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New top Chianti Classico category announced

Chianti Classico DOCG will have a new classification above Riserva wines called ‘Gran Selezione’, it has been announced.

Gran Selezione is likely to come into force later this year

Wines in the new top band within the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation must be produced solely from estate-grown grapes and can only be sold 30 months after harvest, with a minimum of three months’ bottle age.

Sergio Zingarelli, president of the Chianti Classico Consorzio, said: ‘The Gran Selezione will not obscure the potential and the characteristics of the Chianti Classico Riservas, but give more emphasis to the top-quality wines which are already produced inside the Chianti Classico denomination.’

However, a leading buyer of Italian wines has dismissed the new classification as ‘more of a whimper’ and ‘bureaucratic tinkering’.

The comments in a blog by David Berry Green, Italian buyer with London wine merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd, label the move as ‘bureaucratic tinkering without adding any real value to a product [the producers have] slavishly refined over the years’.

Describing the announcement as a ‘more of a whimper’, Green said producers were already calling Gran Selezione a ‘Grand Casino’ (‘big mess’), even though the quality of Chianti Classico wines had ‘never been higher’.

He added: ‘The Consorzio are not offering a dramatic delimitation of vineyards, nor an unprecedented classification of Grand or Premier Cru/Vigna sites, nor even of a study of the unique geological terroir that are (sic) at the heart of the stylistical differences between Chianti Classico villages.’

Awaiting final approval by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chianti Classico Cosorzio expects the new law to come into effect later this year. Unreleased wines from the 2010 vintage will then qualify as Gran Selezione.

Written by Anne Krebiehl

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