In 2014, some producers debut Chianti Classico’s brand-new category, gran selezione. These wines must be entirely grown, produced by and bottled at the estates and undergo 30 months aging. In contrast, riservas age 24 months and may be sold in bulk.
The category, which some see as an obvious attempt to lure top Sangiovese-based super Tuscans back into the Chianti Classico fold, has generated controversy among producers, who seem to either love it or hate it.
Piero Antinori, Marchesi Antinori
“Gran selezione has to be made exclusively from estate grapes, and the wine’s origin will be rigidly overseen. So, Chianti Classico bought in bulk and bottled by wine merchants won’t be permitted to use ‘Gran Selezione’ on the label.”
Marco Pallanti, Castello di Ama
“The goal is that gran selezione will become the flagship bottling for every producer in Chianti Classico, made from an estate’s top vineyards. But, for the category to succeed, gran selezione has to be more than simply a riserva aged for another 6 months.”
Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena
“The name and the concept bother me because the word ‘selection’ highlights the human factor in wine. It says nothing about the growing zone. What Chianti Classico needs is more focus on distinguishing our area and vineyards, not another category of wine.”
Michele Braganti, Monteraponi
“There’s already so much confusion generated by all the names attached to Chianti—Chianti Classico, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Rufina, et cetera. Consumers can barely differentiate Chianti Classico from Chianti, so let’s not create even more confusion.”