Chianti Classico Book Seminar

On February 6, I attended a talk given by Alessandro Masnaghetti who wrote a newly published book on Chianti Classico.

The lecture was held at the offices of Baneville Wine Merchants located at 126 East 38th Street in midtown Manhattan.

It’s a big book with a lot of detail for that district of Chianti. I did learn what a UGA (Unita Geografiche Aggiuntive) is which are officially delimited subzones within a Chianti subzone.

As part of the lecture, we tasted five Chianti from five of those UGA subzones. They were from the 2020 vintage and were drinking nicely.

2020 Cigliano Di Sopra (San Casciano): Clear medium purple, dusty tar. graphite and earth on the nose, concentrated dusty bright red fruit with crushed rock notes on the finish.

2020 I Fabbri “La Mole” (Lamole): Clear medium brick, dusty nose of green stems and rocks, juicy red fruit and black licorice ending with a mouthful of tannins.

2020 Fattoria Le Masse (San Donato in Poggio): Clear medium red, big perfume of sweet crushed red fruit and some earth, concentrated silky black fruit with dusty leather notes on the long and balanced finish. My favorite of the flight.

2020 Tolaini “Mello” (Gaiole): Clear red with a perfume of violets and roast meat, tight red fruit with firm tannins and a long finish.

2020 Tolaini “Vallenuova” (Castelnuova Beradenga): Opaque dark red, perfume of tar, red leather and sweet fruit with dusty, silky red fruit with a good grip and a nice balance. Another favorite of the tasting.

Chianti Lovers U.S. Tour 2022

On January 11th I attended the Chianti Lovers U. S. tour. This was another wine event promoted by the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) and showcased member wineries of the Consorzio Vino Chianti, an organization established in 1927 that oversees the regulations for the seven subdistricts of the Chianti region.

The event was for members of the trade and was held at the Eventi Hotel at 851 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

The event consisted of a seminar in which we blind tasted a horizontal of 2017 Riserva Chianti from each of the seven subdistricts. That was followed by a walk-around tasting.

Since it’s the job of the I.E.E.M. to promote the wines and winereis, the wineries pouring today are small producers that are looking for exposure and a Distributer so there weren’t any trophy wines but a very good selection of off the radar wines from the various sub districts of the Chianti D.O.C.G.

This was supposed to be the first of two Chianti tasting with a Chianti Classico event for the next week but that event was postponed.

Seminar: Horizontal Tasting of 2017 Chianti D.O.C.G. Riserva (Tasted Blind)

Pietro Becconcini (Colline Pisane)

Medium brick, tar, fennel and crushed rock on the nose, tight with some vegetal notes on the lighter finish.

Cantagallo Il Fondatore (Montalbano)

Dark brick in color, closed nose of tar, tree bark and herbs, medium to light bodied with a tight and dusty finish.

Poggio Del Moro (Colli Senesi)

Opaque dark brick, perfume of violets, tar and vanilla, tight and dusty ending with tongue coating tannins.

Podere Dell’ Moro (Montespertoli)

Dark red in color, camphor and crushed black fruit on the nose, starts juicy with crunchy tannins ending with firm acids and bitter almond notes on the balanced finish.

Torre Acona Badia a Corte (Fiorentini)

Clear medium brick, sweet ripe fruit on the nose, medium fruit with wood notes, bitter cherry, firm tannins ending with mouthwatering acids.

Buca Nerta (Arentini)

Opaque dark red, closed, oily nose with young silky fruit, firm, dusty tannins and firm acids.

Fattoria Selvapiana (Rufina)

Clear medium brick, perfume of sweet fruit, tar and raspberry, silky fruit with bitter cherry notes with firm tannins and acids on the finish.

Some of the producers I sampled wines from at the walk around tasting:

Cantina SorelliColle Adimari
DianellaFattoria l’Arco
Fattoria MontecchioFattoria San Michele a Torri
Fattoria UccellieraIl Palazzo
Podere dell’AnselmoTenuta Coeli Aula
Tenuta di CastelfalfiVal di Botte

Milano Wine Week Chianti Tasting

Milano Wine Week was held on October 2-10. It was a series of wine related events based in Milan, Italy. One of the many events that week was the International Master Class Programs which was a series of classes held in various cities around the world that was coordinated with a live video feed from Milan.

In New York City those classes were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant located at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

On October 4th I attended a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Vino Chianti, “Chianti D.O.C.G.: Quintessence of Tuscany”. It was a blind tasting of seven 2019 Chianti from each of the seven sub districts in Chianti, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli. Chianti Classico, another sub district was granted its own DOCG.

All of the wines were from the 2019 vintage and were tasted blind and at this point still young.

Artimino Chianti Montalbano

Opaque dark purple with red candy, roast meat and wood notes on the nose, tight, red citrus and red candy fruit notes ending with crisp and crunchy acids.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti Fiorentini

Opaque dark purple, tree bark, black licorice and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight, black licorice and cherry on the tight fruit with bitter almonds on the finish.

Badia Di Morrona Chianti Pisane

Opaque dark purple with a sweet perfume of toasted oak on the nose, red licorice on the fruit with firm acids.

Poggio Al Vento Chianti Senesi

Opaque dark purple, red cherry and tree bark on the nose, firm dusty leather fruit, balanced with a tarry finish.

Podere Dell’Anselmo Chianti Montespertoli

Dark purple to black in color with sweet tar, earth and toast notes on the nose, silky fruit with graphite notes, good balance with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

Il Palazzo Chianti Arentini

Opaque dark purple, sweet roast meat on the nose, dusty fruit with green herbs on the finish with a firm grip on the end.

Fattoria Lavaccio Chianti Rufina

Opaque dark purple, closed nose of violets and red leather, black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm, dusty grip at the end with bitter almond notes.

I.E.E.M. Chianti Classico Collection

On May 20 & 21st the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) held another of its series of tastings where they showcase a particular wine to wine professionals and look for importers/distributor for the wines. This time around it was the Chianti Classico Collection. They were wines from the Black Rooster (gallo nero) Chianti Classico DOCG in Tuscany.

There are seven subzones in the Chianti DOCG, Colli Arentini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Pisane, Rufina, Montespertoli and Montalano. Classico was a subzone but became its own DOCG in 1996.

This was a live tasting but modified for current conditions. You sat at a table and via smartphone would order 4 wines from their 200+ bottle list on hand and a Sommelier would come over and pour the wines.

It was a vertical tasting of the 2015-2019 vintages and all of the three quality tiers were represented including Gran Selezione, Riserva and the basic Classico. The formula for Chianti has changed in recent years and they are no longer required to use a small percentage of white grapes and they can now use foreign varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In general, of the five vintages I would say that the 2016’s were showing well with the strongest concentration of fruit from the vintages. The 2019’s were for the most part still young and unbalanced, these are some of my highlights.

2015 Cantina Castelvecchi “Madonnino della Pieve” Gran Selezione: Opaque dark red, pretty perfume of sweet violets, tar and dried sage, silky fruit with firm tannins on the medium to long finish.

2015 Castello di Radda “Vigna il Corno”Gran Selezione: Clear medium brick, closed nose of toasted nuts with red cherry fruit and gritty, mouth coating tannins at the end.

2015 Piemaggio “Le Fioraie”: Riserva: Clear light red, red licorice, mint and violets on the nose, earth notes on the bright fruit, firm finish.

2015 Castello di Raddo Riserva: Light brick, closed nose of cooked vegetables, juicy black licorice fruit ending with a firm and balanced long finish.

2015 Istine “Levigne” Riserva: Clear light red, closed nose of dried herbs, bright red fruit with slate and toast notes, ending with firm tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Contessa di Radda” Riserva: Opaque dark red with a purple rim with crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy with toasty notes on the fruit.

2016 Castello di Verrazzano Riserva: Clear dark brick in color, sweet violets and dried herbs on the nose, dusty earth on the fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Canoica a Cerreto Riserva: Clear medium red with dried leaf on the nose, tight with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Montegiachi” Riserva: Clear dark red, perfume of violets and roasted meat, concentrate dark fruit with slate notes, nice balance with dried herbs on the long finish.

2016 Castello di Radda Riserva: Clear medium red, tar, roasted nuts and camphor on the nose, juicy fruit with silky tannins, nice balance.

2017 Banfi Riserva: Opaque medium brick, pretty sweet nose, starts out with juicy fruit that drops at the end with black licorice notes.

2017 Brancaia Riserva: Clear medium red with roasted nuts on the nose, firm red fruit and a balanced finish.

2018 Badia & Coltibuono Classico: Clear light brick, pencil shavings and forest floor on the nose, delicate and light bodied.

2018 Pasolini dall’Onda “Sicelle” Classico: Clear medium red with toasted notes on the nose with silky fruit and a nice a nice balance.

2018 Castello di Radda Classico: Clear medium red, pretty nose of violets, tar, graphite with moderate to light fruit and light tannins at the end.

2019 Marchese Antinori “Peppoli” Classico: Clear light red with dried herbs on the nose, bright fruit.

2019 Felsina “Beradenga” Chianti Classico: Clear light red, bacon fat and roasted nuts on the nose, bright fruit with silky tannins.

2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva



The Frescobaldi family have been involved in the political and social life of Tuscany for over 700 years. They’ve been making wine as well.

They produce wine from their six estates in Tuscany as well as producing famous wines such as Ornellaia from outside the region.

This wine is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantitia) that comes from Rufina which is the smallest of the seven sub-zones of the Chianti region. As a Riserva it’s aged a minimum of 24 months in oak before release.


2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva:  Opaque medium brick, perfume of camphor, black olives and roast meat, moderate fruit with big, silky tannins on the finish. 



Chianti In Chelsea

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This year is the 300th anniversary of what is considered the first wine region in the world. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III set the borders of the Black Rooster production zone for Chianti Classico. The “Classico” zone is one of the eight sub-zones of Chianti in Tuscany.

This past Sunday, Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Manhattan held a Chianti fundraiser/tasting for the Wheeling Forward organization. It was a sit-down tasting of nine Chianti Classico and Riserva with commentary by wine educator, Robin Kelly O’Connor.


2014 Castellare Chianti Classico

Medium red with a purple rim, toast and a sweet perfume of violets on the nose, tight with light fruit and low tannins and acids.

2014 Santo Stefano Chianti Classico

Dark red with a light brick rim, crushed black fruit and wood notes on the nose, dusty black cherry fruit with moderate tannins and acid.

2013 Lorano Chianti Classico

Medium red, purple rim, big perfume of red cherry and baking spices, moderate red cherry fruit, balanced tannin and acids on the finish. Very drinkable.

2012 Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico

Medium red, big perfume of tar and sweet cherry, moderate red cherry fruit upfront and finishes with lip smacking tannins.

2013 Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva “Montonello”

Dark red with a pretty perfume of tar and violets, big black cherry fruit with firm tannins on the finish.

2013 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a brick rim with tar, leather and pencil shavings on the nose, moderate juicy fruit, sour cherry notes on the finish, moderate tannin and acid.

2013 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva “Agostino Petri”

Medium red, toasty oak notes on the nose with red and black cherry notes on the fruit, good balance.

2012 Rocca Della Macie Chianti Classico Riserva “Famiglia Zingarelli”

Dark red with a slightly closed nose of black fruit and spice, chunky red fruit with bitter cherry notes and a nice balance of tannins and acids on the finish.

2012 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a perfume of tar, graphite, tight fruit finishing with firm tannins and tart fruit.