Chianti Classico 2015 & 2016: In the Right Place at the Right Time


As Vinous readers know, I have long championed Chianti Classico as a source for pedigreed, ageworthy wines that the average consumer can still afford. That is, thankfully, still true. In 2015 and 2016, wine lovers will find two genuinely great back to back vintages that arrive precisely at a time when producers are seeking greater finesse and precision. The results are nothing less than thrilling.

A view of Panzano’s famed Conca d’Oro 

The Stellar 2015 Chianti Classicos, Redux

In my article, Chianti Classico: The Stellar 2015s and Surprising 2014s I wrote that “The 2015 vintage presents consumers with a tremendous opportunity to acquire fine, cellar worthy wines without spending a fortune. In 2015, the warm growing season yielded rich, sumptuous Chianti Classicos with great depth and intensity.” A year later, I feel the same way. The entry-level wines are a bit juicier than normal, generally a good thing for wines that are meant to be enjoyed upon release. At the high end, the best wines are incredibly exciting. Chianti Classico is a large appellation, so there are bound to be some areas and/or wines that are less successful. In 2015, that manifests itself in some wines that show blocked maturation in tannins that remain coarse, and others that were affected by rain during harvest. But those are very much the exceptions. Overall, 2015 is a very strong, and, in some cases, profound, vintage for Chianti Classico. The wines are rich and sumptuous, the result of an unrelentingly hot summer. Thankfully rain in mid-August was enough to restore balance and freshness in most wines.

Montevertine’s lineup goes from strength to strength

2016: A Classic Vintage in the Making

As good (or better) as the 2015s are, the 2016s have the potential to surpass them. A balanced growing season with no shock events produced a set of truly exceptional, highly promising wines. The 2016s are distinguished by their superb aromatic presence, silky tannins, layered fruit and fabulous sense of harmony. The 2016s I have tasted so far point to a high quality vintage that may very well turn out to be profound.

The State of the Union

Aside from two superb back-to back-vintages, the most obvious trend that is unfolding in Chianti Classico is a decisive move towards making wines of greater finesse and precision. Sangiovese is a variety that has the ability to convey considerable site-specific character. Picking a bit earlier and generally interfering with the fruit as minimally allowed many wines to be particularly strong in 2015, which is, of course great to see.

In Closing… 

As I finished editing this article and looked at pricing, I could not help but notice how many top estates remain under the radar relative to the quality of their wines. Moreover, prices for most wines remain exceedingly fair. I hope readers will find an opportunity to explore Chianti Classico beyond the tried and true names, some of which are highlighted below.

The cellars at Antinori's new state of the art winery

Don’t Miss Wines

2015 Antinori Tignanello

2015 Antinori Solaia

2015 Castello di Ama L'Apparita

2015 Fattoria La Massa Giorgio Primo

2015 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia

2015 Fèlsina Fontalloro

2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo

2015 Fontodi Flaccianello

2016 Gagliole Valletta

2013 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

2016 Jurji Fiore & Figlia Chianti Classico Lamole NonLoSò

2015 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte

2013 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Riserva

2015 Podere Il Carnasciale Il Caberlot

2015 Podere Spazzavento Grano delle Formiche

2015 Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione

2013 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Vigneto San Marcellino

2016 Querciabella Chianti Classico

2015 San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo

2015 San Giusto a Rentennano La Ricolma

2016 Tenuta Di Trinoro Campo di Camagi

2016 Tenuta di Trinoro Trinoro

2015 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva

A landscape view of Castello di Ama

Best Values

2015 Antinori Villa Antinori

2015 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

2016 Ca’ di Pesa Chianti Classico

2016 Fattoria La Massa La Massa

2016 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Berardenga

2016 Giacomo Mori Chianti

2016 Pagliarese Chianti Classico

2016 Petrolo Torrione

2015 Il Palazzino Chianti Classico Chianti Classico Argenina

2016 Piazzano Colorino

2016 Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico

2016 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico

2016 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico

2016 Tenuta di Capraia Chianti Classico

2016 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole

2016 Volpaia Chianti Classico

This article covers wines in and around Chianti Classico. A forthcoming report will look at wines from Montepulciano, Carmignano and Maremma.

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