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Chianti (Wine Styles, Best Wines, Prices 2021)

By
Anthony Zhang
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December 28, 2020

Want to know everything about Chianti wine before buying one for your collection?

The Chianti area of Tuscany is known for its olive groves, extra-virgin olive oil, and of course, the delicious Chianti red wine!

While its tangy acidity and intense flavors make it a popular drink among all, wine collectors and investors admire the wine for its excellent aging potential.

Take a Chianti wine tour and discover everything about this Italian wine - from its colorful history and food pairings to the best Chianti wines in 2021

Also, find out the easiest way to buy them.


Further reading

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This Article Contains

  1. 1986 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 
  2. 2001 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 
  3. 2006 Castello di Volpaia Il Puro Casanova Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 
  4. 2010 Felsina Berardenga 'Colonia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG
  5. 1977 Machiavelli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 
  6. 1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 
  7. 2016 Castello di Ama Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 
  8. 2006 Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 
  9. 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 
  10. 2015 Il Caggio IPSUS Chianti Classico DOCG 

A Quick Intro to Chianti Wine

Chianti

Chianti is a medium to full-bodied red wine from the Chianti region of Tuscany in central Italy.

Made from the Sangiovese grape, Chianti can be a varietal wine or a blend of Sangiovese and other white and red grapes. The wine is admired for its classic savory taste of red fruits, spicy aromas, bright acidity, and firm tannins. 

Did you know Chianti was a white wine region that gradually evolved into a red one? 

Let’s dive in and explore all about it.

A Brief History of Chianti

Chianti aron Ricasoli

Viticulture has existed in the Chianti region (near Florence) since the 13th century. During this period, the merchants of Castellina, Gaiole, and Radda formed the ”League of Chianti” to promote local wines.

Let’s go through the main events that shaped modern Chianti wine.

  • The origins of Chianti dates back to the 13th century when it was a white wine. But, the grape composition changed over the years, and it slowly evolved into a red.
  • In 1716, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, declared the towns of Radda, Gaiole, Castellina, Greve, and Panzano as the official Chianti wine region.
  • Following this, Baron Ricasoli, the second Italian Prime Minister, created the first Chianti red wine recipe in 1872. It contained 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 10% Malvasia, and 5% other local red grape varieties. 
  • The success of the “Ricasoli formula” led to the mass-production of Sangiovese grapes, and the quality of the grape deteriorated. It led to Chianti being known as a cheap squat-bottle vino in straw baskets (called fiasco.)
  • The 1924 Consortium of Black Rooster (Gallo Nero) aimed to protect authentic Chianti wines by checking the production quality of Sangiovese.
  • In 1967, the DOC regulations by the Italian government tried to establish the "Ricasoli formula". 

But many winemakers didn’t want to follow this. They created wines with Sangiovese grapes blended with international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. 

These wines that were initially called “vino da tavola” or "super Chiantis" are the revered Super Tuscan wines as we know them today! Among the best known Super Tuscans are Tignanello (the first Super Tuscan), Solaia, Masseto, and Ornellaia.

  • With their success, the Government modified DOCG regulations, and many of these vino da tavola wines came to be labeled as Chiantis. 

The Grape Varieties of the Chianti Blend

Chianti Sangiovese Grapes

According to the DOC regulations, Chianti wines must have at least 70% of the Sangiovese grape variety (80% for Chianti Classico.) 

Other red wine grapes like Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are also allowed in the Chianti blend. For white grapes, the winemaker can add up to 10% Malvasia or Trebbiano. 

However, Chianti Classico winemaking regulations don’t allow any white grapes in their blend.

Also read: Explore the most elegant sparkling wines from across the globe.

Now let’s take a quick Chianti wine tour.

The Chianti Wine Region

The Chianti wine region extends from Florence in the north to Siena in the south. It stretches up to Valdarno in the east, and to Val d’Elsa in the west. 

The Chianti wine region has two DOCGs under it - Chianti DOCG and Chianti Classico.

1. Chianti DOCG

Chianti DOCG

Chianti DOCG covers the province of Pisa in the west, Florentine hills in the north, the Arezzo province in the east, and the Siena hills in the south. The appellation has seven subregions.

  • Montalbano: Located in the Prato province to the west of Florence, this Chianti region is known for its soft and scented wines with higher portions of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chianti Montalbano
  • Chianti Rufina: Chianti Rufina, one of the smallest wine regions in Chianti, is located to the east of Florence. Chianti Rufina produces high-quality Chiantis admired for their intricate and concentrated flavors. Apart from Sangiovese, Colorina is another popular grape here.
Chianti Rufina
  • Colli Fiorentini: Bordering Florence in the north, Colli Fiorentini produces easy-drinking, well-rounded, and fruity Chiantis. White grapes constitute only 2% of total vineyard production.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini
  • Colli Aretini: This Chianti subzone is situated in eastern Tuscany. Colli Aretini wines are light-bodied and have bright acidity.
Chianti Colli Aretini
  • Colli Senesi: The southernmost Chianti zone, Colli Senesi encompasses the famous wine regions of Tuscany - Montepulciano, Montalcino, and San Gimignano. Senesi’s wines exhibit a strong fruity character. 
Chianti Colli Senesi
  • Montespertoli: Montespertoli in southwest Florence was established in 1984, and is the youngest Chianti subzone. It produces lush and balanced Sangiovese wines.
Chianti Montespertoli
  • Colline Pisane: The westernmost subregion, this Chianti zone is located near the sea, which gives it a distinctive terroir. Its wines tend to be softer, lighter, and less tannic than other Chiantis.
Chianti Colline Pisane

2. Chianti Classico DOCG

Chianti Classico DOCG

The Chianti Classico area is the oldest in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany and covers the towns of Radda, Gaiole, Castellina, Greve, and Panzano. The Classico region was expanded beyond these towns in the 1930s and finally became a separate appellation in 1984.

Chianti Classico DOCG has nine communes:

  • Barberino Val d’Elsa
Chianti Barberino
  • Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti
  • Castelnuovo Berardenga
Chianti Castelnuovo
  • Gaiole in Chianti
Chianti Gaiole
  • Greve in Chianti
Chianti Greve
  • Poggibonsi
Chianti Poggibonsi
  • Radda in Chianti
Chianti Radda
  • San Casciano Val di Pesa
Chianti San Casciano Val di Pesa
  • Tavarnelle Val di Pesa
Chianti Tavarnelle Val di Pesa

Chianti Classico has its own aging regulations. For Classico wines, there are three quality tiers.

  • Annata or standard Chianti: Aged for at least 12 months
Chianti Annata
  • Riserva wine: Aged for 24 months
Chianti Riserva wine
  • Gran Selezione (Superiore) wine: Aged for at least 30 months
Chianti Gran Selezione

Chianti Classico wine is characterized by its traditional Gallo Nero (black rooster) symbol and intense red and black fruit flavors and spicy aromas.

Also read: Build a beautiful wine cellar in your home with this comprehensive guide to designing a wine cellar

Now, how is Chianti Wine classified?

Classifications of Chianti Wine

Based on the time spent in barrels, Chianti wines (Chianti and Chianti Classico) are classified into:

  • Chianti Normale (Basic Chianti): Aged for 6 months
Chianti Normale
  • Chianti Superiore: Aged for a year
Chianti Superiore
  • Chianti Riserva: Aged for 2 years
Chianti Riserva

Taste and Characteristics of Chianti Wine

Taste and Characteristics of Chianti Wine

A typical Chianti DOC wine is medium to full-bodied, dry, and has an average ABV of 12% to 14%. In the glass, it showcases a ruby red color. An aged Chianti will have hues of burnt orange. 

There’s no surprise that the Sangiovese grape is the reason behind Chianti’s savory fruit flavors.

Chianti wine is characterized by its notes of red fruits, dried herbs, balsamic vinegar, and smoke. You’ll also notice flavors of sour cherry, espresso, and sweet tobacco in an aged bottle of Chianti.

Food Pairings with Chianti Wine

Chianti Food Pairings

Chianti’s red fruit flavors, high acidity, and firm tannin make it a perfect wine to be paired with rich fatty dishes. 

You can pair it with pasta, cheese, or a classic Sienese dish like Crostini Neri.

Read more: Find the right wine glass to serve your delicious Chianti.

Best Chianti Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)

Chianti Best Wines 2021

Here are our favorite wines from the Chianti and Chianti Classico region:

1. 1986 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy

1986 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy
A fully mature Tuscan wine, this Chianti Classico has savory notes of dark fruits. Wine tasting reveals aging notes of dusty leather, earth, and mushrooms. Extremely silky on the palate, it leaves a lasting finish of tart cherries. 
Price of 1986 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: $396

2. 2001 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy

2001 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy

A very graceful Chianti Classico by the prestigious Chianti producer, Fontodi, this 2001 vintage is developing aging notes. 

On the nose, earthy notes dominate the aromas, while the palate has bright acidity with fading tannins. It is a well-rounded wine that leaves a licorice afternote.

Price of 2001 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy: $130

3. 2006 Castello di Volpaia Il Puro Casanova Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy

2006 Castello di Volpaia Il Puro Casanova Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy

The Fattoria Castello di Volpaia winery specializes in wine made from the Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grape. 

Wine tasting of this Chianti Classico wine gives off cherry and violet notes with vanilla and cacao hints. This Italian wine is soft and silky on the palate and has a long finish.

Price of 2006 Castello di Volpaia Il Puro Casanova Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Italy: $231

4. 2010 Felsina Berardenga 'Colonia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

2010 Felsina Berardenga 'Colonia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

This highly tannic Italian wine from the Chianti region is a deep ruby red and has a vibrant nose. The bright cherry flavors are balanced by the subtle oak barrel aging notes.

Price of 2010 Felsina Berardenga 'Colonia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG: $138

5. 1977 Machiavelli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 

1977 Machiavelli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 

This medium-bodied Tuscan red wine has intense cherry flavors with subtle flint, herbs, tobacco, vanilla, and chocolate notes. The slightly acidic and silky tannins give this Italian wine a full-rounded palate. 

Price of 1977 Machiavelli Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG: $118

Also read: Read this simple guide to estimate the calories in your favorite red wine glass.

6. 1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

The 1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG is a rare red wine with orange hues. This classic Sangiovese wine has savory red fruit flavors with mature notes of aging. 

Price of 1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG: $230

7. 2016 Castello di Ama Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

2016 Castello di Ama Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

A beautifully elegant wine, the 2016 Castello di Ama Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico has rich and intense aromas of wild cherry, smoke, licorice, and tobacco. The palate reveals firm tannins which gives the wine a great aging potential.

Price of 2016 Castello di Ama Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG: $207

8. 2006 Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 

2006 Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 

The 2006 Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. This Italian wine has intense aromas of black cherries, violet, mineral, and sweet spices. 

Price of 2006 Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG: $282

Also read: A sweet wine lover? Explore the world of delectable Moscato Wine.

9. 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 

This Chianti Classico producer has used 8% Syrah grape variety in the blend. It has a layered and complex palate with dark stone fruit, undergrowth, spices, herbs, and oak notes. 

Price of 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG: $255

10. 2015 Il Caggio IPSUS Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy

2015 Il Caggio IPSUS Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy

A single vineyard wine, this 2015 Chianti Classico has an elegant bouquet of cherry, dried fruit, herbs, and spices. It has firm tannins and a long polished finish.

Price of 2015 Il Caggio IPSUS Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: $383

Now, for the big question:

Should You Invest in Chianti Wine?

Invest in Chianti Wine

From easy-drinking table wines to high-quality collectibles, Chianti has a lot to offer.

Apart from the highly coveted Super Tuscan wines like Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto, Tignanello, and Solaia, the Chianti Classico DOCG wines (especially Chianti Superiore and Riserva wines) are hugely popular among serious collectors due to their ability to age slowly. It will take a Chianti Classico Superiore 10-15 years to reach its maturity. 

Apart from Chianti, you can also invest in a range of other collectible Italian wines.

But how do you find the right wine by the best Chianti producer (or any others, for that matter?)

Your best bet would be to invest through a trusted wine investment company like Vinovest that helps you choose, buy, store, and sell authentic collectible wines.

Buy Chianti and Other Collectible Wines through Vinovest

Vinovest is a leading wine investment company that helps you buy, store, and sell authenticated wines online from across the globe - be it a Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany or a sought-after Pinot Noir from Bordeaux. 

How Does it Work?

Investing through Vinovest requires only four quick steps. 

  • Sign up on the Vinovest website.
  • Share your risk appetite and investment preferences.
  • Fund your account (minimum $1000)
  • Start investing!

Benefits

Here are a few reasons why you should invest through Vinovest.

1. AI-Driven Platform

Vinovest’s AI-driven platform makes buying and selling super-easy. You can buy your Tempranillo, Eiswein, or any other wine with just a few clicks. 

2. Best Prices

Vinovest buys your wine directly from wineries, global wine exchanges, and wine auctions, ensuring that you get the best price for your Screaming Eagle and other prized bottles.

3. Access to a Deep Wine Network

Vinovest gives you access to a deep wine network of rare wineries, limited edition wines, and upcoming vineyards worldwide.

4. Optimal Storage

Your sweet red wine or any other wine bottle is stored in bonded warehouses with optimal temperature, humidity, light, and vibration.

5. Provenance and Authenticity

Vinovest’s wine experts ensure the provenance of every bottle you buy. So, you don’t have to worry about a counterfeit bottle ever again!

6. Insurance

Your sweet white wine and every other bottle you buy through Vinovest come with a full-coverage insurance policy. 

7. Low Overall Price

Vinovest charges a minimal fee of 2.85% (2.5% on a portfolio of $50,000).

This fee includes buying, storage, authentication, full-coverage insurance policy, selling, and portfolio management. Moreover, bonded warehouses do not charge any VAT or excise duty. 

8. Ownership

You have complete ownership of your delicious Chardonnay, Lambrusco, and every other bottle you buy through Vinovest!

Own the Most Sought-After Wine Bottles in the World!

Own the Most Sought-After Wine Bottles in the World!

Chianti wines are savory and vibrant and are ideal for a weekend dinner or a lively ball. Many of them are also age-worthy and make perfect long-term investment assets as well.

The easiest way to invest in delectable, investment-worthy wines like Chianti is to build a portfolio through Vinovest.

So, sign up on the website and start adding the best wine bottles to your collection today!


Further reading

Step into the world of fabulous Red Wines in This Incredibly Useful Red Wine Guide!

Written by

Anthony Zhang

Anthony is a repeat entrepreneur who has previously founded and sold two companies, EnvoyNow and KnowYourVC. He has also held leadership positions at Blockfolio and is a board member at RateMyInvestor.
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