CHIANTI, Turning the Page: Notes from CHIANTI NYC 2013

CHIANTI, Turning the Page: Notes from CHIANTI NYC 2013

It’s no secret that Chianti has endured something of an image problem from wine lovers old enough to remember the fiasco straw-covered bottle. So, when a couple of twenty-somethings recently asked me to recommend a good Chianti, I was struck by two points: that they were asking for it at all, for one; but, more importantly, perhaps, that they referred to the Chianti brand.


Fact is that massive improvements in quality by Chianti producers along with great execution by the Consorzio around marketing activities are slowly turning the page to begin a new chapter for Chianti.

Chianti is a category of wine that offers the consumer great diversity. One can find: a more serious Chianti to enjoy with a grilled steak; a Chianti fun enough for a picnic; or one refreshing enough to accompany outdoor chores; Chianti wines that drink well in fine crystal stemware or simple tumbler glasses; purchase prices comfortable for a graduate student , stock trader and most everyone in between.

So it is with a sense of anticipation that I extend my tasting glass at today’s CHIANTI 2013 event in NYC: anticipation to sample a bit of Chianti’s next chapter; anticipation that a new generation of wine lovers are beginning to experience Chianti unencumbered by the baggage we old timers carry from a time when Chianti was, well, a little under par. While all the wines I tasted at the event were enjoyable, I shall make mention of a few that really impress:

Podere Alberese
Really love the cherry fruit and floral aromas of this producer’s Chianti Superiore 2009. The wine is a joy to hold in the mouth. The Riserva of that same year is elegant with more depth and finesse, lovely balsamic notes.


A pleasantly aromatic, harmonious and easy drinking Chianti (2009).

Chianti 2011 delivers impressively fresh berries on the nose, nicely balanced acidity and the good structure typical of this producer’s wines.

Le Fontia San Giorgio
Sublime scents of violets, red and black fruits, give this Chianti so much appeal. Great finish, too. The producer’s Chianti Montespertoli bottling shows a brighter fruit profile, smooth and warm in the mouth. In comparison, the Chianti Montespertoli Riserva is a bit more jammy, bringing hints of brown spice.

Adore Beconcini’s Chianti Riserva again this year. Traditional, smooth and expressive.

Fattoria Valacchi
Good muscle, yet graceful, smooth in the mouth, subtle hint of spice on a lingering finish.

Impressed with Cignozza wines last year, I remain a fan. Both the Chianti and Riserva are impressively harmonious wines, big in the mouth, soft and supple palate, with the Riserva obviously taking the lead with complexity / intensity.

Another producer that caught my attention last year as well. Like the fresh, simplicity of the traditional-styled Chianti Santa Caterina. Find the velvety soft palate of the Il Castelvecchio bottling incredibly alluring. A magnificent Riserva full of emotion, power, and strength.

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Joel Mack has worked for a celebrated importer / distributor of Italian wines and continues to study the wines and winemaking of Italy. He has advised many restaurants in making their Italian wine list selections and has provided training to restaurant staff. Today, Joel conducts wine classes and leads specialized private and corporate tastings of Italian wines. Joel carried out his higher education at a highly regarded College of Music and continues to extend an artistic point of view to Italian wine, balanced with factual information about wine, its nature and identity. By day, he applies his time to collaborative software technology. Joel can be contacted at joel at vintrospective dot com.

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