12 Chianti Classicos for Less Than $40

Various bottles of Chianti Classico on a green background.
Photos courtesy of retailers

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Sourced from the rolling hills between Florence in Siena in Tuscany, the red wines of Chianti Classico are the world’s most well-known expressions of Italy’s iconic Sangiovese grape. This appellation has its roots in the early 18th century when Grand Duke Cosimo III de’Medici set the boundaries for area. In 1984 it earned Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status as a subzone of the broader Chianti Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), and in 1996 it became a separate DOCG in an effort to further reinforce it as a quality wine region.

Three levels of aging requirements for Chianti Classico can be found. Annata, or wines without any aging statement listed, are aged for 12 months before release, while Riserva wines are aged at least 24 months and Gran Selezione wines are aged at least 30 months.

The reds of Chianti Classico are marked by refreshing, zesty acidity that results from the high elevations in the area (relative to Chianti) and are loaded with bright cherry, violet and spice flavors. Longer aged wines can show more depth and complexity, with heady notes of leather and menthol typically more prominent.

Bottle of Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Wine.com

Badia a Coltibuono 2017 Riserva (Chianti Classico); $36. Buy on Wine.com. Made with organically farmed grapes, this offers enticing aromas of camphor, blue flower, new leather and dark spice… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Castello di Bossi 2019 Chianti Classico; $24. Buy on Vivino. Made with organically farmed Sangiovese, this medium-bodied red has aromas of forest floor, wild berries, camphor and new leather… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Castello di Gabbiano 2018 Cavaliere d’Oro (Chianti Classico); $11. Buy on Vivino. Aromas of dark-skinned fruit, cedar and underbrush emerge from the glass… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Castello-di-Verrazano Chianti Classico.
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Castello di Verrazzano 2018 Chianti Classico; $25. Buy on Wine.com. Made with organically farmed grapes, mostly Sangiovese, this opens with aromas of camphor, new leather, violet and forest floor…. SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Fontodi Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Fontodi 2019 Chianti Classico; $38. Buy on Vivino. Delicate aromas recalling scorched earth and truffle mingle with mocha and botanical herbs on this 100% Sangiovese… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Isole e Olena Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Isole e Olena 2019 Chianti Classico; $34. Buy on Vivino. Made with 83% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 2% Syrah, this lovely, delicious red races out of the gate with enticing scents… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Istine Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Istine 2019 Chianti Classico; $25. Buy on Vivino. This lovely, easy-drinking red has aromas of rose, berry and spice. Reflecting the nose, the bright, savory palate doles out… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Lamole

Lamole di Lamole 2019 Maggiolo (Chianti Classico); $25. Find on Wine-Searcher. Made with organically farmed grapes, this has vinous aromas of just pressed grapes, ground cloves and blue flowers… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico.
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Marchesi Antinori 2018 Villa Antinori Riserva (Chianti Classico); $35. Buy on Wine.com. This medium bodied red opens with aromas of menthol, ripe plum, violet and tobacco… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Ruffino Reserva Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Ruffino 2017 Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione (Chianti Classico); $39. Buy on Vivino. Made with 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Colorino, this opens with intense aromas of violet, black-skinned berry and leather… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of San-Felice Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Wine.com

San Felice 2019 Chianti Classico; $19. Buy on Wine.com. Easygoing and enjoyable, this has pretty aromas of violet, eucalyptus and wild berry… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Valiano Chianti Classico.
Photo Courtesy of Vivino

Valiano 2019 Chianti Classico; $18. Buy on Vivino. Cedar, mature black-skinned fruit and pipe tobacco aromas mingle together in the glass along with a whiff of iris… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

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Published on April 6, 2022
Topics: Wine and Ratings