managed and this one easier to drink immediately than others.
Querceto di Castellina L’aura:
Fresh red fruits and spices are woven with dried floral notes. Nice bright fruit on the palate that gives way to high acidity and chalky tannins.
Ricasoli Brolio: (Barrel sample)
A pretty wine, plummy with cherry and sweet chocolaty notes. Lifted fruit and floral appear on the palate; it has polished grape tannins and nice levity. An absolute beauty.
Tenuta La Novella-Casa di Colombo: (Barrel sample)
Very Pretty high-toned fruit on nose; raspberry and violets with some vanilla. Very sweet and exuberant and approachable now; tannins are sooty.
Violets, dried, earthy notes and more restrained darker berry fruits appear on the nose. It is silky; has a sensual texture on the entry, then powerful cocoa tannins kick in, firm. Nice juxtaposition.
Vallone di Cecione: (Barrel sample)
Darker in hue, with aromas of black cherry and vanilla. Impressive depth of fruit and flavours, spice and pipe tobacco. Silky palate. Mid-palate is a bit soft, but is saved by expressive fruit at the end.
Fine palate and nose, restrained and juicy, quite tightly wound still, the vintage shows here, much more acid. Elegant.
Casanova di Bricciano-Casanova:
Overall, freshness and lift. Expect bright red fruit, a nice juicy palate and good expressiveness. Seamless and complete. Very nice.
Attractive minty notes and tangy red fruits, pretty violet and rose notes. Palate is equally pretty. Great weight and texture, approachable with impressive weight. Lovely.
The nose is pretty, lively and juicy; aromas of flowers with raspberries, and strawberry confiture. A slick entry, gets more pleasantly bitter and toasty on the mid-palate. A structured wine, bold and lengthy with good complexity and depth.
La Madonnina/Triacca-Bello Stento:
Floral and fragrant sour cherry and violets.
Flavours of licorice and red plums lead to dusty cocoa tannins.
La Montanina: (Barrel sample)
Expect pretty cherry aromas and a vibrant and lifted palate with great freshness, bouncy red fruit and impressive purity. The polished sooty tannins are notably silky.
La Querce Seconda/Niccolo Bernabei:
Good weight here, balance and purity of fruit. A spiced finish, cocoa and tobacco leaf flavours. Dry fine grape tannins, but a lifted and refreshing wine overall.
Earthier overall with bright red fruit and savoury undertones. Good balance and weight. Notable firmness on the palate with juicy red fruits and tannins that are chalky and slightly grippy.
Cherries and wet earth, tealeaf and spice aromas lead to a firm palate with good balance and a classic appealing bitterness on finish. Solid style, classic and pure.
Interesting chalky and mineral notes wrapped in dusty red plums; quite fleshy on the nose. It has great acidity and textural chewiness; it’s alanced and bright.
Purity on the nose: mineral notes and sweet red cherries. Bright and juicy in the mouth with good length. Silky but firm grape tannins--great structure overall.
Smells like sweet and juicy cherries, brown spice and pretty floral notes. Mouth is bright, bouncy and lifted. Dry chalky tannins, not bitter at all.
Podere L’Aja: (Barrel sample)
Nice freshness of red fruit, cedar and fine spice aromas. Silky entry, loads of acidity and polished chalky tannins.
Classic cherry and spice, botanical and leather aromas morph into a. clean bright palate with chalky tannins. Overall, good fruit expression and juicy character with a lengthy finish.
Principe Corsini/Villa la Corti-Le Corti:
Wow—very effusive nose. Bright summer berries, vanilla and roses. It’s undoubtedly a pretty wine; feminine and finessed, lifted and bouncy with dry, chalky tannins.
Querceto di Castellina-L’aura:
Some strange yougurty, lactic notes appear, alongside tart red fruit. The palate wins me over; it is sweet fruity and lifted and delightful. The tannins are chalky.
Quercia al Poggio:
Pure bouncy red fruit on nose with a notable mineral component. Equally sweet and bright on the palate with excellent fruit expression. A very complete and complex wine with excellent length.
Bigger and mouthfilling, leaning more toward dark cherry and some dried fruits and figgy notes. Broader than the most of the other 2016s; it’s more modern too, but still very good.
This is a very bouncy wine with sweet with vanilla, spicy licorice and fresh raspberry aromas. A sensual mouth: it is sweet and charming, due to a good amount of canaiolo and colorino blended with the Sangiovese. Lovely, sleek, feminine and delicious.
On initial sniff it is quite closed except for earth and mineral notes layered with spice. It has a firm palate with chalky tannins bright red tangy fruit. Silky and elegant, bright and expressive.
Terra di Seta:
Cherry liquor, vanilla and sweet spice aromas morph into a modern, plush and delicious palate. The vanilla bourbon on palate, leads me to assume the use of barrique: tasty but also more consumer friendly.
Aromas of cherry twizzler and vanilla. A modern style with good structure and acidity, it’s approachable has good power and chalky tannins. The finish trails cocoa and tea leaf.
Villa di Geggiano:
Light red fruit, fine spice and some herbal notes on the nose. The palate is fresh and bouncy; sweet red fruit is prominent. Good structure and balance and great bones overall. Classic.
Villa S Andrea:
Cherry and licorice, strawberry and vanilla aromas lead to a slick entry, with oodles of fruit and fine spices. It is a complete wine: acid and fruit, check. A complete and contemporary wine.
Expect spice and cherry and vanilla aromas. The palate is bright and juicy, current and approachable, but balanced. Stylish and delightful, overall.
Fragrant baking spices woven with sweet fruit and licorice aromas lead to a mouthfilling and modern palate. Good weight, a bit low on acidity, so I wouldn’t hold this one too long. It is however a fulfilling wine; drinking well now and expressive. Ripe and bright—a nice combo.
Expressive fruit and spice, vanilla, licorice and floral on the nose. The palate is juicy and rounded, ripe yet buoyed by acidity. A complete wine, drinking well now with plentiful fruit and a firm finish.
Caparsa-Doccio a Matteo:
Good plush and ripe nose: red fruits, spice and leather, tealeaf and botanical. A slightly bitter character makes it a good savoury food wine. It’s a complete wine, very firm and somewhat astringent.
Baking spices and cherries, vanilla, some oak, hints of nuts and cocoa. The palate is weighty and slick, balanced and bright, and has good structure.
Castellare di Castellina-Castellare:
Expect a juicy nose: cherries and tart red berries, sweet spices, pipe tobacco and licorice. The palate has a glycerol and boozy quality, but the great acidity lifts it and maintains the bright fruit. Chalky tannins are integrated nicely; the finish is long.
Vanilla, cherry and spices are demonstrated on a very pretty nose. Good weight and acidity and spice in the mouth. It’s all in here: structure, balance and polished silky tannins are integrated. Complete.
Sweet high-toned red fruits are layered with vanilla, violets and pipe tobacco. Good balanced, great acidity, complete and well composed. Wonderful.
Istine-Levigne: (Barrel sample)
Sweet and spicy with ripe red fruits, tobacco pipe and anise aromas. Good brightness and balance in the mouth; it is spicy and earthy and classic. It boasts great bones, is replete and has silky and sweet tannins with a savoury undercurrent.
Le Filigare-Maria Vittoria: (Barrel sample)
Sweet and juicy fruit, espresso, spice, vanilla and tealeaf aromas and flavours. Expect good power and intensity overall; a complete wine.
Marchesi Antinori-Marchesi Antinori:
Good intensity overall with sweet fruit on the nose and palate. Notable structure, balance and weight. The texture is smooth—it’s a solid all around wine.
Maurizio Alongi-Vigna Barbischio:
Fleshy cherries and fragrant spice, fragrant on the nose. The palate is supple with generous fruit that is both expressive and bracing. Excellent showing.
Vanilla, sweet, violets and raspberry/cherry on the nose. Contemporary palate, plush with sweet fruit and spice but with good acidity. Deftly handled, could use more time to age but (especially the fruit) is attractive right now.
Principe Corsini/Villa le Corti-Cortevacchia:
Attractive aromas of vanilla, spices and sweet summer berries are echoed on the palate. It is youthful and exuberant; the chalky tannins are dry and firm.
Rocca della Macie-Famiglia Zingarelli:
All in: a sweet plump palate offers good spice and bright acidity. It is deftly balanced and has silky chalky tannins.
Tenuta di Arceno
Contemporary, sweet and plush fruit, an attractive weight buoyed by acidity. Fruit, spice and flavour; check and balance. Delicious.
Tenuta di Campomaggio: (Barrel sample)
Expect licorice and roses on nose. The palate is sweet and plush but is also balanced and has all the components in check.
Gran Selezione 2016s
Conte Capponi/Villa Calcinaia-Vigna Bastignano:
Amazing palate, lively, pretty and balanced. Good levity but also powerful with grippy tannins. Of the three Conte Capponis, this one shows the most complexity and completeness.
Conte Capponi/Villa Calcinaia-Vigna La Fornace:
A more approachable version, it offers purple fruits, violets and vanilla. Sweet spices, lively fruit and coco tannins. Good drinkability here.
Conte Capponi/Villa Calcinaia-Vigna Contessa Luisa:
Silky, affluent fruit and spice with licorice, and cedar chips aromas. It is intense; the palate is inky, flavours of vanillin oak, and spice. Good balance, structure and polish.
Fattoria Le Fonte:
Bright aromas of cherries and brown spices with licorice. Expect great posture, the tannins show oak but are sweet, polished and dry.
Gran Selezione 2015s
Antica Fattoria Machiavelli-Vigna di Fontalle:
Perfumed and intense on the nose: vanilla, violets and cherries. It has a nice slick entry. It is potent and concentrated. The extra age on this wine shows in its woven demeanour.
Bright high-toned fruit; expressive and elegant with good finesse, overall.
~Daenna Van Mulligen