Tuscan Sangiovese – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Tuscan Sangiovese


BRUNELLO RISERVA

97             Fuligni     $251     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
The Fuligni’s estate is in Montalcino’s northeast quadrant, where the high elevations cause temperatures to drop sharply at night. Those conditions combined in 2016 with a long and even growing season to produce this exciting Riserva. The wine is effortlessly concentrated and powerful, its deep flavors of dark cherry layered with notes of fresh tobacco and mortared herbs underlined by a firm streak of graphite. Scents of violet and lavender enhance the wine’s graceful personality as vibrant spice notes draw out the long, harmonious finish. Empson USA, NY

97             Il Poggione     $140     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli
This Riserva is made only in the best vintages, and the long, even growing of 2016 certainly qualifies. The fruit comes from a single vineyard planted in 1964, the old-vine depth apparent in a wine that is intensely concentrated yet never heavy. Its dark cherry and plum flavors are packed with notes of herbs and spices that ride on deep, gravelly tannins, lifted by scents of rose petal and lavender. Mouthwatering acidity propels the flavors as the wine takes on notes of graphite, tobacco and underbrush. Powerfully elegant, this is built to age. Terlato Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL

95             Castiglion del Bosco     $210     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Millecento
A firm graphite core anchors flavors of rich dark cherry and ripe plum in this superbly balanced and expressive Riserva. That mineral impression carries through as the wine unfolds in layers of dark chocolate, cacao and subtle spice, even as scents of crushed lavender add lift. A surge of cool acidity draws the flavors together toward a persistent and energetic finish. Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, CA

94             Patrizia Cencioni     $100     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 123
This Riserva is coiled and tense at present, its ferrous tannins tightly gripping the dark cherry fruit tones. The flavors gain intensity with time in the glass, with warm spice around the edges, the wine maintaining freshness and verve even five days after the bottle was opened. The fruit comes from a single parcel of vines that was labeled plot number 123 on the local survey map. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

93             Cotarella     $150     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Le Macioche Riserva
This Riserva is bold and spicy, bursting with red berry and cherry flavors in a powerfully built frame. A bit of a bruiser in its youth, the wine begins to take on notes of savory herbs and salinity as it opens in the glass, suggesting it will become more nuanced with five years in the cellar. Trinchero Family Estates, St. Helena, CA

92             Caparzo     $99     2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
This wine shows the power and structure that should be found in a Riserva, its firm core of red-cherry fruit buoyed by vibrant acidity and framed by rigid, ferrous tannins. The flavors stay cool and mineral as the wine gains notes of licorice and subtle spice on the way to a long and balanced finish. Good aging potential here. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL

92             Casisano     $145     2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Colombaiolo
Fruit from a single plot at the highest point of this estate in Montalcino’s southeastern quadrant yielded a dark and plush wine in the 2015 vintage. Its ripe dark cherry flavors are layered with notes of dark chocolate and warm spice, the flavors taking a savory turn with exposure to air. Lively acidity drives the flavors along a cool, mineral edge. Vintus, NY

92             La Palazzetta     $250     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Flavio Fanti
Flavio Fanti farms 49 acres of vines in Montalcino’s southeastern sector near Castelnuovo dell’ Abate. His 2016 Riserva offers flavors of tangy red cherry limned with notes of fired clay and peppery spice, all underlined by firm, mineral tannins. Hints of coffee bean and praline emerge with air, enriching those red fruit tones. T. Edward, NY

91             Carpineto     $138     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Notes of cinnamon and anise accent this wine’s bright cherry and red-berry flavors, even as notes of roasted eggplant and underbrush lend a deeper and darker tone. The tannins are firm and somewhat astringent at present; they’ll benefit from several years of cellaring to soften, allowing those vibrant fruit tones to shine. Opici Wines, Glen Rock, NJ

91             Pietroso     $175     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Gianni Pignattai and his wife, Cecilia Brandini, farm 12 acres of vines near the village of Montalcino, including the Fornello plot, where vines averaging 30 years of age produced the fruit for this bold and spicy wine. Notes of licorice, cacao and anise weave through the wine’s flavors of ripe Morello cherry, the fruit tones gaining verve with air as the spices linger on the finish. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

90             I Vini di Milena     $48     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
This wine offers flavors of ripe dark cherry and mortared herbs couched in a smooth texture. Hints of orange tea and caramel emerge with air, brightened by lively acidity. Midweight and easy-drinking for a Riserva, it offers some immediate appeal for a steakhouse list. Hill City Imports, Summit, NJ

BRUNELLO

96             Poggio di Sotto     $300     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
This is one of those wines that you feel compelled to drink, not just taste. The nose entices with scents of red cherry, vine-ripened tomato and a hint of blood orange. The texture is smooth and harmonious, with no sharp edges but plenty of verve. Subtle spice notes are perfectly integrated, energizing the vivid fruit flavors and coaxing you to take another sip. Beautifully refined and balanced, it is hard to resist now, yet will give pleasure over many years to come. Winebow, NY

95             SanCarlo     $     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
In 1968, Fulvio Marcucci bought 25 acres near Tavarnelle, in Montalcino’s southwest sector, and began planting vines. Gemma Marcucci, his granddaughter, now manages the estate’s 7.4 vineyard acres with her father, Giancarlo. Their 2016 Brunello is simply gorgeous, a wine for those who appreciate nuance and aromatics over power and density. Aromas of rose petal, thyme and orange peel infuse the flavors of fresh red cherries. The wine keeps gaining energy over several days, broadening the palette of herbal accents into oregano and lavender that impart a compelling sense of place. It is worth seeking out some of the 6,000 bottles made by this under-the-radar producer, and, while you’re at it, look for their delicious 2019 Rosso di Montalcino (also recommended here). North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

94             Argiano     $90     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
A cool mineral tone runs through this wine like a silver streak, energizing the vivid red- and black-cherry flavors and trailing notes of licorice, tarragon and subtle black spice. Despite the warm and dry 2017 vintage, the wine’s aromatics are precise and lifted, revealing scents of rose petal and violet with exposure to air. The flavors gain energy over several days while maintaining that firm minerality that makes this wine so appealing. E. & J. Gallo, Modesto, CA

94             Caparzo     $83     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa
First produced in 1977, La Casa comes from a single vineyard on the Montosoli hill in Montalcino’s northern sector, where cooler temperatures produced a Brunello with fresh cherry flavors infused with vibrant acidity. The wine aged for one year in French oak tonneaux and two years in larger casks, gaining notes of licorice and cacao that meld with the vivid red fruit tones. So expressive already, this wine has a long runway ahead. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL

94             Il Poggione     $100     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
Rich flavors of dark cherry and plum glide in a smooth texture, gaining notes of dark chocolate and licorice as the wine sits in the glass. The tannins are firm and compact, like new leather, yet the generous fruit tones are already expressive, supported by a cool mineral layer and vivid acidity that keep the flavors fresh over several days. This is a refined and elegant Brunello from the warm 2017 vintage, with plenty of aging potential. Terlato Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL

93             Capanna     $70     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
Fresh dark cherry flavors combine with notes of licorice, mortared herbs and a hint of graphite in this balanced wine. The flavors gain earthiness with time in the glass, showing some positive development that puts it in a good place for a steakhouse list. Broadbent Selections, Richmond, VA

93             Patrizia Cencioni     $     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
This wine is cool on the attack, its fresh black-cherry flavors layered with notes of tobacco and sweet spice and underlined by dark, mineral tannins. The wine is dense yet precise, dominated by some wood notes but with vibrant cherry flavors surging through on a long, energetic finish. This will be even better with a few years of bottle age. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

93             Cortonesi     $80     2016 Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella
Sangiovese for this wine comes from the clay and sandstone soils of La Mannella, an estate parcel in Montalcino’s northern sector. The wine is tightly wound, its sappy black-cherry flavors emerging with exposure to air and taking on dark spice notes. There’s plenty of acidity and structure here to keep the wine fresh as its tannins soften over the next several years. Quintessential, Napa, CA

93             Fuligni     $112     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
With vineyards located in Montalcino’s cooler northeastern quadrant, this estate was well positioned to withstand the heat and drought of the 2017 growing season. The wine’s red cherry and berry flavors are crunchy and bright, lifted by a hint of blood orange. The tannins are like molten iron, firmly guiding the pure fruit tones as the wine unfolds to reveal hints of smoke and warm spice. It feels a bit lean at this stage, and should flesh out with a few more years of bottle age. Empson USA, NY

93             Palazzo     $90     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
This midweight wine unfolds with flavors of macerated cherries and blackberries laced with notes of tobacco leaf and dried thyme. The wine takes on notes of licorice and subtle spice with air, the flavors buoyed by lively acidity that keeps the fruit tones fresh and taut. Montcalm Wine Importers, NY

93             San Giorgio     $60     2017 Brunello di Montalcino Ugolforte
The ColleMassari group took over this property in 2016, with 64 vineyard acres adjacent to the group’s Poggio di Sotto estate in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, in the southeastern sector of Montalcino. This is the first vintage that Federico Staderini and his team controlled from start to finish, aging the wine in 30-hectoliter Slavonian casks instead of the small barrels that had been used in previous years. It unfolds with flavors of black cherry and sour cherry laced with notes of licorice, blood orange and mortared herbs. Tangy acidity propels the flavors as they ride on big, smooth tannins that feel classically powerful. Winebow, NY

92             Capanna     $70     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
This wine’s cherry and raspberry flavors are vivid and focused, layered with notes of savory herbs and underbrush that balance the ripe fruit tones and lend a pleasant earthy element. Soft spices hover around the edges, enlivening the flavors and lingering on the finish. Although this should age well, the bold and balanced fruit tones offer some immediate appeal as well. Broadbent Selections, Richmond, VA

92             Caparzo     $49     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
The team at Caparzo culls sangiovese for this Brunello from estate vineyards in four different zones of Montalcino, varied in soil and elevation. Those components combine in a balanced and harmonious wine, its flavors of crunchy red cherry and black cherry layered with notes of dried herbs, underbrush and a hint of cocoa. Chewy tannins and a bright core of acidity suggest the wine will bring pleasure over the next decade. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL

92             Castiglion del Bosco     $150     2017 Brunello di Montalcino Campo del Drago
A spot of rain in early September helped mitigate the hot and arid conditions of the 2017 growing season at this estate in the northwestern sector of Montalcino, and that restraint shows in the high-toned aromas and flavors of this single-cru wine. Scents of wild herbs and rose petals lead into flavors of red cherry and cassis, those red fruit tones taking on notes of smoke, spice and caramel with exposure to air. Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, CA

92             Castiglion del Bosco     $60     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
This wine is powerful and dark-toned, with weighty tannins and notes of scorched earth that underline its concentrated black cherry fruit. Bold and spicy on the finish, it will be even better in a couple of years. Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, CA

92             Patrizia Cencioni     $58     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
This estate’s 2017 Brunello is smokier and more savory than the vibrant 2016 (also recommended here). It opens with flavors of red cherry and cherry tomato that ride on cool, ferrous tannins. The wine gains some earth and musk with time in the glass, and the finish is brightened by a note of orange peel. It feels densely packed at present, and will benefit from several years in the cellar. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

92             Cortonesi     $117     2016 Brunello di Montalcino Poggiarelli
This wine, from a single vineyard in southeastern Montalcino, offers a burst of fresh cherry and tangy orange-peel scents girded by a firm layer of graphite. Notes of coffee and spice emerge with air even as the wine’s well-woven acidity propels the flavors to a brisk finish. Quintessential, Napa, CA

92             Cotarella     $110     2017 Brunello di Montalcino Le Macioche
Notes of autumn leaves and forest floor lend an earthy appeal to this savory Brunello. Its dark cherry flavors are soft and rich, warmed by notes of cinnamon and anise. With its complex flavors and lingering spice notes, the wine is ready for bistecca. Trinchero Family Estates, St. Helena, CA

91             Casisano     $63     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
Scents of rose petals and cinnamon lead into flavors of ripe red cherry that are tangy and juicy, framed by moderate tannins that provide some immediate appeal. Hints of dried leaves and orange peel mingle with lingering spice notes on the finish. Vintus, NY

90             Tenuta La Fuga     $70     2016 Brunello di Montalcino
Flavors of dark cherry meld with notes of grilled herbs and scorched earth in this smoky and savory wine. Hints of peppery spice emerge toward the finish, and the wine’s savory tones would work well with barbecue. Kobrand, Purchase, NY

90             La Palazzetta     $150     2017 Brunello di Montalcino Flavio Fanti
Flavors of warmed cherry and sweet strawberry lend this wine a rich ripeness, verging on candied yet balanced by earthy tones of loamy soil and forest floor. Hints of licorice add a spicy kick to the warm and weighty finish. This may not be a wine for the long haul, but it has plenty of immediate appeal for steakhouse lists. T. Edward, NY

90             Pietroso     $88     2017 Brunello di Montalcino
Scents of violet and rose petal lead into flavors of baked cherry and strawberry in this appealing young Brunello. The dark, mineral tannins are smooth and polished, the fruit tones layered with notes of dried herbs and a bright twist of orange peel. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

ROSSO

92             Poggio di Sotto     $100     2018 Rosso di Montalcino
This Rosso is packed with flavors of red cherry and tangy raspberry that feel plush and immediately inviting, with smooth tannins and hints of thyme and licorice that add to the appeal. The purity and precision of the fruit is impressive, and the wine finishes on a bright note of orange zest. Winebow, NY

92             Patrizia Cencioni     $30     2020 Rosso di Montalcino
Patrizia Cencioni makes this vivacious Rosso with fruit from her younger vines and those on north-facing slopes. The red- and black-cherry fruit shows a pleasantly tart edge that meshes well with the wine’s zippy acidity. Hints of dried herbs and subtle spice emerge with time in the glass. This is a Rosso that could benefit from a year or two of cellaring. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

92             SanCarlo     $     2019 Rosso di Montalcino
Aged for one year in stainless steel tank and six months in Slavonian casks, this Rosso is fresh and lively, its flavors of dark cherry and plum showing a crisp edge that mingles well with hints of graphite and underbrush. Notes of smoke and savory herbs emerge on the finish, balancing the bright fruit tones. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

91             Patrizia Cencioni     $     2019 Rosso di Montalcino
This bright and lively Rosso combines high-toned red cherry flavors with savory notes. The flavors show ample concentration and stay taut and precise through the finish. Versatile for a range of tomato-based dishes. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

90             Casisano     $30     2020 Rosso di Montalcino
Scents of pink petals and fresh cherries lead into lively red-berry and orange-zest flavors in this zesty, high-toned Rosso. Its racy acidity and midweight frame make it a versatile wine for poultry and light pasta dishes. Vintus, NY

GRAN SELEZIONE

95             Riecine     $70     2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna Gittori
This northern Gaiole estate was founded in 1976 by Englishman John Dunkley and his wife, Palmina Abbagnano. Lana Frank purchased the property in 2011, overseeing an upgrade of the original cellar and bringing on Alessandro Campatelli as winemaker. Vigna Gittori is the estate’s first Gran Selezione, prompted by the strength of the 2019 growing season. Frank and Campatelli also appreciated recent changes to the category that raised the minimum for sangiovese to 90 percent, eliminated international varieties and allowed producers to list their village name on the front label. This wine is pure sangiovese from the 5.6-acre Gittori vineyard planted in 1971 at elevations reaching up to 1,640 feet. The wine shows deeply concentrated flavors of dark cherry, raspberry and pomegranate that are focused and precise, underlined by cool mineral tones and lifted by scents of lavender and thyme. Already layered and complex, this has the freshness to age well for a decade. Classic Wine Selections, Chicago, IL

94             Rocca di Montegrossi     $80     2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellino
Marco Ricasoli’s vineyards are located in the Monti area, in the southern sector of Gaiole. His 2019 from the 17-acre San Marcellino vineyard shows how much depth and concentration can be achieved from these rocky soils, even in a hot and drought-stricken vintage like 2017. Some of his neighbors had already finished harvesting by mid-September, but Ricasoli chose to wait and benefited from some late-season rains that helped to rebalance the vines. The wine offers deeply concentrated flavors of plum and black cherry, some of those dark fruit tones enhanced by a small percentage of pugnitello that’s blended with the sangiovese. Notes of fennel, lavender and red apple skin weave through the wine, the flavors underlined by a layer of graphite that gives a firm, mineral texture to this wine. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA/Skurnik Wines, NY

92             Antinori     $60     2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano
The limestone and clay soils of Antinori’s Barberino Tavarnelle estate gave a wine that reflects the cool, wet 2018 growing season in its lively acidity and tangy red and black cherry flavors. The wine rested mostly in Hungarian oak barrels, gaining notes of vanilla and sweet spice that enliven the vibrant fruit tones and contribute to the silky texture. Cellar time will allow those oak-derived flavors to integrate. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Woodinville, WA

91             Villa Calcinaia     $68     2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna Bastignano
This 100-percent sangiovese comes from organically farmed vines in Greve’s marl soils. It shows the warmth of the 2015 growing season in its densely concentrated flavors of black cherry and cassis. Soft, leathery tannins frame the flavors as the wine takes on notes of warm spice and underbrush. Savor its hearty flavors with braised meats. Scoperta, Cleveland Heights, OH

91             Castelvecchi     $65     2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Madonnino della Pieve
Sangiovese vines planted in 1950 produced a wine with vibrant and precise red-cherry flavors characteristic of the high-elevation vineyards in Radda. The wine aged for two years in new French oak barriques, gaining notes of sweet spice that amplify the lively red fruit tones. It has enough freshness and energy to improve over several years while those oak flavors integrate. Serendipity Wine Imports, Austin, TX

91             Castello di Querceto     $35     2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Picchio
This concentrated wine from Greve is loaded with dark fruit and notes of spice and underbrush. Already expressive, it would fit nicely at a steakhouse. Prestige Wine Imports, NY

90             Tenuta di Arceno     $60     2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Strada al Sasso
This large estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga is owned by Jackson Family Wines. This wine, from a single block of sangiovese vines planted in 1998, shows deeply concentrated flavors of black cherry and plum framed by fine, polished tannins. Notes of vanilla and sweet spice are balanced by earthy tones that emerge on the finish. Jackson Family Wines, Santa Rosa, CA

90             Castello di Bossi     $40     2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
The team at Castello di Bossi makes this wine with a selection of the best sangiovese from their 310 acres of vines in Castelnuovo Berardenga. It shows flavors of macerated red cherry and orange peel underlined by chalky tannins. The soft acidity makes it easy to drink on its own or with pasta and poultry dishes. Winebow, NY

90             Cantalici     $70     2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
This dark-fruited and generous sangiovese comes from galestro and alberese soils in Gaiole. Its dark cherry flavors are rich and ripe, laced with warm spice and balanced by notes of root vegetables and underbrush. Those developed flavors suggest the wine is at its peak, ready to drink over the next few years. Erie Beverage Solutions, Sandusky, OH

RISERVA

93             Riecine     $40     2019 Chianti Classico Riserva
Alessandro Campatelli’s team produces this wine with sangiovese from Riecine’s high-elevation vines. One of our tasters described it as “exactly what I want from a Riserva,” a wine that shows concentration without weight, combining pure flavors of red cherry and tangy berries with lifted scents of rose petals and orange peel. The wine gains deep savory notes with time in the glass even as mouthwatering acidity keeps the red fruit fresh and buoyant. Classic Wine Selections, Chicago, IL

92             Podere Campriano     $61     2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Fondatore
This small family farm near the village of Greve planted vines for this Riserva in 1980. It opens on a lean and savory note, gaining more fleshy cherry and plum flavors with time in the glass, picking up notes of dried thyme and tobacco, even as it maintains a cool mineral aspect through the finish. Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA

91             Badia a Coltibuono     $36     2017 Chianti Classico Riserva
This Riserva represents a selection of the estate’s best grapes and then the best casks after the first year of aging. The 2017 is dark and dense, with compact, chewy tannins that frame the black-cherry flavors. Notes of licorice and dried herbs add a distinctively Tuscan flair. Dalla Terra, Napa, CA

91             Brancaia     $50     2018 Chianti Classico Riserva
A blend of sangiovese with 20 percent merlot from Brancaia’s vineyards in Castellina and Radda, this Riserva’s deep color matches its richness on the palate. It unfolds with flavors of fleshy black cherry layered with notes of tobacco leaf, espresso and anise. Its dark and muscular style will appeal to Brunello drinkers. E. & J. Gallo, Modesto, CA

91             Monsanto     $28     2018 Chianti Classico Riserva
Laura Bianchi calls 2018 a classic vintage, the cooler temperatures and frequent rainfall a welcome respite after the drought and heat of 2017. Bianchi’s team works with 178 acres of vines in Barberino Tavarnelle and selects the best of the sangiovese, canaiolo and colorino for the Riserva (setting most of the fruit from Il Poggio aside for the Gran Selezione). The 2018 Riserva is fresh and easy-drinking, its vivid flavors of red cherry and raspberry propelled by lively acidity. Freixenet Mionetto USA, White Plains, NY

91             Querciabella     $50     2017 Chianti Classico Riserva
This pure sangiovese is composed of fruit from Querciabella’s best plots in three UGAs: Greve, from soils that are mostly sandstone and clay; Gaiole, with its limestone-rich albarese soils; and Radda’s galestro soils. Coming out of the hot and dry 2017 vintage, the wine’s tangy red-cherry flavors and buoyant acidity speak of the high elevations of these plots (up to 1,800 feet). Scents of lavender and rosemary showcase the wine’s Tuscan character. Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, CA

90             Badia a Coltibuono     $31     2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Cultus
Cultus is Coltibuono’s “modern” take on Chianti Classico Riserva, aged in neutral barriques rather than large casks, its sangiovese base supplemented by 20 percent of other local varieties like colorino, canaiolo, ciliegiolo and mammolo. Its juicy dark cherry and plum flavors are open-knit and expressive, brightened by notes of dried thyme and warm spice. Dalla Terra, Napa, CA

90             Bindi Sergardi     $50     2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Calidonia
Alessandra Casini Bindi Sergardi and her team make this Riserva with sangiovese from the family’s Tenuta Mocenni estate in Vagliagli, near Siena. The galestro and albarese soils gave a bright and lively wine in 2016; its flavors of fresh red cherry and orange peel are balanced by notes of loamy soil and underbrush. The tannins are ripe and round, ready for a rich ragù. Broadbent Selections, Richmond, VA

ANNATA

92             Riecine     $25     2020 Chianti Classico
Riecine’s vineyards lie in the north of Gaiole and reach as high as 1,960 feet above sea level; all have been organically farmed since the 1970s. Alessandro Campatelli took over as winemaker in 2015, and the current releases were some of the most impressive Chianti Classicos we tasted this year. The 2020 Chianti Classico offers an appealing mix of red and black cherry flavors enlivened by notes of thyme and oregano. The raspy tannins, pleasantly savory, give it a Tuscan flair and make it a perfect match for tomato-based sauces. Classic Wine Selections, Chicago, IL

91             Querciabella     $33     2019 Chianti Classico
Sangiovese from estate-owned vineyards in Greve, Gaiole and Radda forms the basis for this lively wine. Its red-cherry and cranberry flavors are tangy and fresh, tinged with hints of orange peel and framed by taut, raspy tannins that make it an excellent partner at the dinner table. As with all of Querciabella’s wines since 2010, it is vegan-friendly. Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, CA

91             Rocca di Montegrossi     $30     2019 Chianti Classico
Marco Ricasoli’s Gaiole estate saw ample rainfall during the growing season and stable weather at harvest, giving a wine with round, ripe tannins and persistent dark cherry and blackberry flavors woven with notes of licorice. A layer of cool graphite balances the dark fruit tones and reinforces the wine’s firm structure. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA/Skurnik Wines, NY

90             L'Erta di Radda     $26     2019 Chianti Classico
This wine is a superb value and showcases the lithe, high-toned style that is typical of Radda. Diego Finocchi co-ferments his sangiovese with five percent canaiolo to enhance the wine’s floral and spicy notes; he ages it in 2,000-liter untoasted barrels, keeping the focus on the pure red fruit. Notes of orange zest weave through the crunchy red cherry and raspberry flavors, and the wine maintains energy and focus through the finish. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA

88             Carpineto     $21     2019 Chianti Classico
This easy-drinking, floral-scented wine offers flavors of fleshy dark cherry and hints of underbrush. It’s perfect for a Wednesday-night roast chicken. Opici Wines, Glen Rock, NJ

86             Villa la Pagliaia     $16     2019 Chianti Classico
This sangiovese from Castelnuovo Berardenga aged for a year in large Slavonian casks. Its flavors of tangy cherry and raspberry are framed by light, raspy tannins and a hint of dried herbs. Medium-bodied and easy-drinking—for pizza. Worldwide Libations, Lyndhurst, NJ
94             Boscarelli     $66     2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva
The De Ferrari family stopped producing this wine after the 1992 vintage in order to replant with a selection from their historic vineyards, resuming production in 2010 when the vines were close to 20 years old. This Riserva comes out of the long and balanced 2016 vintage. Its red-cherry flavors are pure and focused, resonant with notes of fresh thyme and tangy orange zest. The tannins are smooth and cool, framing the flavors as the wine takes on notes of licorice and lavender on the way to a long and lively finish. Empson USA, NY

93             Avignonesi     $100     2016 Toscana Grandi Annate Sangiovese
Formerly Avignonesi’s top-level Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, this became an IGT wine in the 2015 vintage. Virginie Saverys and her team lowered the production to about 12,000 bottles and decided to produce it only in the best vintages (there will be no 2017 or 2019). Winemaker Matteo Giustiniani has cut back on the use of small barrels in the 2016 vintage, aging the wine mostly in 30-hectoliter casks with 15 percent in tonneaux (ten percent new). The result is a wine with a smooth texture and impressive freshness, its red- and black-cherry flavors infused with lively acidity and underlined by firm, ferrous tannins. Subtle spice notes linger on an energetic finish. Avignonesi USA, NY

93             Boscarelli     $173     2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Il Nocio
This wine comes from a south-facing parcel of limestone soils that reaches up to 1,140 feet of elevation. It shows flavors of red and black cherry layered with notes of licorice, fennel bulb and dried oregano. Smooth-textured and harmonious, especially for this hot and dry vintage, the wine gains notes of warm spice and savory tomato that balance the boldly ripe fruit tones. Empson USA, NY

92             Boscarelli     $44     2018 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Boscarelli’s flagship wine, produced since 1968, is medium-bodied, floral and fresh in the cool and rainy 2018 vintage. Scents of rose petals lead into flavors of freshly crushed red cherry and raspberry that are propelled by mouthwatering acidity. The tannins feel cool and taut, the wine perhaps less dense and concentrated in this vintage, yet so immediately appealing for its bright and buoyant personality. Empson, NY Empson USA, NY

91             Avignonesi     $24     2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Sangiovese
This biodynamically grown sangiovese is a vibrant and red-fruited wine, an accomplishment in the hot and dry 2017 growing season. Flavors of red plum and tangy cherry are concentrated and focused, infused with mouthwatering acidity that propels the wine as it takes on notes of dried herbs and a hint of tomato savor toward the finish, making it a superb match at the dinner table for a range of Tuscan dishes. Avignonesi USA, NY

91             Boscarelli     $105     2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Sotto Casa
Nicolò De Ferrari, who runs Boscarelli with his brother Luca and mother, Paola, refers to this wine as “the dark side of Vino Nobile,” perhaps because it carries a black label, but more likely because it is the family’s only Vino Nobile wine that includes some international varieties (twelve percent cabernet sauvignon and eight percent merlot). It shows good freshness for the hot and dry 2017 vintage, its flavors of ripe red and black cherry woven with tangy acidity and brightened by notes of lavender and orange peel. Firm tannins grip the flavors at present, and the wine should show more nuance after a few years of cellaring. Empson USA, NY

88             Avignonesi     $16     2019 Rosso di Montepulciano Sangiovese
This pure sangiovese undergoes a brief fermentation and spends just six months in barrel, putting the emphasis on its fresh floral scents and tangy cherry and plum flavors. It’s an easy drinking, versatile red for the table, and well-priced for by-the-glass lists. Avignonesi USA, NY

is the Italian wine editor at Wine & Spirits magazine.

This is a W&S web exclusive. Get access to all of our feature stories by signing up today.