Following on from yesterday’s ‘Sangiovese in situ‘ post, today it’s the turn of Chianti Classico.
This lineup was presented directly following the Sangiovese bracket and follows the same format. Again, comments from Albiera and Paolo are in italics (AA and PM respectively) and these were tasted somewhat hurriedly.
Flight 2 Chianti
On the origins of Isole de Olena, which was a heavily worked share cropping farm growing olives, grapes, vegetables etc:
PM: ‘Isole de Olena was once called that bottomless ditch’
On vintages in Chianti:
AA: ’13 was on the cool side. 12 was rather dry in August. 11 tending to warmth’
PM: ‘Spring is usually cool in Chianti. Not unusual to get snow in April. Hot and wet come end of May and June.’
Interestingly, only 10% of Chianti Classico is planted to grapes, with much of the region still given over to forests. Chianti is actually the name of the hills.
One point that Paolo did make is the influence of soil types. The two main soils are Galestro (limestone and sandstone) and Albarese (clay limestone). In Galestro soils the vines are more stressed and weaker, though rarely ‘very stressed’. In the Albarese soils the extra clay means the water holding is better, but when the stress comes later it is much more worse (and more destructive).
Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2013
Solid wine this. Quite thick and dense for what is an intro level Chianti. So solid, if maybe a little soapy and light at the edges. You can see a prominent oak imprint here too. Not complex or necessarily fine, but really gives a genuine Chianti hit. Maybe a fraction warm? 17.7/20, 91/100.
Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Tenuta Tignanello 2013
Produced from the Tignanello estate and a ‘very old label’. Milky oak nose. Sexy, expensive oak. Cloves, spice. Oak. Underneath it’s mega tight, the odd rather pretty cherry fruit poking through, but otherwise mega tight. Lovely light finish but long and tannic. How patient can you be? Score is conservative as it is still so so tight. 18/20, 93/100+
Antinori Badia A Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010
Coffee oak, lovely cherry spice with a little herbs and balsamic. Old school charm here. Aged in some larger 500l litre barrels. Moreish, but you’ve got to appreciate some rusticity in the wines. I find the alcohol sticks out a bit here too. Lesser wine than the wines either side, but not without appeal. 17.5/20, 91/100.
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2013
PM: We should not forget Canaiolo. It adds a little spice – the perfect complement. We also include some (3-4%) Syrah.
Tasted alongside the Peppoli. Lighter, more lucid, more red fruit here – indeed it’s quite juicy, the oak influence minimal, the pure fruit heading towards raspberry. Not inferior, and both are on a similar quality line. Luscious and lithe, it’s not full or complex, but quite feminine and pretty. Nice intro to a different, pretty style of Chianti. 17.7/20, 92/100.
Isole e Olena Cepparello 2011
Cepparello is actually the name of the valley where the vineyard sits. Bottled under screwcap since 2005. Cepparello could be classed as a Chianti Classico now since the rules have changed (more Isole e Olena here).
Coffee and cherry aromatics. Oak gives this a real flesh. Flashy and open, warm and coffeed. Reminds me of some of the better 08 Aussie reds, though the tannins aren’t ferocious. Not my favourite Cepparello, but no doubting the appeal here. I find the caramel edge a bit distracting, but this is still such classy red wine. 17.7/20, 92/100.
Isole e Olena Gran Selezione 2010
PM: ‘(I’m) not enthusiastic about Gran Selezione. Not against it, but working on sub zones would have been more interesting to me… The move to eliminate white grapes could be a little radical as they do offer some flexibility. I added some Trebbiano to my 2011 Cepparello. Just a touch…. Chianti was planted to 3000 vines per hectare. My new plantings (are) much denser than that. Next move will be a single vineyard wine.
Originally this was slated to be released in 2018, but now in September this year.
Really compact and closed. Still! Nutty oak. So very closed! Patience patience. Lovely texture though. Such power and length underneath! Dark red fruits and a wall of tannins. Is it a better wine as a Gran Selezione? Maybe for a long term prospect. Bloody long term. 18.5/20, 94/100+