It is a vintage during which some of the best vineyards, those historically associated with the best positions, may have had just a bit too much of a good thing while lesser vineyards really hit it out of the park.
Nowhere is this more true than at the lower levels of Chianti and Chianti Classico. 2009 has produced a wonderfully ripe crop of entry level Chiantis: rich, packed with fruit and perfect now and over the next several years. These are fine wines and many posses more oomph and complexity that one might usually find in such affordable wines.
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2009 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico 13% $21
Nicely fruity on the nose with early notes of mulberry, black fruits and violet over some limestone notes. Rich, ripe yet transparent on the palate with lively, crisp tannins and an edge of austerity that underpins the mulberry, black raspberry and juniper/forest floor-toned palate. This finishes much more in the red fruit end of the spectrum with currant and cherry fruit lingering over a succulent, sandy soil-driven base. Archetypal Chianti. 89pts
2009 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico $19
Mineral and lean on the nose with dusty, earthy, slightly vegetal notes over peach and raspberry fruit. A touch soft on entry, this shows lovely balance with plenty of red cherry and raspberry fruit on the nicely sapid palate. The finish is bright and almost a touch salty, with fine minerality and refreshing acidity. 88pts
2009 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 13.5% $16
A little funky on the nose with notes of rust, dried cow stall, ash, a little tobacco and fine strawberry fruit. Soft on entry and open knit, with a fine core of clear strawberry fruit. The finish is bright and refreshed with ripe acids. Overall a tad simple, but very Chianti-like. Shows pure strawberry fruit in a rustic style. 87pts
2009 Poggiotondo Chianti Cerro del Masso 13% $16
Tightly floral with notes of violet and spice accenting a fruit-driven nose layered over wood spice. The oak shows a bit more nuttiness and oak with air. Smooth and fruity in the mouth in a fairly opulent style. This has nice acidity helping to keep things lively, but has a certain sheen to it with wood tannins emerging on the short, cocoa-tinged finish. 87pts
2009 Castello Banfi Centine Toscana IGT — $11 13.5%
Very youthful on the nose is all lightly creamy, spice wood and vanilla framed cut cherry/berry fruit that's topped with a nice violet note. A little light bodied at first, but this really has attractive black cherry and strawberry fruit wrapped in in soft tannins and fairly bright but integrated acidity. Fruity and simple with a touch of a chunky mid-palate that leads to a slight rustic finish. Mostly Sangiovese with enough Cabernet and Merlot to add richness though not enough to obscure the wines Tuscan roots. 87pts
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Check out our recommendations on great place to sip Chianti in Top Sangiovese Destinations!