Here it is: I love Chianti Classico. I love it’s honesty. It’s ability to age. It’s expression of Sangiovese. Good Chianti Classico in it’s true unadulterated form is one of the joys of my cellar. I buy Chianti Classico in good years and stick it in the cellar for 6-7 years before bringing it out to drink. For me at the moment, it is the 2004 Chianti Classico that I am drinking on a regular basis.
Whilst we see lots of Chianti Classico in Australia, for me there is nothing like going to Chianti and tasting through dozens of different producers and vintages to get a better picture of both producer and vintage.
This year I left the Chianti Classico region blown away by the quality of the 2009 vintage. It is a year where everything has come together and the wines have lovely red savory fruits, plenty of perfume and fantastic tannin and acid structure. They are drinking beautifully now but will be even better with a few years in the cellar. The best examples have such amazing balance. They are bigger wines than the 2007’s and have more depth of fruit and complexity than the 2008’s. They all hold a fantastic line and in the glass, the quality of these wines is very obvious.
Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico description on the 2009 vintage.
Total production: 295.000 hl (7.793 million gallons)
Strictly from the weather standpoint, seasonal averages were at times exceeded but balanced each other out, making for an optimal year overall.
The mild winter temperatures that have become the norm were followed by an exceptionally rainy spring, whose effect was premature vine reawakening and rather speedy growth.
The summer was hot but coped with well by a terroir that from late August on was able to enjoy big changes in temperature that brought cool nights. In September, with rainy and sunny days alternating, the grapes were able to complete maturation with excellent results. Ripe fruit came to the cellar, with good aromatic complexity.
The results shown by testing the first wines of 2009 are, in fact, more than good: the 2009 Black Rooster has average alcohol content, deep color and net dry extract above average for the past few years, promising fine evolution with aging.
Total acidity was generally low, due in particular to an almost total absence of malic acid and volatile acidity, confirming the excellent fermentation techniques used by Chianti Classico wineries.
In Australia we are lucky to have available many of the best producers of Chianti Classico and I would be making a beeline for Felsina, Castellare di Castellina, Castello Monsanto (which I import), and Badia a Coltibuono. These wineries have delivered fantastic wines in 2009 and I will definitely be putting these producers in my cellar to drink over the next few years.