New vintages: Chianti Classico 2016 and Chianti Classico 2015
The Chianti Classico Collection, the preview of the new vintages from the wine region Chianti Classico between Florence and Siena, takes place in Florence every year in the beautiful former train hangar Stazione Leopolda. It is one of the Tuscan “anteprima”, or “anteprime” as it more correctly should be.
You should not go there if:
- You are allergic to tweed (the vintages may vary but not the fashion among Tuscan wine producers)
- You do not like to spit while trying wine
- You dislike the grape sangiovese
- You have just bleached your teeth
- You think it is boring to talk about grape varieties, vintage variations, sediments and other wine-related topics even during the lunch break.
None of the 250 wine journalists from thirty different countries seemed to have problems with the above when they had the chance to try over 659 wines from 186 different wine producers during two days.
This is the one of the articles in the series on this year’s Tuscan anteprima season. Read more:
- Anteprima in Tuscany: Chianti Classico Collection 2018
- Vino Nobile anteprima: New vintages of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
- Brunello di Montalcino 2013, a classic year to wait for; the anteprima report
I concentrated on Chianti Classico 2016, where many producers chose to have barrel samples of wines not yet bottled, and Chianti Classico 2015.
After two days of tasting and spitting sitting at a table, while fifty super-fast sommeliers ran back and forth with the bottles, I can only confirm how far Chianti Classico has come. The consistency of the wines is very high and it is a pleasure to see such a large and nuanced range of wines made with sangiovese.
Also, the economic trend is positive for the wine region. The US market is the largest accounting for 33 percent while Italy is the second with 23 percent. Scandinavia has 5 percent after Germany’s 12 percent, and Canada’s 8 percent.
The 2016 vintage
Expectations were high on the 2016 wines. It is a vintage that is considered good or excellent with a warm summer and good temperature differences between day and night. Rain came in late August and early September. The wines are juicy with lots of fruit, high vibrating acidity, and they are more elegant than powerful. Chianti Classicos from the 2016 vintage are more approachable than those from a cooler year and the wines have the opportunity to reach a wider audience who often might consider sangiovese as too harsh.
My favourites among the 68 wines of the vintage Chianti Classico 2016
Badia a Coltibuono
Herbal tones, violet, elegant tannins and well balanced, not as full-bodied as other years but instead a great expression of this vintage.
Borgo La Stella (barrel sample)
Red cherry aroma, juniper berries, juicy, high acidity with very apparent tannins. If it settles down after bottling this Chianti Classico will be excellent.
Castellare di Castellina – Castellare
Soft tannins, juicy with plums and wild herbs, lots of fruit, more full-bodied than many other.
Castello di Fonterutoli (barrel sample)
A Chianti Classico that seems to be following a textbook recipe but without getting boring, well-balanced fruit and acidity where the tannins give a good body to lean back against without taking over. A safe bet.
Cigliano (barrel sample)
Floral rosy aromas, nuanced and complex flavours of herbs, cherries, spices with vibrating acidity and tannins that make the wine come alive. Long lovely finish with a great saltiness.
I Fabbri – Lamole
A lighter and wilder Chianti Classico with soft tannins, violet and hints of tar. Coming from the high-altitude vineyards of Lamole in the municipality of Greve in Chianti.
Isole e Olena
Ideally, I would not spit this wine. I even had to disturb my colleague at the table next to me and tell him how good this wine was! Paolo de Marchi of Isole Olena has done it again. The glass is filled with red berries, raspberries, cherries which is followed by a wonderful fresh acidity and elegant tannins. Very good.
Monteraponi (barrel sample)
Elegant aromas of rose petals and violet, in the background red berries, in the mouth it is the elegance that takes over with nice complexity, spice, tar, and a hint of saltiness and a tight acidity. As always, Monteraponi exhibits high quality with its Chianti Classico from Radda in Chianti.
Chianti Classico 2015
The 2015 vintage can be summarized as a year when everyone was happy, both the grapes and the wine producers. They may be worth it after almost disappearing in the rain the previous year. The 2015 vintage offered perfect weather conditions and produced generous quantities of fruit.
The wines show a very good body and all that you associate with sangiovese is enhanced without losing elegance. Last year, I thought the wines from 2015 had a tendency to a bit over the top, while this year the wines seem calmer and more balanced. The Chianti Classico 2015 is of extremely high quality and it was not easy to choose favourites among all the goodies that were on offer.
Elegant tannins and tons of red berries. Full-bodied but at the same time elegant tannins that keep the wine in control. A safe bet.
Borgo La Stella
Violet aromas, blue plums, spicy, the oak is quite present, in a nice way, without taking over. A surprise.
Inviting aromas with sweet fruit that open up to show spicy and peppery tones, full of good acidity and elegant long finish. A favourite.
Castellinuzza e Piuca
Traditional small farm in Lamole, in the municipality of Greve in Chianti. Violets and wild meadow-flower aromas, light and juicy, during a dinner this is a wine that is gone in a minute.
Isole e Olena
Fruit driven, straightforward without complications where the character of the Sangiovese comes to its fullest. Very good.
La Querce Seconda
Swedish Linda Sandqvist and her husband Niccoló run the organic winery Querce Seconda. Their Chianti Classico 2015 is a rustic wine with “lots of everything”. Fruity, with medium tannins and overall a generous sangiovese.
Piero Lanza in Radda in Chianti is one of my favourite producers in Chianti Classico. His wines respect the terroir and the vintage and always maintain high standards. What can you say about 2015 more than it is a really good wine, where sangiovese plays on many strings in harmony? Do not miss Poggerino’s Chianti Classico 2015 Riserva Bugialla which is incredibly good.
Filled with aromas of ripe sweet fruit, herbs and spices, long delicious finish. Very good.
Terreno Asofia (barrel sample)
Swedish-owned il Terreno´s Asofia is herbaceous and spicy wine with hints of black tea. Typical sangiovese flavour with cherry and cedar wood. Moderate tannins and with a fruit that is enveloped in light vanilla tones. Long finish. Looking forward to trying it again when the wine is bottled. It is also worth knowing that Isole e Olena’s former cellar master just started working at il Terreno, who then together with the oenologist Federico Staderini and Sofia Ruhne from the owner family become Terreno’s leading figures. It will be very exciting to see what happens on il Terreno in the near future.
Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. Asa writes regularly on wine and food in Swedish and Italian publications as well as online.