Chianti Classico

THE SOMMELIER COLLECTIVE AWARDS 2021

2021 Results

The results are in for our first Awards tasting – Chianti Classico, with our judges tasting through a range of Classicos, Riservas and Gran Seleziones to find the best ones available to UK hospitality.

Because the Sommelier Collective is completely focused on the needs of the on-trade our Awards are too. So as well as all the entries being scored out of 100, we asked each judge to nominate their own personal favourite wine, and also got them to work as a team to select ‘List Champions’ – wines that are perfect for the key jobs on your wine list.

So whether you like scores, peer-recommendation or practical solutions we’ve got your back.

You can scroll down to see the full results, or use the handy green buttons to move instantly to the different sets of results.

Lined up and ready to go…
Tasting so fast it was a blur
Franco starts on the Classicos

So, how did the wines do?

Chianti, as we know, is a staple on wine lists, and looking at the feedback here, it’s easy to see why. The scores were impressive, with around 60% of the entries scoring 90 points or higher and no actively poor wines at all. Whether it’s the impact of global warming or better viticulture and winemaking, this wouldn’t have been the case 20 years ago.

Stylistically, they veered from ‘old-style’ light to ‘fruitier’ modern. There were fans of both types, but generally speaking the sweet spot was ‘ripe but with distinctive Chianti edge, perfume and lift’.

If there was a criticism of the Gran Selezione, for instance, it’s that ‘impressiveness and oak’ sometimes overshadowed the Chianti typicity.

It would be a stretch to describe these wines as cheap – in fact, they’re a lot pricier than they would have been five years ago – but it’s also safe to say that there’s still a lot of good value in the £13-20 area. So if you want to beef up your Chianti offering, these results are a great place to start.

Chianti Classico – The Results

Chianti Classico Awards 2021

Full list of award winning wines from The Sommelier Collective Awards.
ScoreProducerWineCategoryImporterTasting note
96BrancaiaChianti Classico 2019Chianti ClassicoEnotria&Coe
Price £17.77
Quite pale, which anticipates the suave, finely perfumed cherry nose. Very elegant and harmonious. Acidity is the leitmotif - vibrant, elegant Chianti.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Floral, fruity, not too intense, delicate and elegant.' Franco Fortunati. 'Classic Chianti colour and nose, with a high acidity and velvety texture. Aromas of tomato paste, dried oregano, dried roses, meat and pepper. Classic Chianti flavours.' Paola Giraldo.
94Il Palagio di PanzanoChianti Classico 2016Chianti ClassicoSeeking UK importer
Price £28.22
Forest floor, cedar wood and plums. A complex nose, but very elegant at the same time. Smooth and well-balanced with a long aftertaste, and very well integrated oak.' Franco Fortunati. 'The most complex, charming and classy of our flight.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Intense and pronounced, with aromas of kirsch, dark cherries, plums and balsamic. Still very young and bright.' Paola Giraldo
92Famiglia ZingarelliRocca delle Macie Tenuta Sant'Alfonso Chianti Classico 2019Chianti ClassicoSeeking UK importer
Price £30.00
Ripe but not cooked fruit, herbal - thyme, oregano, tomato leaf; forest floor, coffee, vanilla - high quality oak. Long, evolving finish with ripe tannins.' Klearhos Kannelakis. 'Dark fruit, hints of cacao and dry flower petals. Dry and spicy with a full-bodied structure. It would match with slow-cooked food.' Lionel Periner. 'Black fruit with hints of black pepper and spices - good concentration on the palate.' Fernando Cubas
91CasalosteChianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoLaytons
Price £14.55
Nice expressive red fruit - cherries, strawberries and tomato leaf. New French oak, with lavender, juniper and polished tannins.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Pronounced and complex, fruity, spicy and seductive with black cherries and roses. Very defined fruit, acidity and tannins.' 'Plump fruit, warm, gentle and approachable.' Mattia Mazzi.
91Conti CapponiVilla Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoCava Spiliadis
Price £14.50
A touch of liquorice syrup, blueberries, cinnamon, cloves and cedar. A great expression of age and balance.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Moreish cherries, elegant and intense, the fruit is well-defined. A very well thought-out wine. It's a step up in concentration, colour and aromatic intensity.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Very fresh and smooth with a long length. It would be lovely to pair this with a beef tartare.' Stefano Barbarino.
91RuffinoSantedame Estate Chianti Classico 2015Chianti ClassicoBibendum
Price £16.85
A lot of earthy notes and pungent spices, such as black pepper and tobacco, but fresh on the palate and very well balanced. Would like to pair this with a loin of lamb.' Stefano Barbarino. 'Open and complex. Cherries and dark berries with lightly toasted bread and hints of pot pourri. Nicely aged Chianti.' Lionel Periner. 'Gentle and well-balanced between acidity, tannin and fruit. Silky.' Fernando Cubas
91Rocca di MontegrossiChianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoFlint Wines
Price £13.50
Pronounced on the nose, with ripe strawberries, cherries and earthy notes with a hint of vanilla and spices. Rich, but not harsh tannins. Complex, with well-defined flavours.' Paola Giraldo. 'A dry, 'vertical' Chianti. A fine balance of nerves and fibre, length and intensity with purity of flavours.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Black fruit, plums and balsamic notes, this is very clean and balanced. Great to pair with food such as pork and pasta.' Franco Fortunati
90RiecineChianti Classico 2019Chianti ClassicoAlliance Wines
Price £18.49
A very elegant young Classico. Approachable now, but with concentration and complexity. Pure, modern, top tier.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Great aromatic character of black cherries and black tea with violets and raspberries on the palate. Good complexity.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Ripe on the nose, with crunchiness on the palate. Clean, gentle and lively. Youthful, but with lots of potential.' Stefano Barbarino
90Tenuta di ArcenoChianti Classico 2019Chianti ClassicoOenofuture/Jackson Family Wines
Price £15.00
The nose is open, with dark cherries, dark fruit, plum, light spices and a hint of bitter cacao. Harmonious, dry and elegant with great structure.' Lionel Periner. 'Dark fruit and sweet spices - vanilla, cloves and pine.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Ripe red plum fruit on the palate. Concentrated, with grainy tannins.' Fernando Cubas. '
89FonterutoliChianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoMMD
Price £13.15
Dry fresh berries, with a hint of spices and fresh oregano with some saline notes. Very Mediterranean.' Paola Giraldo. 'Cranberries, strawberries and cherries with hints of liquorice. Would pair well with a duck breast.' Stefano Barbarino
89BanfiChianti Classico 2017Chianti ClassicoLouis Latour
Price £13.08
Kirsch, dark cherries and strawberries. In a good way, it's not too complex - good balance, juicy and easy to drink.' Franco Fortunati. 'Violets, wooden box and red fruit. It shows off the region and the grape really well.' Konstantinos Nestoridis
89Mannucci DroandiCeppeto Chianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoFlint Wines
Price £11.50
Beautiful nose of black cherries, lavender and pine herbs. Savoury and sweet red fruit palate with silky tannins.' Fernando Cubas. 'Cherries, balsamic and a leather note with violets. Very enjoyable. Would work well by the glass.' Franco Fortunati.
89Lamole di LamoleChianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoAlivini
Price £18.00
Red fruit, floral aromas with bitter chocolate and thyme. Textured tannins and good length.' Fernando Cubas. 'Herbal, with a hint of sweet spice and white chocolate. Crunchy fruit on the palate. Easy drinking.' Stefano Barbarino.
89Quercia al PoggioChianti Classico 2019Chianti ClassicoSeeking UK importer
Price £12.46
Classic fine Chianti aromas - red plum compote, flowers, a hint of freshly ground black pepper, mocha and slight smokiness.' Lionel Periner. 'Ripe and juicy on the nose, with red plums and cherries. Very approachable.' Stefano Barbarino.
87Fattorie MeliniGranaio Chianti Classico 2018Chianti ClassicoBibendum
Price £9.00
Black plums, rosemary and rose petals on the nose and spicy red cherries on the palate.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Lovely aromas. Dark cherry fruit, with a hint of gentle spice and dry herbs. Full bodied with dry, full tannins.' Lionel Periner
87Tenuta CarobbioChianti Classico 2016Chianti ClassicoSeeking UK importer
Price £12.10
Dark fruit, plums and balsamic. Good to drink by itself or with pasta dishes. Easy drinking.' Franco Fortunati. 'Red fruits, sour cherries and herbs. Dry, high tannins on the palate.' Paola Giraldo.
87BorratellaChianti Classico 2017Chianti ClassicoSeeking UK importer
Price £12.45
Fine herbal nose and a cherry palate with silky tannins.' Fernando Cubas. 'Simple wine, though with great vibrant fruit and nice freshness. Friendly.' Lionel Periner.
85CecchiVilla Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico 2017Chianti ClassicoVinexus
Price £7.90
Red plums, berries and some floral character. Open and fruity, but quite light.' Lionel Periner. 'Ripe fruit, but also quite herbaceous. Dry tannins show its youth.' Stefano Barbarino.
96CasalosteChianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaLaytons
Price £23.00
Dark berries, red fruit and orange peel, with meaty hints. Dry, but with a velvet texture - the tannins are dry, but well integrated.' Lionel Periner. 'Fruity, but with a herbal, leafy meatiness. Would pair really well with bolognese.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Very complex and seductive, rich and flavourful. Perfect for lamb cutlets and grilled parmigiana.' Paola Giraldo.
94Famiglia ZingarelliRocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2018RiservaSeeking UK importer
£36.00
Intense, with ripe fruit, herbal tones, a chalky minerality and some earthiness. Long, complex and high quality.' Klearhos Kannelakis. 'Earth, mushrooms, liquorice and a hint of blueberries. Savoury palate, with a hint of pepper and a stony minerality.' Stefano Barbarino. 'Fresh cut herbs, well adapted tannins and good balance.' Fernando Cubas.
92Castellare di CastellinaChianti Classico Riserva 2018RiservaBibendum
Price £20.19
Intense cherries, roses and an almost seaweed salad aroma - herbal with a hint of minerality. Complex, and very interesting.' Paola Giraldo. 'Cassis, black pepper and thyme, with hints of blueberry jam. Silky tannins with a balsamic finish.' Fernando Cubas. 'Elegant aromas with smooth texture and velvety tannins.' Lionel Periner.
92BrancaiaChianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaEnotria&Coe
Price £26.15
Cedar, prunes, nutmeg, wet stones, liquorice and pepper. It's like a tomato-based Roman sauce! Huge potential.' Paola Giraldo. 'Wild strawberries and rosemary, with well-balanced acidity and tannins.' Fernando Cubas. 'A lot of floral violet notes on the nose, with ripe red and blue fruits and sweet oaky spice. Rich, but really drinkable. Great for pork chop with borlotti beans and a red wine sauce!' Stefano Barbarino.
92FrescobaldiTenuta Perano Chianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaHallgarten&Novum Wines
Price £28.19
Tobacco, leather, baked fruit, wooden floor and sweet spices. Fruity, smooth and elegant.' Franco Fortunati. 'Cranberries, orange, silky oak - elegant and smooth with a hint of kirsch.' Lionel Periner. 'Sweet and sour on the palate - almost like Amarone.' Stefano Barbarino.
92Il Palagio di PanzanoChianti Classico Riserva 2016RiservaSeeking UK importer
Price £28.20
Very herbaceous with lots of pungent spices. Intense, with a long, spicy finish.' Stefano Barbarino. 'Kirsch, cherry, violets, leather and sweet spicy notes. Well integrated oak, with a long finish. Would work well in a Coravin.' Franco Fortunati. 'Tangible fruit, but multi-dimensional. Warm and firm. Developing nicely.' Mattia Mazzi.
91CarobbioChianti Classico Riserva 2015RiservaSeeking UK importer
Price £18.52
Cherries, orange peel and flowers. Full-bodied palate with coffee and toasted bread, but an elegant finish.' Lionel Periner. 'Blueberries, morello cherries and sweet spices, with hints of tea. Vibrant.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Cinnamon, cloves, coffee, black fruit and violets. Would pair well with pasta dishes or mushroom risotto.' Franco Fortunati.
90BorratellaChianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaSeeking UK importer
Price £17.31
Redcurrant and roses with sour cherries and sweet spices. Quite high acidity.' Paola Giraldo. 'Ripe fruit, soya and ink. Earthy tobacco. Long finish.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Herbs, game and red fruit on the palate with very fine tannins.' Fernando Cubas.
90CecchiVilla Cerna Chianti Classico 2016RiservaVinexus
Price £14.70
Ripe red fruits. Smoky and toasty - elegant on the palate, with a beautiful stony finish.' Stefano Barbarino. 'Fresh raspberries with a hint of saltiness. Very fresh and vibrant.' Paola Giraldo. 'Cassis and pencil lead with hints of balsamic. Seductive tannins.' Fernando Cubas.
90Fattorie MeliniVigneti La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva 2015RiservaBibendum
Price £12.55
Smoky and meaty on the nose. Blackberries and dark plums with a spicy background.' Stefano Barbarino. 'Not pretentious, but well-made and assertive at a great price point.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Dark fruit and cranberries. Finish is elegant, but a bit short.' Lionel Periner.
89Mannucci DroandiCeppeto Chianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaFlint Wines
Price £11.50
Elegant aromas of red fruit and sour cherries. Well defined, with fresh acidity. Would work by the glass.' Paola Giraldo. 'Gentle fruit, textured tannins and fresh herbs.' Fernando Cubas.
88Lamole di LamoleChianti Classico Riserva 2017RiservaAlivini
Price £21.00
Orange peel, forests and crunchy red fruit. Dry palate with smooth tannin.' Lionel Periner. 'Well balanced and well integrated.' Fernando Cubas. 'Lean and green.' Mattia Mazzi.
88Tenuta di ArcenoChianti Classico Riserva 2018RiservaOenofuture/Jackson Family Wines
Price £20.00
Mushroom, leather, tobacco, but doesn't develop too well on the palate.' Franco Fortunati. 'Cassis and Indian spices. Grippy tannins.' Fernando Cubas.
96RuffinoRiserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 Gran SelezioneGran SelezioneBibendum
Price £28.06
Cassis, strawberry and raspberry jam with pleasant use of oak that's well integrated. Smooth tannins and elegant.' Franco Fortunati. 'Well balanced and complex. Fruit, herbs, earth, cinnamon and smoky oak. Harmonious.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Ripe and fruity, with balsamic and liquorice notes. Saline, savoury and meaty on the palate.' Paola Giraldo.
95Castello di FonterutoliGran Selezione 2016Gran SelezioneMMD
Price £30.66
Red and dark berries, cooked blueberries and flowers. A creamy texture, with high tannins. Full-bodied, but the tannins, fruit and acidity are balanced.' Paola Giraldo. 'Seductive and extrovert. Pretty, forward sweet red fruits. An artwork. I love this take on GS.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Leather, tobacco and earthy.' Franco Fortunati.
92Rocca di MontegrossiVigneto San Marcellino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015Gran SelezioneFlint Wines
Price £28.00
Ripe, dense, slightly woody and herbal.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Tangy and dry, with quite intense vigour. Tobacco, gravelly flowers and minerality.' Paola Giraldo. 'This wine is true to its place and coherent to its appellation. Extremely well made.' Mattia Mazzi.
91Quercia al PoggioVigna le Cataste Gran Selezione 2016Gran SelezioneArmit
Price £27.00
Blueberries and cigar box, with cinnamon, vanilla and firm tannins - would work well in a Coravin.' Konstantinos Nestoridis. 'Baked plums, and black fruit, balsamic notes, cedar wood, cinnamon and cloves.' Franco Fortunati. 'Nice fruit and richness, though the tannins cut in on the finish.' Paola Giraldo.
89Tenuta Di ArcenoStrada al Sasso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016Gran SelezioneOenofuture/Jackson Family Wines
Price £28.00
Cassis, blackberries and herbs on the nose, but delivers less on the palate.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Fruit and roses on the nose with a hint of nutmeg and pepper. High acidity on the palate - this is still young.' Paola Giraldo.
88Rocca delle MacieRiserva di Fizzano Gran Selezione 2018Gran SelezioneSeeking UK importer
Price £60.00
Wild, spiced and polished. Definitely made to impress, with cutting-edge winemaking. Attractive and polished.' Mattia Mazzi. 'Still vigorous on the nose, and it needs to soften. But definitely complex, with ripe cherries, minerality and some earthy notes.' Paola Giraldo.
88Lamole di LamoleVigneto di Campolungo Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2016Gran SelezioneAlivini
Price £35.00
Floral and ripe-fruited, though still quite tannic.' Klearhos Kanellakis. 'Sandalwood and vanilla. Smooth and elegant.' Franco Fortunati. 'Plumper fruit, coarser tannin. Masculine and muscular.' Mattia Mazzi.

Judges’ Recommendations

We know how important the opinions of your fellow sommeliers are to members of the Collective. So a key part of our Awards Tastings is to ask the judges to pick their own favourite wine from what they’ve tasted on the day.

It needn’t be the highest-scoring or most-expensive wine; it needn’t have won a Special Award. It didn’t even matter if the rest of their team didn’t like it as much as they did.

The point is, it was a wine that really spoke to them, for whatever reason. So if you like what they say about it, perhaps it will speak to you, too.

Mattia Mazzi

Il Palagio di Panzano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 (92 points)

This wine had gorgeous, tangible fruit, with depth of concentration and real multi-dimensionality, as if it was a blend of several different plots. There was warmth and muscle, but also restraint – it was really developing nicely. For me it had a sense of place, but also its own identity. It would work well by the glass in a wine preservation system.

Currently not imported, contact activities@palagiodipanzano.com for information. Predicted price £28.20

Paola Giraldo

Casaloste Chianti Classico Riserva 2017 (96 points)

This wine has a complex, seductive nose – tomato passata, reduced sauce, bolognese, spices and nutmeg. It’s rich and powerful, but also a very good expression of terroir – complex and elegant at the same time, and I found it good value for money. It would be great with flavourful dishes like pan-fried meat with butter and herbs, parmigiano-based dishes, cured meat and stews.

£23.00, Laytons

Stefano Barbarino

Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2018 (89 points)

This is quite ripe, with plenty of strawberry and cranberry character, but it’s also herbal with hints of black pepper and slightly spicy on the palate. It’s fresh, clean and gentle, but also elegant – from a cooler vintage so it has nice freshness. The tannins are ripe and soft. It’s just a very enjoyable, easy-drinking wine, and I’d serve it with duck breast and cherry compote.

£13.15, Maisons, Marques et Domaines

Franco Fortunati

Il Palagio di Panzano Chianti Classico 2016 (94 points)

This wine has a complex nose, with notes of wood floor, plums and cedar wood. It’s very smooth and elegant on the palate – well integrated with seamless tannins and balsamic notes. It’s nicely aged. It’s a complex wine but very well balanced and the price/quality ratio is outstanding. It’s a lovely expression of Chianti Classico, and I’d have it with rack of lamb.

Currently not imported, contact activities@palagiodipanzano.com for information. Predicted price £28.20

Fernando Cubas

Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico 2019 (90 points)

This is a ruby-coloured wine, with aromas of fresh and ripe fruit – mostly plums. It has good concentration on the acidity, but also neat structure – fresh acidity and grainy tannins with a finish that’s both savoury and long. I really liked its balance and concentration – particularly for the price point. It’d be great with beef, hard cheese and pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces.

£15.00, Oenofuture/Jacksons Family Wine Estates

Klearhos Kanellakis

Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2018, Famiglia Zingarelli (94 points)

There was ripe fruit here together with herbal notes, chalky minerality and a light earthiness. High quality oak, but also balanced with ripe tannins. It’s very classy – everything you would want from a top Chianti Classico, with a high level of complexity, typicity and elegance. It’s a good wine for wine-pairing; great with beef wellington, for instance.

Currently not imported, contact the winery for information. Predicted price £36.00

Konstantinos Nestoridis

Banfi Chianti Classico 2017 (89 points)

This has an attractive ruby colour, with notes that are really reflective of the region. There’s wooden box, followed by a tart of Muscat grapes, then it’s dry on the palate. It’s friendly and relaxed, fresh but full-bodied. It’s great value for what it is. I’d have it with duck a l’orange with smoked beetroot.

£13.08, Louis Latour

Lionel discussing List Champions
Tears reflected in shadow
Konstantinos K and Paola at work

List Champions

One of the things that makes our Awards tastings unique is that they’re totally focused on the on-trade. Not just because they’re judged by sommeliers, but also because we ask our tasters to select wines for very specific restaurant list roles.

These include Best for By The Glass, Best for Group Dining and Best for Preservation System. But we also give out an award for the best overall wine in the tasting (Best in Class) and for the wine with the best score to price ratio – Best Value.

These List Champions are a bit different – certainly we don’t know of any other competition that has an award system like this. But we think they are highly practical – designed to reward wines whose style, price and quality all make them perfect for the job – all of which makes your life easier.

We hope you like them and find them useful and enjoy trying, listing and selling the wines.

And many congratulations to our winners, who have come through three rounds of judging to pick up these awards.

Best in Class

Brancaia Chianti Classico 2019

This award goes to the wine with the best overall score. Since there were two other wines that averaged a score of 96, our judges looked at the one that had consistently high scores from all tasters (rather than, say, three very high scores and two lower ones). Price, too, was a factor. The Brancaia was significantly cheaper than either of the other 96-point wines, making it great value.

Our judges loved this, quite simply, for being a brilliantly classic expression of Chianti. Not big and shouty, but bright, elegant and beautifully put together. Any venue looking for a quality Classico expression should have this on their radar. And the margin options are good at this price.

‘Quite pale, which anticipates the suave, finely perfumed cherry nose. Very elegant and harmonious. Acidity is the leitmotif – vibrant, elegant Chianti.’ Mattia Mazzi

‘Floral, fruity, not too intense, delicate and elegant.’ Franco Fortunati

‘Classic Chianti colour and nose, with a high acidity and velvety texture. Aromas of tomato paste, dried oregano, dried roses, meat and pepper. Classic Chianti flavours.’ Paola Giraldo

£17.77, Enotria&Coe


Best Value for Money

Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico 2018

On one level, value for money is easy to calculate – it’s the wine with the most number of points for the lowest price. But our judges also felt that we should be going for a wine with at least 90 points. Something, in other words, that our tasters really wanted to list. And at this level, the Rocca di Montegrossi really stood out. Serious quality for the money.

There was a structured linearity to this wine that really appealed to our tasters – like it was walking a tightrope between ‘fruity’ and ‘edgy’ but always perfectly in balance.

‘Pronounced on the nose, with ripe strawberries, cherries and earthy notes with a hint of vanilla and spices. Rich, but not harsh tannins. Complex, with well-defined flavours.’ Paola Giraldo

‘A dry, ‘vertical’ Chianti. A fine balance of nerves and fibre, length and intensity with purity of flavours.’ Mattia Mazzi

‘Black fruit, plums and balsamic notes, this is very clean and balanced. Great to pair with food such as pork and pasta.’ Franco Fortunati

Available from Flint Wines, £13.50


Best for By The Glass

Quercia al Poggio Chianti Classico 2019

The By The Glass criteria are easy to understand: the wine needs to be easy-going enough to drink on its own, but have the chops to work with food if necessary. The nature of Chianti – that it is largely a ‘food’ wine rather than ‘drinking’ wine perhaps explains why our winner here is priced where it is. The cheaper entries, while often pretty good, mostly needed food.

This light to mid-weight Chianti was one of the most drinkable of our tasting – certainly for the price point, all spicy red fruit, flowers and lift.

‘Classic fine Chianti aromas – red plum compote, flowers, a hint of freshly ground black pepper, mocha and slight smokiness.’ Lionel Periner

‘Ripe and juicy on the nose, with red plums and cherries. Very approachable.’ Stefano Barbarino

‘Vanilla, cinnamon and strawberry on the nose; good complexity and a round structure.’ Konstantinos Nestoridis

Currently not imported in the UK. Contact the winery for information. Trade price calculated at £12.46 ex VAT


Best for Group Dining

Villa Cerna Chianti Classico 2016, Cecchi

Group Dining is growing in importance in hospitality (or was, pre-Covid!) so having the right wines is really important. Our tasters wanted a wine that was very typical of its style, but also approachable for everyone and (very important) at the right price – several notches above ‘house’ or ‘entry level’ but not actively expensive.

Like many of the best wines in this tasting, the Villa Cerna managed to balance some classic Chianti savouriness with plenty of fruit ripeness, to leave a wine that was very much of its place, but still accessible.

‘Ripe red fruits. Smoky and toasty – elegant on the palate, with a beautiful stony finish.’ Stefano Barbarino

‘Fresh raspberries with a hint of saltiness. Very fresh and vibrant.’ Paola Giraldo

‘Cassis and pencil lead with hints of balsamic. Seductive tannins.’ Fernando Cubas

£14.70, Vinexus


Best for Preservation System

Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2016

We all know the importance of having a top-notch selection of wines on by the glass pour. It brings something special to your customers, allows for imaginative (and upgraded) tasting menus and can be good news for your cash take. Because these wines are often rare, unusual or expensive, quality and character, rather than price was the key factor here.

Gran Selezione can be a controversial style. Chianti purists don’t always like the oak use, though looking at the scores in our Awards tasting, our judges didn’t have a problem with it. Because the style is polarising, this is a good style to sell in single (expensive) serves, and this offering from Castello di Fonterutoli was reckoned to be the best wine of the tasting for that purpose.

It was different, self-confident and very definitely had its own character. Perfect for your wine preserver.

‘Red and dark berries, cooked blueberries and flowers. A creamy texture, with high tannins. Full-bodied, but the tannins, fruit and acidity are balanced.’ Paola Giraldo

‘Seductive and extrovert. Pretty, forward sweet red fruits. An artwork. I love this take on GS.’ Mattia Mazzi

‘Leather, tobacco and earthy.’ Franco Fortunati

£30.66, Maisons Marques et Domaines


Chianti Classico Champions, 2021

Thanks to our tasting team on the day. In alphabetical order: Stefano Barbarino, Chucs; Fernando Cubas, The Intercontinental; Franco Fortunati, Murano; Paola Giraldo, Wiltons; Konstantinos Kannellakis, Ekstedt at the Yard; Matteo Mazzi, The River Café; Konstantinos Nestoridis, The Westbury; Lionel Periner, consultant

And last, but most definitely not least, any thanks to Stefano Cubas and his team at the InterContinental Hotel on that there Park Lane for hosting our tasting so beautifully and providing us with great food and coffee!

Tasters on the day (L-R): Franco Fortunati, Paola Giraldo, Chris Losh, Fernando Cubas, Christine Parkinson,, Stefano Barbarino, Lionel Periner, Konstantinos Kannellakis, Konstantinos Nestoridis and Mattia Mazzi