On the Road with the Grape Guy

Praise for Older Chianti (Riserva) 1949-2020

07 Aug 2023

(March 2022) ... There is something to be said about older wines, but usually you are looking at special vineyards for those kinds of wines for real longevity. While at the Anteprima Toscana in 2022, Chianti decided to celebrate with a look at older vintage wines to see how they were ageing.

These were all Riserva designated wines, so you would expect them to have some cellarability, but I did not expect them to last as long as they did. As a wine journalist, you often ask yourself "how long will this wine be good for, what is its age-ability?" So when you get an invite to a tasting where they are going to pull and pour wines as old as 73 years, you don’t ponder whether to go, you ask when.

Chianti Classico decided to pull out some older vintages; one dating back to 1949, another from ’58, then there was one from each subsequent decade –a representative wine from the 40s thru till today. They wanted to show the resilience and potential longevity of these Sangiovese-based wine.

In Praise of Older Chianti

BrolioCastillo di Brolio 1949 Chianti Classico
Very pale in colour but with some great acidity, could be mistaken for a rosé colour-wise. Subtle orange peel, cherry skin and medicinal quality. But this wine is very much alive. Amazing.

Badia a Coltibuono 1958 Chianti ClassicoColtibuono
Brown of colour, seemingly dirty, earthy, with notes of orange peel and a port-like taste. Hints of oxidation (when decanted), undecanted it showed a little fresher with leather and tea notes and there’s even a touch of dried fruit.

Castello di Monsanto 1969 Chianti Classico
The nose is in great shape: sugared beets and cherries / dried sour cherry, earthy, lovely acidity, very sippable, with hints of new leather; really very pretty.

Villa Calcinaia 1975 Chianti Classico    
Another cloudy wine, just a touch volatile: orange peel, soft lamb’s leather, again the acidity is killer with a dirty Pinot-like palate of sour-ish fruit, but still very much alive and drinkable. So far the most mature tasting of the wines in this flight.

AntinoriMarchesi Antinori 1985 Chianti Classico    
A vibrant colour with a young and fresh nose of cherry, leather, blood orange along with spiced-cherry, subtle smoky-tobacco and a spicy finish with good acidity. Still young and vibrant with lovely fruit at it's core and a long finish. This one could last a number of years more, but drinking it now is not a crime.

Lamole di Lamole 1993 Chianti Classico    Lamole
Smooth and silky, but with a modicum of acidity to keep it fresh. The freshness comes in the form of red fruit: currants and cherry with notes of blood orange and balsamic.

Fattoria di Pomona Bandini 2009 Chianti Classico
This is not surprising, it's got good acidity, good colour, fresh fruit and spice – along with spiced-cherry, red plum, red currants and subtle smoke on the mid-palate to finish.

Poggerino Vigna di Bugialla 2014 Chianti Classico    
This was considered a difficult vintage, but this wine does not show that difficulty. It's lovely with fresh red fruit that just comes screaming out of the glass and onto the palate. Lots of acidity keeps this fresh and tasty.

Dieviole 2020 Chianti Classico    
Fresh, red fruit, it's a young wine and it tastes like it should.

Castell'in Villa 1995 Riserva Chianti Classico
Green pepper, cedar and herbal aromas on the nose; herbal and subtle spice with hints of red fruit on the palate. The finish shows an interesting tannin structure.


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