Chianti Classico is Your Go-To, Under $30 Dinner Wine

Grape selection and wine making in a Tuscan farm.
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Chianti is one of the most recognizable regions of Italy and is responsible for many wine drinkers first experience with Sangiovese, and for good reason. The Tuscan region produces excellent wines for every budget. And on top of that, the style is also incredibly food-friendly, making it foolproof for pairings. Here are some of our favorites below.

A Beginner's Guide to Chianti and Chianti Classico

Vecchie Terre di Montefili 2017 Chianti Classico; $30, 94 points. This has aromas of scorched earth, toasted nut and eucalyptus. The lean palate suggests prune, blood orange and bitter walnut alongside unripe tannins. You’ll also note a green note suggesting powdered sage on the abrupt, astringent finish. Domenico Valentino. —Kerin O’Keefe

Istine 2018 Chianti Classico; $25, 93 points. Aromas of crushed dark-skinned berry, violet, tilled earth and baking spice are front and center on this fragrant red. Racy and loaded with youthful energy, the savory palate features black plum, Marasca cherry and licorice framed in taut polished tannins. Bright acidity keeps it fresh and balanced. Drink through 2025. Oliver McCrum Wines. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

Castello di Verrazzano 2017 Chianti Classico; $24, 92 points. Made with organically grown grapes, this delicious red has aromas suggesting underbrush, blue flower, eucalyptus and mature black-skinned fruit. The smooth, chewy palate shows ripe Marasca cherry, black plum licorice and hazelnut. Taut, fine-grained tannins provide the framework and generate a rather drying finish. Taub Family Selections. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

Frescobaldi 2016 Tenuta Perano (Chianti Classico); $27, 92 points. Subtle aromas suggesting camphor, French oak, purple flower and star anise form the nose. Firmly structured and linear, the elegant, savory palate evokes Marasca cherry, licorice and orange zest alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. Shaw-Ross International Importers. —K.O.

Isole e Olena 2017 Chianti Classico; $29, 91 points. Aromas of underbrush, violet, toasted nut and camphor lift out of the glass. Showing the heat of the vintage, the palate features prune, dried cherry, espresso and hazelnut alongside fine-grained tannins. Drink through 2023. Chambers & Chambers. —K.O.

Castello La Leccia 2017 Chianti Classico; $18, 90 points. Made with organically farmed Sangiovese, this opens with aromas reminiscent of black-skinned berry, scorched earth and leather. The juicy palate offers blueberry, star anise and cinnamon alongside polished tannins and firm acidity. Drink through 2027. Ideal Wine and Spirits. —K.O.

Cinciano 2016 Chianti Classico; $26, 90 points. Made entirely from Sangiovese, this opens with fragrant aromas of violet, tilled soil and red berry. Reflecting the nose, the juicy palate offers red cherry, raspberry and cinnamon alongside polished tannins and bright acidity. Enjoy through 2025. Noble Harvest, LLC. —K.O.

Geografico 2016 Contessa di Radda (Chianti Classico); $25, 90 points. Lithe and polished, this has aromas of red berry, wild rose, menthol and a whiff of nutmeg. The savory, medium-bodied palate offers juicy Marasca cherry, baking spice and a hint of coffee. Supple tannins and fresh acidity keep it balanced. Drink through 2024. 8 Vini, Inc. —K.O.

We Recommend:

Riecine 2018 Chianti Classico; $25, 90 points. Dark-spice, toasted nut, blue-flower and camphor aromas waft out of the glass. Round and savory, the chewy palate doles out ripe black cherry, star anise and coffee bean alongside supple tannins. Drink through 2023. Soilair Selection. —K.O.

San Fabiano Calcinaia 2015 Chianti Classico; $22, 90 points. Made with organic grapes, this opens with aromas of violet, baking spice and a hint of nutmeg. The concentrated palate delivers red plum, mocha and white pepper alongside taut tannins. Drink through 2024. Matchvino. —K.O.

Published on January 1, 2021