Chianti Classico is a large appellation that comprises some 17,000 acres of vineyards, along with heavily forested areas. Its high elevations result in a unique expression of the Sangiovese grape. These red wines can be austere when young, but they have a backbone of acidity that makes them ideal partners for food. In the best vintages, such as 2019, their fruit profiles are very pure and evoke black cherry, black currant and blackberry flavors, typically accented by notes of iron, earth, tobacco and wild herbs.
This selection of early-release 2019s shows the high quality of Chianti Classico’s reds, and none are priced above $25.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2018
Score: 91 | $25
Wine Spectator review: Ripe and silky, this red reveals cherry, raspberry, floral and woodsy underbrush aromas and flavors. Firm and fluid, with a lingering, juicy finish. Drink now through 2028. 15,000 cases made, 15,000 cases imported.—B.S.
By Bruce Sanderson