Chianti Classico Awards Tasting – 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 for information. Predicted price £28.20

Mattia Mazzi, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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

Paloa Giraldo, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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

Stefano Barbarino, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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 for information. Predicted price £28.20

Franco Fortunati, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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

Fernando Cubas, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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

Klearhos Kanellakis, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

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

Konstantinos Nestoridis, wine judge, The Sommelier Collective Awards 2021

Click here for the full Chianti Classico results and here to see our List Champions.

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