Chianti is a mild and fruity wine ideal for serving at holiday dinner parties or family gatherings. Its juiciness and dark hue characterize the wine. Furthermore, the wine has a hint of natural acidity that leaves a citrus aftertaste on your palate.
This wine is perfect for get-togethers and dinner parties because it pairs well with various cheeses and meats.
With so many varieties in the market, which one is the best Chianti wine? Keep reading to find out.
The Sangiovese grape is the principal grape used to produce Chianti. Most Chiantis are made entirely of Sangiovese, but some wineries tend to experiment and confound expectations by mixing the typical local grapes with the following:
- Cabernet is a juicy, sweet grape that grows globally.
- Syrah is a rich, dark-hued grape that originated in France.
- Merlot is a blue-colored grape that works well in blends and on its own.
- Trebbiano is an Italian white grape that produces a lighter-bodied Chianti.
When looking for Chianti, you may come across numerous categories. There are several variants of Chianti, each with distinct qualities and standards for a place of origin, grape types, and age.
The most popular Chianti varietals are:
- Standard Chianti – Aged at least three months from a 70% Sangiovese grapes mix.
- Chianti Classico – A fine Chianti Classico prepared with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes and matured for 5 – 10 months. The bottle bears the well-known black rooster seal.
- Chianti Riserva – The tannins have been tamed, and the wine has been aged for 36 months, which is longer than the average Chianti.
- Chianti Superiore – A Chianti prepared using grapes outside the Classico area matured for a minimum of nine months.
When shopping for Chianti, search for additional quality indicators, such as the label Superiore or Riserva. Wines classified as Superiore must be matured for at least nine months.
Before bottling, riserva wines mature for two or more years to add depth to the wine’s taste and boost its aging potential.
The Chianti Classico Superiore wines are matured for an additional year and must be authorized by a review committee before distribution.
On the other hand, Chianti Anata wines are light-bodied, fresh-tasting wines matured only a year or slightly longer.)
If a wine is branded Superiore, Riserva, or Classico, it is more likely to be of higher quality than wines from the same DOCG, provenance, or community.
Top 10 Chianti Wines
We’ve included a list of some of our favorite Chiantis below to get you started. There is a non-Classico, Chianti Riserva, along with a Chianti Superiore.
With selections ranging from budget to expensive, this list encapsulates all that is great about the Chianti Wine.
Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva derives from the hamlet of Greve, which is located in the middle of the Chianti Classico area. The grapes are grown on the 1000-acre Nozzole property, 250 meters above sea level.
The Folonari family has been making Chianti wines since the 1700s.
This estate’s grapes are low-yielding, which helps preserve the wines’ intensity and character. The fermentation process begins after the grape skins are placed in temperature-controlled stainless-steel containers.
The grapes are then macerated.
The wine is matured in oak barrels in glass bottles for three months. The wine’s acidity is bright and can be characterized by its delicate tannin structure. This wine has a strong undercurrent of juicy red berries, cherry, and woody aromas.
It features powerful smells of caramelized cherries, fresh fruit, and a lingering aftertaste of wood.
- A Well-round Wine
- Lovely Tanning structure
- Has a Watery Aftertaste
Tenuta Il Palagio is from one of Italy’s top wine-producing areas. The region’s mild Mediterranean environment is ideal for growing wine grapes.
Tenuta Chianti’s wineries are located in Tuscany and are renowned for creating sweet and fruity wines.
These wines are mostly made from Sangiovese grapes and include indigenous varietals such as Canaiolo and Colorino.
International varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are occasionally utilized, as long as they grow in the same zone of the main grape. The Tenuta Chianti is a robust wine with moderate acidity.
Tenuta is renowned for its delicate tannin, tobacco, and balsamic flavors. As soon as you smell this wine, your nose is greeted by the scent of blackberries, cherries, and figs.
This wine pairs well with a basic supper such as a steak dinner.
- Fresh Taste
- Not too harsh to drink
- Well balanced flavors
- Could be a little more complex in taste
Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo Classico is an excellent value for money Chianti. This wine is produced in the middle of the Chianti Classico region, in the “Galestro” area, rich in clay and huge stones.
The grapes are fermented in stainless steel cauldrons at a regulated temperature.
To extract the ideal color, taste, and elegance, the procedure is repeated for 7-12 days. The wines are aged for around six months in big oak barrels before being bottled between 13 and 26 months following the vintage.
Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo Classico offers a crisp taste and a moderate viscosity with well-integrated tannins. It is powerful, well-balanced, and leaves earthy and fruity notes on your palate.
Orange juice, spices, raspberry, blueberry, cinnamon, and juniper are just a few notes of smell found in this wine.
- Very Easy to Drink
- Smooth and Fruity Undertones
- Lacks complexity in flavors
100% Sangiovese from Panzano vineyards in the Chianti Classico region of Italy. The wine is matured for 12 months in Slavonian wood barrels.
On the palate of this dry, balanced wine, there is plenty of luscious, candied cherry and exquisite spice flavors with traces of vanilla and spice. These Chianti flavors are complimented with an incredibly delectable, velvety, and smooth mouthfeel.
The wine finishes dry with a healthy dose of spice and lasting juicy tart fruit. This wine pairs very well with pizzas!
This classic will require some time to open up properly, so be patient and allow it to breathe. When you do, you will be rewarded with a delectable wine.
- Pairs well with pasta and pizza
- Complex afternotes
- Takes time to age
The Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva is produced in the Chianti Classico undercity of the greater Chianti area.
To bear the Riserva label, the wine must not only originate in this region but also adheres to strict production laws.
This Riserva wine label indicates that only the finest grapes were used in its production and that it has been aged for longer than regular Chianti Classico wines.
The Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva opens with traditional Chianti smells of tart black cherry, earth, cinnamon, licorice, and even a hint of peppermint.
The palate displays consistent notes of pleasant acidity, fruitiness, and spice, contributing to excellent and palatable wine. This wine is a drink you’ll want to keep at bay to combine with pizza or other Italian meals.
The wine finishes dry and tannic, with excellent persistence and lasting acidic, fruity flavors.
- Riserva Wine is made with the finest grapes
- Aged longer in comparison to regular Clasico Wines
- Can be paired with an array of Italian foods
Clustusboni RS Chianti Classico was initially produced to showcase a more modern form of Chianti Classico composed entirely of Sangiovese.
The 2018 Cultusboni RS Chianti Classico DOCG opens with an enticing hint of red and black cherries, licorice, peppermint, clove, and a touch of earthiness.
The wine’s taste profile is complex, with plenty of luscious sour cherry fruit, well-integrated spice, and pleasant notes of licorice and earth. This medium-bodied Chianti has a silky texture and is delightful.
It finishes dry, lengthy, tart, savory, and is delectable.
- Rich in Tannins
- Complex aftertaste of licorice, peppermint, and clove
- Rich, velvety aftertaste
- Aged longer in comparison to Classico wines
The Cecchi Chianti Classico Storia di Famiglia greets your senses with an intoxicating fragrance of raspberry, luscious red and black cherries, wood, and spices.
While drinking this medium-bodied wine, the tangy and fresh cherry flavor takes the lead. You can also smell the woody aroma once you pour it into a glass.
It’s not as polished as the Riserva but still tastes complex; it needs plenty of time to start the shelf-aging.
It has chewy tannins that lead to a dry, extremely long-lasting aftertaste with hints of tobacco and vanilla lingering beneath the acidic fruit.
- Complex taste of berries and spices
- Smells of raspberries
- Aged well
The Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico Riserva hits your nose with a fragrant bouquet of red and black cherries, strawberries, licorice, peppermint, vanilla, and a hint of earth.
After sipping the wine, you will find out that this is a decadent Sangiovese. It has a similar taste profile to the nose, with pleasant hints of cinnamon and earth. It does require some time to breathe, but it improves with time.
However, the lengthy, lingering, savory aftertaste is the most significant element. This is an exceptional wine indeed!
- Complex taste of berries, earth, peppermint
- Made mainly of Sangiovese grapes
- Takes time to breathe
La Misse di Candialle is composed of 90% sangiovese and 5% canaiolo and malvasia nera grapes, and is processed and matured in cement vats.
This delightful wine features spicy, peppery aromas of red cherry and florals and firm tannins that mellows with time.
- Peppery aftertaste
- Mostly made of Sangiovese grapes
- Matured in Concrete Vats
The 1983 Fattoria Montagliari Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG is an extremely uncommon orange-hued red wine. Yes, you read it correctly; it is an orange-colored red wine.
This traditional Sangiovese wine has savory red berry aromas and mature age characteristics.
It is a scarce bottle available for collectors on sale; hence the taste of this wine hasn’t been sent for sampling.
Chianti has a lot to offer, from easy-to-drink table wines to high-quality collector bottles.
Besides the highly prized Super Tuscan wines such as Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto, Tignanello, and Solaia, the Chianti Classico DOCG wines (particularly the Chianti Superiore and Riserva wines) are top-rated among private collectors due to their long aging potential.
A Chianti Classico Superiore will mature in 12-15 years.
With a mild acidity and clinging tannins, this wine is built to pair with food. Rustic dishes prepared using meat and tomato enhance the wine’s flavors—Chianti’s strong acidity pairs well with the acidity in tomatoes.
The gritty tannins tenderize and enhance the meat’s umami flavors. It also goes pretty well with Italian cheese, salami, and prosciutto.
The salty meat and creamy cheese, drizzled with sweet honey, bring the rich and fruity flavors of Chianti to the foreground while also softening and balancing the wine.