What makes the Chianti Classico Riserva so special?

Chianti is one of the most sought-after wines in the world, almost everybody recognizes the name and knows it’s an Italian red wine. But do you know the differences between Chianti, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione? Confusing, right? Allow me to transfer you to Tuscany.

Chianti DOCG is a large area that covers much of central Tuscany. It surrounds the smaller, hilly Chianti Classico – the heart of the Chianti wine region and the traditional and longest-established viticultural area. Chianti Classico has a minimum 80% of Sangiovese grapes and the rest of the blend is made using only red grapes but with a wide choice of supplementary varieties. The Chianti Classico hierarchy has three tiers: Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione. Any Chianti to be released as Riserva must be aged for two years before release, and Gran Selezione – must be made from a single estate and have been aged for a full 30 months. 

So what makes the Chianti Classico Riserva so special? Thanks to the extensive aging requirements, the wines tend to have more complex structure, and layers of earth and spice notes. The wines are more suitable for aging than the Chianti. Its elegance and the savory notes make it an impressive bottle to bring to any dinner party.

I’ve always loved the Chianti wines from Carpineto, and this Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2017 really shined! Intense bright ruby with slight garnet reflections in the glass. Juicy raspberry, crunchy cherry, floral dried red berry notes on the nose, with added complexity from notes of smoky rosemary and some tar notes. Richly textured, harmonious bouquet persistent with similar notes on the palate. With time in the glass the taste progresses towards a long and rounded mouthfeel clipped with cleansing acidity and fine tannins – decanting recommended!

If you are nervous about an upcoming dinner party and completely in the dark about what to bring, consider this bottle – it is so food-friendly, versatile, and drinks well with or without food!