11 class-leading Chianti Classicos (Part 1)

We count down the best Chianti Classicos from all quality levels following a comprehensive tasting of wines from this famous Italian region.

NEW-LOGO-ChiantiClassico_nuovo_Logo_19_02_20131The wines featured in this list were selected by a panel of experience tasters at the inaugural Chianti Classico Masters by the drinks business, which was held on Thursday 12 March at London’s Clos Maggiore restaurant.

All the entries were tasted blind during the course of one day using Schott Zwiesel glasses supplied by Wine Sorted. Each sample was scored and discussed before the medal was awarded, with the top Chianti Classicos given Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. Meanwhile, those that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Chianti Classico Master.

The juding panel, which was chaired by myself, comprised Tom Bruce-Gardyne, a wine writer specialising in Italy; Alex Canneti, longtime Italian wine buyer and off-trade director at Berkmann Wine Cellars, where he is also brand manager for Antinori in the UK, and Roberto Della Pietra, native Italian and former head sommelier at Clos Maggiore.

Overall, the judges found themselves repeatedly commenting on the refreshing nature of the wines. The tasting may have included a range of styles, from young to old, big to medium bodied, and those both with and without new oak influence, along with varying proportions of international grapes, but all the samples had a pleasingly Italianate, food-friendly character which results from a combination of bright fruit and firm tannin.

Furthermore, the quality differences between the different tiers was clear as the tasting moved up from Chianti Classico to Riserva and then the new Gran Selezione (which you can read more about here).

In particular, the latter classification, introduced in February 2014 as an additional, uppermost layer to the Chianti Classico quality pyramid, was clearly home to the most impressive wines of the day.

Part 1 of the very best Chianti Classicos in the tasting can be viewed over the following pages, and comprises five wines which all scored a gold medal or above.

Chianti Masters_judges

The judges (clockwise from bottom left): Patrick Schmitt MW; Tom Bruce-Gardyne; Alex Canneti, Roberto Della Pietra

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