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With soma fava beans and a nice chianti

No, I’m not starting a thread about “wine with people” or anything like that.

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/chianti-classico-gran-selezione-castello-di-brolio-2016

Has anyone had this?

I’ve never tried a Gran Selezione Chianti before. I am debating trying. It boils down to the “I’ve never had it and wine are like Pokemon” vs a) the price - I could continue my exploration of none Classico Chianti DOCs and get 3-4 bottles for that. b) I’m not sure I’ll like the style, I prefer normale to reserva level chianti (and often italian wine in general). I know it’s where the best fruit tends to go, but I usually prefer to less time even in neutral oak styles.

Thoughts?

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Using an Italian Food analogy, Chianti Classico to me is like the ‘house pasta’ whereas the Gran Selezione (what’s in a name) is like the same dish with a couple of extra ingredients which has been left on the cooker a little longer, and is a couple of quid more money.
I’m with you on the more standard fare. It’s the best barometer of what makes Italy great.

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I’ve had the 2015 Castello and while it was a polished, smooth wine it didn’t have enough spark to justify the price, for me. I didn’t buy any of the 2016 for that reason, which says something as I bought almost everything else from Italy in that vintage!

I think their single vinyard gran selezione wines are much better, eg Colledila.

I think there is still a wary distrust of the Italian D.O system for a lot of people. It didn’t help when they brought out the DOCG system some years back and then proceeded to give it to virtually every D.O (with a few exceptions).

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I get what you mean. DOCGs were supposed to be the very top of the pyramid, but unlike Spain (there’s currently only two DOCa appellations), huge numbers of the DOCs across the quality spectrum very quickly became DOCGs. I guess this is why Chianti have added in this extra level above Riserva to try and give a little more “this is the quality one” differentiation. There’s a certain Italian-ness about “of course my wine is the best in Italy” about it all. They are very very good at supporting local food/wine.

I love Italian wine, but more than anywhere else in the world you need to know what you’re doing. Even as someone who has a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, I struggle.

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I think this is right. The current Tuscan wine denominations don’t have much consistency or obvious meaning to them. It’s difficult to say what a riserva or a gran selezione will give you that’s different to the annata. Is it about the way the wine is made, eg a set of requirements? Is it about identifying crus? Is it about differentiating ‘best’ from the rest? My impression is that the answer is very different from producer to producer.

Try it and see if you like it seems to be the only reliable approach, tbh, but perhaps the same can be said of most wines?

All I would say about the Castello is that if you like a tangy, nervy style of Chianti, you are likely to be disappointed. Personally, I’d choose Fontodi’s vigna del sorbo over it every time, and in every vintage, but I admit to being a bit of a stuck record when it comes to that wine.

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In the case of what, I know that the Riserva (and now gran selezione) boil down to different ageing requirements.

Annata needs 12 months ageing and a minimum alcohol of 12%
Riserva is 24 months (minimum 3 months in bottle) and a minimum alcohol of 12.5%
Gran Selezione is 30 (again minimum 3 months in bottle) a minimum alcohol of 13% and also needs to be made from “estate grown grapes” and go before a panel to check it’s good enough (which I thought was supposed to be a requirement of all DOCG wine, but still).
[Edit: This is purely for Chianti Classico DOCG. For Chianti DOCG and the subzones there of the rules differ slightly, because of course they do]

The level of village/MGA-ification of Chianti (and bits of Piemonte) is a whole other kettle of mess. It will possibly be helpful in the long run, but there’s not enough information to help make choices, even in the regions I know well.

Burgundy: “Hey! I’m a hot mess of a classification system”
Northern Italy: “Hold my Roero Nebbiolo DOC!”

I know the theory is that producers put their better grapes in the higher up the pyramid wines. I can’t help but wonder if some use the extra age/oak to hide quality for fruit (I am looking at Rioja where I know this was very much the case a few years ago!).

So far I am getting, don’t try this one, but maybe don’t write off the whole category. I’m definitely not willing to spend that much on a wine that someone I know I have similar taste to thinks is a bit meh.

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If I were to spend the extra few quid and pick up the 2017 of this. How long would I be best leaving it (either in reserves or a decanter!)?

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Interesting I was wondering about this one as I’ve already had and loved the Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo. But now you’ve made me hesitate.

I’m planning on sometime around 2026 for my '17s. I’ve an '11 that I might open this year or next.

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There’s the rub: I’d say at least 10 years, if not a touch more. I’ve not tried my 2017s yet but have read that they need a surprising amount of time (surprising given the vintage). I have a bottle of my 2015 once a year, to track development (and as I have quite a few…) and although it was already quite something by 2020, it was clearly too young and each bottle has been noticeably better than the last.

I had my 2022 bottle last week and it was getting there - so, so good. The only problem was that I came down with covid on the 2nd day of drinking it so wasn’t in the mood!

2015 seems to be quite a forward vintage, though, and I’m not planning to increase from 1 a year yet.

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I am leaning towards not.

I think in part because waiting for something like that to be drinkable isn’t something I want to do right now, and also the realisation during a rather dull meeting this afternoon that they’re a wine type created to compete with supertuscans. I am not a fan of supertuscans so probably won’t actually enjoy gran selezione either. I am far better off spending half the price on a bottle of more terroir driven Chianti Classico (or a Ruffina/Colli Senesi, both of which I’ve really enjoyed recently) and the rest on a huge hunk of beef and a bag of more expensive than usual charcoal to enjoy with it.

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I suspect that’s a good decision but vigna del sorbo isn’t like a supertuscan. It’s like an elevated, perfected Chianti where every element is just better and longer.

Can you tell I’m a fan…?

PS. I am right there with you re. Rufina and Colli Senesi - some lovely, very well priced wines. Have you tried the Frascole Riserva?

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I have, I am currently waiting for the 2018 to come in to stock so I can buy some more! Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva, Coppiole, Bichi Borghesi 2016 was a lot of wine for the money too so also on my “new vintage” list.

Wasn’t the Vigna del Sorbo a wine pre-Gran Selezione, so it’s not been designed purely for the category by the big boys? I am skeptical still (mostly time, money and it being almost impossible to buy back vintages as single bottles anywhere) but might give this a pass for now.

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I mostly drink the straight chiantis (annata?) with a preference for Rufina. I can’t be buying many of the del Sorbo at those prices so typically buy just a couple each vintage (so long as I notice them coming on the list!).

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As ever, I think you are right. I suppose it’s really a cru chianti from a good producer and the GS label is irrelevant.

We evidently have similar tastes, though, as that Colli Senesi Riserva has been the standout wine from my self-assembled chianti tasting case.

It’s a pity you don’t live nearby as I’d invite you over to try the VdS if so. I bet you’d love it.

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Pick me! Pick me!
:smile:
I wish the wife would let me go out and leave her with the 7 month and 2,5 year old

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@strawpig may I suggest the below?
These are splendid!
2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Mulinvecchio, Contucci, Tuscany | Lay & Wheeler
And
https://www.laywheeler.com/product-detail?id=3315007A

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@strawpig @Aspedini
As I’m sort stuck at home I would be happy to host a Tasting of Italian fare if you like to visit Hertfordshire

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That would be fab but I’m in a similar position to yours, with a 20 month old beast to think about! Worth thinking about whether a get-together of like minded, spendy wine lovers could be achieved at some point with a bit of planning, though. I’m in Wiltshire, perhaps 30 minutes or so away from @herbster.

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Our children are many, but a bit older, so I’m a little more flexible and could probably negotiate myself a wine evening away with enough advance notice :+1:

Half an hour away from us, in Wiltshire … :thinking: … it’s the car park at Stourhead!

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