MW symposium attendees to get first taste of Chianti top tier

Attendees of next month’s Masters of Wine Symposium will become some of the first in the trade to taste wines from Chianti Classico’s new Gran Selezione classification.

Palazzo Corsini

Palazzo Corsini

The wines will be shown to speakers and attendees at the event in Florence from 15-18 May over a dinner on the first evening at the Palazzo Corsini, a former Papal palace overlooking the River Arno.

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione was launched last year as part of a series of changes to Chianti Classico, including revisions to the DOCG’s emblem – the Black Rooster or Gallo Nero.

Gran Selezione is to be used for Chianti Classico “produced exclusively with grapes from single vineyards or selected from the estate’s best-suited vineyards”, according to the consorzio for the DOCG.

Such wines must also undergo a minimum of 30 months ageing, including three months in bottle, the longest period under Chianti Classico guidelines (the former top tier, Riserva, has a minimum ageing requirement of 24 months).

The new pinnacle is part of an “overhaul” of the denomination, according to the consorzio, which also claimed that Gran Selezione will account for 10% of Chianti Classico production, representing a potential value of €70-100 million.

The consorzio also pointed out that the advent of the Gran Selezione marks the first time that Italian wine legislation has permitted introduction of a new type of wine at the top of a denomination’s quality pyramid.Gran Selezione

Although its arrival was achieved according to the wishes of around 600 members of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, as previously reported by the drinks business, one important Italian wine buyer would like to see the DOCG use its top quality tier to champion individual villages, drawing attention to sub-regional variation and distinctive terroirs.

David Berry Green, Italian buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd, argued on his blog last year that Chianti Classico should remain as the generic style classification for the DOCG and the very best wines should display their village name.

“It’s time to put each one of the Chianti Classico villages firmly on the map by writing them clearly on the labels, notably not as ‘Greve in Chianti’ but simply as ‘Greve’ so distinguishing the wines from the their volume driven neighbours (Chianti).”

He added to db, “One doesn’t talk about Burgundy so much as one talks about the villages. We need to create and talk about these differences.”

For more information on the MW symposium, click here.

For a video outlining the nature of the new Chianti Classico quality tier, see below.

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