Many of you may not realize, but there is an even higher tier to define the very best Chianti Classico than “Riserva”, and that is the classification Gran Selizione.
Among other strict regulations, to qualify for the Gran Selizione the winery must completely source the grapes (must be a minimum of 80% Sangiovese) from its own estate vineyards, and the wine must be aged at least 30 months before its release. The idea is to better enhance and define the distinctive expressions of each of the nine communes of the zone.
Time is money, so is quality and scarcity. Thus affordability is problematic when finding a worthy Gran Selizione as the wineries always charge premium prices. One should expect to pay at the very least $75 a bottle, but some go upwards of $200+ at release. Which is why I have another astounding wine for you!
Jacopo di Battista, the owner of Querceto di Castellina, is a good friend. Jacopo has poured at store’s tasting bar, and has been an overnight guest at our house on different occasions. I have not seen Jacopo or his American wife Mary for probably three years now, as they spends most of their time in Tuscany and have changed importers. Recently I discovered a small cache of his 2015 Querceto di Castellina “Sei” Gran Selizione and immediately asked for a sample bottle to be shipped to me. “Sei” translates to “you are”. And we were, and YOU ARE going to be so pleased at just how fabulous this wine is for the money!
Rated 94 points by Wine Spectator (see cut/paste below) with a release price of just $60 a bottle.
QUERCETO DI CASTELLINA Chianti Classico Sei Gran Selezione 2015
Release Price $60
Issue: Feb 28, 2019
Tasting Note: “An oaky vanilla note introduces this suave red. The oak is well-integrated, nicely framing black cherry, leather, wild herb and tar flavors, all backed by dense tannins. Ruggedly polished. Best from 2021 through 2034. 750 cases made, 350 cases imported.” — BS
My notes: It’s only been a 19 months since the Wine Spectator posted this review, but I did not find any “oaky vanilla note” in this wine whatsoever. If this “baby fat” was there, it has completely integrated now which is a good thing, and one should prefer. This is an excellent, fuller-bodied Chianti as the classic aromas of wild berries, fennel, leather, and telltale earthy tar component reveal and mirror on the palate. The “dense” tannins are present and accounted for, but I would describe them also as firm and comforting. I love the way the wine’s natural acidity plays on the finish with the tannins. Both are looking for a well marbled, classic Bistecca Alla Fiorentina to work their magic. Or to realize this wine’s greatness and draw out the complexity lurking from within, just try the traditional pairing of a chunk of parmesan Reggiano.