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“Chianti Classico Collection” 2023: the tasting of the Chianti Classico vintages 2021 and 2020

In the glasses the wines from “opposite” vintages: 2021 was a hot year, 2020 was more “Chiantigiana” and regular. The best tastings from WineNews
The Chianti Classico Collection 2023

The “Chianti Classico Collection” 2023, on stage today and tomorrow in Florence, at the Stazione Leopolda (edition no. 30), coincides with a brilliant state of the denomination, as evidenced by the numbers, but not only: the turnover of the Gallo Nero has increased by +17% on 2021, +46% when compared to 2020 (data: Maxidata Observatory), with a +6% increase in bottles sold. Also due to the increased profitability of grapes and bulk (+10% on 2021), with the latter price is firmly in the order of 400 euros per hectolitre. Also, in terms of the 2022 bottled product sales mix, the growth of “premium” types (Riserva and Gran Selezione) is now positioned at 45% of production and 56% of turnover. Eight years after its debut, the Gran Selezione is showing signs of significant consolidation. In 2014, there were 33 producers who immediately added it to their label portfolio; today, there are 164. The balance of sales of this type in 2022 is also encouraging, increasing by 30% over 2021, settling steadily at 5% of total Chianti Classico production and generating a turnover of 13% of the denomination’s total value.
Added to this is the rapid progress towards the improvement of the UGA (“Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive” which, let’s remember, for now, have been identified in those of “San Casciano”, “Montefioralle”, “Panzano”, “San Donato in Poggio”, “Greve” and “Lamole” for the Florentine side of the denomination and in those of “Castellina”, “Vagliagli”, “Radda”, “Gaiole” and “Castelnuono Berardenga”, for the Sienese one), which, just in these days, has obtained the definitive institutional approval (for now only on the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione which, in turn, change its composition in the production specification with Sangiovese increasing to 90% and with the remaining 10% that could be made up only of vines of ancient local varieties) a more precise delimitation for homogeneous areas which will lead to the indication of the name of the municipality or of the hamlet on the label, increasing the identity of an area which as a whole occupies an area of 7,200 hectares of vineyards for an average production of over 30 million bottles (with the Consortium bringing together 482 members, of which 345 who bottle Chianti Classico with their own label).
Moving to the glass, the Chianti Classico vintages 2021 and 2020 come from two vintages, in some respects, tendentially opposite. We can include the 2021 vintage among the hot ones, as a result of the now-dominant climate warming, which in our latitudes inevitably affects the crucial harvest months more broadly. This vintage is notable for a decidedly hot summer with only sporadic rain at the end of August and high temperatures, albeit without pronounced heat waves. A general picture that resulted in an early harvest in some cases and produced grapes that were healthy but ripened unevenly. This, in general, but the Chianti Classico which spans a large area where woods frequently coexist with vineyards and average heights are respectable, has also produced intriguing wines in quantities of 265,000 hectoliters. So here it is then, according to the best tastings of the WineNews staff, the Chianti Classico 2021 by Carpineta Fontalpino on the nose with a nuance of well-ripened red fruits to disclose as juicy, lively, and deep on the mouth. The Chianti Classico 2021 from Castellare di Castellina is good, but it’s not a novelty. The aromas are well-profiled and full-bodied. Impeccable execution for the Chianti Classico 2021 of Castello di Ama, confident in its aromatic progression and with a very long finish. The tannin of the Chianti Classico 2021 of Castello di Monsanto is well-defined, with a strong point in its gustatory profile, which is anticipated by a well-focused nose. San Giusto a Rentennano’s Chianti Classico 2021 has mineral character qualitative consistency, at least in its “vintage” version. The intertwining of earth and fruit in Felsina’s Chianti Classico 2021 is enjoyable, with a full and consistent taste. Probably one of the best of the 2021 vintage is the Chianti Classico of La Montanina, slender and lively on the mouth as well as well settled in the aromas of small red fruits and citrus. With a defined and recognizable character, the Chianti Classico “Retromarcia” 2021 by Monte Bernardi, is completed with an energetic and juicy mouth. The Chianti Classico 2021 of Monteraponi was decidedly successful, with a pleasant aromatic expression and a savory and full taste. The Chianti Classico 2021 of the Tenuta di Lilliano is delicious in its interweaving of small fruit and flowers, with a sapid and snappy sip.
Looking at the performance of the 2020 vintage, which we could define as exquisitely “Chiantigiana”, at least in comparison to recent climatic oddities, a cool spring was followed by a hot but not torrid summer, with incisive temperature variations between the day and the night (both in July and August), allowing for good regularity in the grape ripening process. Added to this is the lack of water stress as a result of the rains in June and September, with Sangiovese, a primarily late variety, which has been able to retain almost all of its characteristics, producing balanced and fragrant wines even in the warmest areas. There was a significant drop in production (267,000 hectoliters) compared to 2019 production (production of 306,000 hectoliters), a reduction technically linked to the particular cold of the first days of April, which had an impact on the budding phase of the lives.
Here it is then, among our best tastings, the Chianti Classico 2020 by Bertinga-La Porta di Vertine with well-accented aromas between fragrant fruity pulp and a hint of flowers and undergrowth, to anticipate a decisive, savory, and vibrant sip. Borgo La Stella’s Chianti Classico 2020 is fine and well-balanced with refined aromas and a full-bodied structure. Caparsa’s Chianti Classico 2020 is austere and with an accentuated character, articulated and nervous in its gustatory development. The Chianti Classico 2020 of Castello di Radda is well done, with intense aromas, to accompany a full and persistent taste. The sharp tones in Dievole’s Chianti Classico Petrignano 2020’s gustatory progression result in a fine and well-rhythmic mouth. The Chianti Classico 2020 of Fontodi is powerful and intense, with a savory and contracted taste. Predominant in the aromas of the Chianti Classico 2020 by Isole e Olena is the play between spices, earthy notes, and red fruits, to accompany an intense and vibrant taste. Beautiful vivacity both on the nose and on the mouth in the Chianti Classico 2020 of Podere Terreno alla Via della Volpaia, a characterful and contrasted wine. Another Sangiovese with a strong personality is Pomona’s Chianti Classico 2020, a wine that plays on the contrast between acidity and sweetness in the mouth. The Chianti Classico di Val delle Corti is one of the best versions of the 2020 vintage, with aromas of small red fruits and spicy and earthy touches that on the mouth is an agile, fragrant, sincere, and with a long finish.

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