Chianti Classico producers need to grab the opportunity of the appellation's 'Gran Selezione' top tier – or the new designation will remain an 'empty shell', they warn.
Gran Selezione is the new Chianti Classico tier above Riserva
Their comments come after the decision by the Chianti Classico Consorzio to introduce the new classification, above Riserva, later this year, starting with wines from the 2010 vintage.
Sebastiano Capponi of Villa Calcinaia, in Greve, told Decanter.com that the new category represents ‘an opportunity to make a wine with 100% proprietor’s grapes, linked to a winery and hopefully a specific vineyard’.
But he added: ‘If producers decide not to grab this opportunity, Gran Selezione will remain an empty shell.’
‘The new denomination should be based on the differences of the region, not on shortcuts that are an end in themselves,’ said Vittorio Fiore of Poggio Scalette, also in Greve.
‘The fact that many producers have chosen the IGT category for their top wines says a lot about the credibility of the DOCG.’
Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi of Bibbiano in Castellina, however, is cautiously optimistic, saying: ‘I do not know if Gran Selezione will be a Gran Successo [success] or just a Gran Casino [big mess]; only time will tell.
‘However, it is the first true category in the appellation purposely made for estate-grown wines.’
Sergio Zingarelli, president of the Chianti Classico Consorzio, responded: ‘Gran Selezione will not create any confusion.
‘Rather, our aim – which we are certain we’ll achieve with this new type of Chianti Classico – is to give better order to our denomination and further valorise our territory’s excellent wines.’
Earlier this week, Berry Bros & Rudd Italian wine buyer David Berry Green dismissed Gran Selezione as ‘bureaucratic tinkering’ and ‘more of a whimper’.
In June 2012, when the new classificaiton was initially announed, Paolo De Marchi of Isola e Olena voiced concerns about the necessity of a new quality tier: ‘People are already confused between Chianti and Chianti Classico. I don’t really see the need for a new category unless it relates directly to wines of origin.’
Written by Anne Krebiehl