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Expert’s Choice: Chianti Classico Riserva 2010

See Stephen Brook's evaluation of the 2010 Chianti Classico Riservas plus his top 17 picks worth seeking out...

2010 was a tricky vintage that turned out better than expected. After a cold winter, spring proved cool and damp, with little sunshine. Fortunately June and July were very hot, but were then followed by a cooler than average August and September, which slowed maturation. By late September there was rain and some disease, which continued into early October. Higher vineyards tended to have fewer problems with rot than lower, damper sites. Many estates had lower than average yields – around 20 percent down on average – and this too helped bring the bunches to full ripeness. The Mazzeis at Fonterutoli admit that in 2010 it wasn’t easy to get full ripeness, but they still prefer it to 2009. Not everyone agrees. Roberto Stucchi at Badia a Coltibuono considers his 2009 superior.

Giovanni Manetti at Fontodi observes that for some growers it was a choice between picking slightly unripe fruit or risking the advent of rot. He finds the wines muscular, concentrated yet very fruity. Others find them lighter and less luscious than the 2009s. Most agree that the wines have fine acidity that will contribute to their ageing potential. They also tend to have lower alcohol than the super-ripe 2009s.

Both vintages have their partisans, and both are clearly very good. Perhaps the 2010s are less consistent as some estates will have struggled to achieve full ripeness.

See Stephen’s top Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 choices here

Written by Stephen Brook

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