The Top 10 Chiantis on the Market Right Now

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Known as one of the best Italian wines, Chiantis are a palate-pleasing, easy-drinking addition to your wine collection. But this familiar option is more than just a simple sip. A bottle of Chianti can elevate a weeknight dinner, or even act as a celebratory drink during the holidays or a party.

But what’s the difference between a Sangiovese, Chianti and Chianti Classico? We’ve got the answers, plus a rundown of the best Chianti wines to drink right now.

What Is Chianti Wine?

Chianti is a region in central Italy within Tuscany that produces wines mostly from the black grape variety Sangiovese. Though Sangiovese is usually the dominant grape variety in Chianti wines, they are often blended with small amounts of other black (or red wine) grapes. Chianti wines are labeled based on where they are grown within the region.

Chianti Denominazione di Origine Controllata E Garantita (DOCG) are wines that typically don’t age well and have simple, straightforward flavors. They grow in a broad geographic range in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains.

Chianti Classico DOCG are wines made with grapes grown in historic, designated areas within the Chianti region. This fruit grows at a higher altitude than those in DOCG wines, creating a more complex red fruit flavor and herb-forward aroma. Chianti Classico wine may mature and develop additional flavors in the barrel and the bottle. These bottles are typically labeled with an emblem of a black rooster and contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG wines have a more complex flavor due to their strict aging requirements of at least two years, at least three months of which must be in bottles.

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. Grapes must be grown by the winery itself, and the wine must be aged for a minimum of 2.5 years, at least three months of which must be in bottles.

A Village-by-Village Guide to Chianti Classico

What Does Chianti Taste Like?

The flavor of Chianti wines varies based on the grape varieties, vineyard location and time spent aging. They often bring high acidity and a refreshing flavor profile to each glass. It’s a dry, red wine with flavors that range from red fruits and dried herbs, to violet and spice. The longer the wine ages, the final product becomes more complex as more notes of leather and menthol poke through.

Of course, there’s still plenty more to learn about Chianti. For an even more in-depth rundown, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Chianti and Chianti Classico.

The 10 Best Chianti Wines to Buy

Ready to start sipping? We tapped Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Department for their picks, from the most basic to the top Chianti Classicos on the market right now.

Badia a Coltibuono 2017 Cultus Riserva (Chianti Classico)

95 Points Wine Enthusiast

This savory, full-bodied red opens with inviting scents of new leather, wild berries, truffle and blue flowers. Polished and delicious, the juicy palate doles out raspberry compote, mature Marasca cherry, baking spice and mocha. Fine-grained, enveloping tannins provide seamless support. Drink through 2027. Editors’ Choice. —Kerin O’Keefe

$18 Vivino

Castello di Ama 2018 San Lorenzo Gran Selezione (Chianti Classico)

95 Points Wine Enthusiast

Smooth and delicious, this compelling red offers delicately enticing scents of dark-skinned fruit, pressed rose, violet and cedar. Boasting layers of flavor, the smooth palate is all about finesse, delivering ripe plum, spiced berries, licorice and crushed mint before a mocha close. Velvety tannins and fresh acidity provide seamless support and balance. Drink 2023–2033. —K.O.

$56 Wine-Searcher

Castellare di Castellina 2019 Riserva (Chianti Classico)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Camphor, blue flower, leather and berry aromas come to the forefront. Elegant and savory, the linear, polished palate offers juicy red cherry, orange zest and star anise set against taut, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2024–2029. Best Buy. —K.O.

$47 Vivino

Cecchi 2020 (Chianti)

88 Points Wine Enthusiast

The nose of this classic expression of Chianti is easy to love, with cherry-strawberry fruit leather and a whisper of fennel fronds. More red berries come out on the palate, alongside orange peels and spices. If the tannins are perhaps a little too forgiving, they only guarantee an immediately enjoyable pour. Best Buy. —Danielle Callegari

$20 Vivino

I Veroni 2016 Occhio di Pernice (Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Made with dried Sangiovese (80%), Trebbiano (10%) and Malvasia Toscana (10%), this opens with aromas of candied orange zest, maple syrup and dried fig. The concentrated, smooth palate offers eucalyptus, honey, black cherry jam and toasted almond that carry on to the long finish. —K.O.

$80 Wine-Searcher

Istine 2019 Vigna Casanova dell’Aia (Chianti Classico)

96 Points Wine Enthusiast

Radiant and delicious, this gorgeous red is for Sangiovese purists and fans of terroir-driven finesse. It opens with enticing scents of woodland berries, violet and camphor, and the elegant, savory palate delivers crushed raspberry, ripe Morello cherry, star anise and white pepper before a minty finish. Taut, refined tannins and fresh acidity provide impeccable balance and focus. Made with organically farmed grapes grown in the village of Radda, it’s just stunning. Drink 2024–2034. Editor’s Choice —K.O.

$41 Wine-Searcher

Lamole di Lamole 2019 Maggiolo (Chianti Classico)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Made with organically farmed grapes, this has vinous aromas of just pressed grapes, ground cloves and blue flowers. The medium-bodied palate offers Morello cherry, star anise and mocha alongside polished tannins. Drink through 2024. —K.O.

$30 Vivino

Monteraponi 2019 (Chianti Classico)

95 Points Wine Enthusiast

Made with organically grown Sangiovese and a small percentage of organically farmed Canaiolo, this lovely red opens with aromas of forest floor, new leather and violet. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control, resulting in an elegant palate boasting a pristine quality as well as personality and delivering juicy red cherry, raspberry, crushed mint and truffle before closing on a licorice note. Tightly knit, refined tannins and fresh acidity keep it well-balanced and energized. Drink 2024–2034. Cellar Selection —K.O.

$28 Vivino

San Felice 2019 Chianti Classico

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Easygoing and enjoyable, this has pretty aromas of violet, eucalyptus and wild berry. The smooth palate boasts ripe raspberry, juicy black cherry and star anise accompanied by pliant, polished tannins. Drink through 2024. Editors’ Choice.K.O.

$18 Vivino

Valiano 2019 Poggio Teo (Chianti Classico)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Subtle aromas recalling ripe wild berries and dark spice with a whiff of new leather form the delicate nose. On the smooth, medium-bodied palate, polished tannins accompany ripe Morello cherry, espresso and ground clove. —K.O.

$23 Wine.com

Why You Should Trust Us

All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.


FAQS 

Is Chianti Sweet or Dry?

Chianti wine is produced as a dry variety of wine, but every bottle varies slightly in flavor and aroma.   

What Grape Varieties Make Chianti?

Chianti wine is typically made from at least 80% Sangiovese grapes, one of central Tuscany’s most important grape varieties. They are sometimes blended with small amounts of other red wine grapes.   

What Are the Four Levels of Chianti?

Basic Chianti wines are bottled young and have simple, straightforward flavors. Chianti Classico wines come from defined districts within the Chianti region and are aged for at least 12 months before release. Wines labeled as Chianti Classico Riserva are aged for at least 24 months and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines are aged for at least 30 months.

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Published on December 8, 2022