2016 Chianti Classico – A Modern Day Benchmark
I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about Chianti Classico and its wines. My July trip included a number of truly memorable estate visits, two unforgettable verticals, and the thrill of discovering a handful of wineries that were new to me. The top 2016s have turned out to be just as extraordinary as I had hoped they would be, and the 2017s, while less consistent, have plenty to offer as well.
The Magnificent 2016s….
Earlier this year, in my article Chianti Classico 2015 & 2016: In the Right Place at the Right Time I wrote “A balanced growing season with no shock events produced a set of truly exceptional, highly promising wines. The 2016s are distinguished by their superb aromatic presence, silky tannins, layered fruit and fabulous sense of harmony. The 2016s I have tasted so far point to a high-quality vintage that may very well turn out to be profound.” Those sentiments, originally expressed after having tasted the straight Chianti Classicos very much ring true for the Riservas and other top-tier 2016s, the best of which are simply extraordinary. Near-perfect conditions with long hours of sun, well-timed rains and no excesses resulted in relaxed, drawn out harvest under warm days and cool nights, exactly the conditions in which Sangiovese thrives. Although the 2016s in this report are mostly at the mid and upper tiers of producers’ ranges, I would be remiss in not pointing out the sweet spot in 2016, and that is at the Riserva level, not Gran Selezione (which I will discuss later), but the straight Riservas, in other words the wines just above straight Chianti Classico. The best of these wines offer the consumer extraordinary quality and value.
By: Antonio Galloni | Vinous
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