Demystifyng Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

In early 2014, a new category – Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – was approved by the European Commission which represents the highest Chianti Classico Classification. This means any estate-grown wines that have been aging for at least 30 months and meet the new minimum technical standards can now be sold as Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. This classification is a step above Riserva and has more strict requirements on vinification, alcohol, extraction, aging, etc. The Consorzio estimates that about 8 or 9 percent of Chianti Classico DOCG production will qualify for the Gran Selezione level.

What is Gran Selezione supposed to represent and is the quality really better?

Decanter did a panel tasting earlier this year with Susan Hulme MW, Federico Moccia, and Michaela Morris. They tasted 111 wines from across 9 different vintages ranging from 2010 to 2018. They concluded that it was a “very pleasing tasting that showed encouraging progress in this still-recent Tuscan category, with a good proportion of high quality, enjoyable wines.” While I did not have the opportunity to taste 111 Gran Selezione wines, I did get a chance to taste this stunning Carpineto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015!

Deep ruby in color with a pretty depth of ripe fruits with hints of spicy and vanilla notes. On the palate, subtle layers of leather and smoke, great structure and harmony. With time in the glass, the taste progresses towards a long and rounded mouthfeel clipped with wonderful acidity. Such an incredibly balanced and elegant wine!

While I have no doubt this could pair perfectly with steak or other grilled meats, I made something special to go with this special bottle – fish maw chicken stew! This is a traditional Chinese dish that only uses 4 ingredients but requires a significant amount of prep work. It is densely nutritious and flavorful, slowly simmered until it reaches a silky and spongy texture, tantalizing your senses with irresistible melt-in-your-mouth moments!