Candialle, Chianti Classico "La Misse di Candialle"
Candialle, Chianti Classico "La Misse di Candialle"

Candialle, Chianti Classico "La Misse di Candialle"

Tuscany, Italy 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$26.00

Candialle, Chianti Classico "La Misse di Candialle"

Today’s bottle is not what most wine people would consider a “unicorn wine,” but it fits this wine person’s definition perfectly: Finding a wine with this much class at a sub-$30 price point is like happening upon a unicorn on your morning run. Well, okay, it’s not that rare, but it is extraordinarily rare. You’d be forgiven if you saw a young, modestly priced Chianti Classico and figured it to be a perfectly serviceable, pleasurable, high-value red for dinner on a Tuesday night. But it’s all that and so much more. It is an elegant, complex Sangiovese from one of Tuscany’s most iconic vineyards—the sun-splashed conca d’oro, in the village of Panzano in Chianti—and it’s special enough to merit the unicorn talk. It blows away wines costing two and three times as much, and not just Tuscan wines; it’ll take on all comers!

Longtime SommSelect readers may recall that I am a firm believer in the greatness of Chianti Classico. To put it bluntly, it’s a better terroir than Montalcino, but there’s a lot more bad Chianti out there than bad Brunello/Rosso di Montalcino. Chianti Classico the “brand” does not carry the same cachet as that of Montalcino, which is a shame given the impeccable credentials of an estate like Candialle. Although Josephin and Jarkko Peränen purchased this beautiful property in 1999 (releasing their first wines in 2002), the estate is a former podere (sharecropper farm) dating back to Roman times. Josephin and Jarkko are avid organic farmers tending 12 hectares of vines right in the heart of the above-mentioned conca d’oro, a broad bowl extending south of Panzano that is home to some of the biggest names in Tuscan wine: Castello dei Rampolla, Fontodi, La Massa…the list is long, and Candialle has risen to an elite level in a relatively short amount of time.

Soils in the Candialle vineyards, most of which sit at about 300 meters of elevation, contain a high percentage of galestro, a friable clay marl with a high limestone content; there is also some pietraforte (hard sandstone) and alberese (hard chalk). This soil composition, combined with wide diurnal temperature shifts, imbues the wines with the kind of lively energy and perfume that sets the best Chianti Classico wines apart. As I can never resist saying: Montalcino Sangiovese is cellos; Chianti Sangiovese is violins.

The organically farmed fruit for this 2021 was fermented and aged in concrete tanks, which seems to have the effect of softening the texture of the wine without diminishing its acid-driven energy. Above all else, this is a wine distinguished by its complex, beguiling perfume, a mix of saturated black cherry fruit, rose petals, underbrush, and a whiff of smoke that will make Sangiovese aficionados swoon. But I’ll go a step further: If you love Bourgogne Pinot Noir, this wine will knock your socks off, too. It has perfect proportions—medium-plus in body, with fine-grained tannins—and a seamless integration of fruit and earth flavors. Not only is it delicious to drink now (feel free to decant it 15 minutes before service in Burgundy stems), it should age over the next 3-5 years, should you decide to do the wise thing and purchase a case (or more). One thing’s for sure: One bottle is not enough, because this level of excellence at this price point is…very rare. Enjoy!

Candialle, Chianti Classico "La Misse di Candialle"

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