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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chianti Classico 2006

Chianti Classico 2006: "Chianti Classico 2006

2006 was a superb year for Chianti and Tuscany in general. For once, Tuscany could revel in it's 55 Tre Bicchiere awards while the usually undisputed King of Italian wine making regions, Piedmont, had to settle for a paltry 52. Within Italy sales of Chianti are on the rise and internationally there is growing demand for Chianti Classico which is now world renowned for offering fantastic QPR and has shed it's straw covered/tourist image. It's hard to generalise a vintage across an area as wide as Chianti but these wines are of high alcohol, good acidity and with a fine tannic structure so should age beautifully.

2006 is thought to be the second best Chianti Classico vintage in the last 15 years, coming two years after the best vintage, 2004. As is often the case when you have a great vintage, the second brilliant vintage in quick succession can offer great opportunities for those looking to invest in wine. It is often forgotten that the mighty Sangiovese, even outside of Brunello di Montalcino is capable of ageing and any one of the four wines in this review will be drinking beautifully in 2016 and some even possibly up to 2030.

Reliable and Excellent Producers of Chianti Classico
There are some producers who can be relied upon year in year out with their Chianti Classico wines being among the best of the vintage, however, I can't guarantee any of these wines will be excellent in any given vintage, I'm not Matt Skinner. These are four of my favourites from 2006 that you should be able to easily locate.
  • Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia £20-25
  • Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio - £15-20
  • Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo - £25-35
  • Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva - £12-16
The top two wines here are among my personal top five wines of the year and I'm not just talking about Chianti, or Tuscany, or Italy, I'm talking unbeatable value, two of the best wine bargains of the year anywhere. Capiche?

You may notice a glaring omission from this list, Castello di Ama. While there is no denying that both the Bellavista and Casuccia bottlings are extraordinary I can't recommend these wines as great value both retailing around the £100 mark.

Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 2006 - BUY - £25
A deep brooding ruby red the wine takes a while to express itself on the nose however when it does the bouquet has sumptuous notes, spice and earthy with blackberries and cherries mingling with floral tones too. This is a full bodied Chianti that is fresh with strong acidity, drying tannins and a great structure for ageing potential. Powerful and vibrant give this wine some respect and another five years at least. 94 Points

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio 2006 - BUY - £15
Almost purple in colour this wine is stunningly aromatic and typically Chianti Classico. Dried fruits, spices, cherries and chocolate on the nose. The wine is mid-full bodied, tannic and with a bitter finish. This wine won the best Italian wine of the year with Wine Spectator magazine and so the price has gone up since my video review you can see here. 89 Points

Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo 2006 - BUY - £30
A deep purple wine and full bodied, this Chianti Classico takes hours and hours to open up and really should be cellared for a further 10 years to get close to its best expression. However, today the wine is bringing a sour cherry, tobacco and chocolate nose if decanted for several hours. On the palate the wine is high on both tannins and acidity and the structure and power here is immense. Some red fruits on the palate but mostly earth and just dense. One of those wines where drinking today is pleasurable but not a patch on having a little patience, it's gonna be a monster! 94 Points

Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 - BUY - £14
The lightest of the four, a medium ruby red and also the least dense this Chianti Classico is made in a smooth style and is medium bodied. On the nose the wine has classic sour cherry, some vanilla but also a heap of earth too. The wine can be drunk today but will improve, is smooth in style with the typical high acidity and great fruits on the palate. A touch watery and clipped on the finish. 89 Points

Where can I buy this wine? (the lowest price available - just click the link on the country)
Felsina - USA - EUROPE - UK
Barone Ricasoli - USA - EUROPE - UK
Fontodi - USA - EUROPE - UK
Castello di Volpaia - USA - EUROPE - UK

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