Wine Review: new vintage of my Chianti house wine
I posted about this wine a few weeks ago, as I have enjoyed many bottles of the 2014 vintage of the Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva over the course of this year. It just switched over to a new vintage so I was curious to compare the two. 2015 was also a stellar year in Chianti Classico, so I had high expectations.
Vintage variation is one of the most overlooked aspects of wine. I think a large reason for this is because nowadays, so many wines taste basically the same all the time, year in, year out. This is particularly true of the heavily marketed wines, which are created to have a particular flavour. (You know the wines I’m talking about; you’ve seen the flashy signs and ads.) To make these wines taste the same no matter what the terroir happened to be, wineries have to use a ton of additives and manipulation. I’m not a fan of these wines (with the exception of some of the Champagne maison blends, because c’mon – it’s Champagne). So it’s always interesting to explore vintage changes, though of course you run the risk of not liking the new vintage as much as the previous one (and I’ve certainly had this experience lots of times).
The 2015 vintage of the Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva has less overt vanilla oak on the nose than the 2014. It also has some tobacco, dry savoury spice, dry rocks and wooden planks. It is much more tannic than the 2014 and it’s still quite tight. This bodes very well for its age-ability, and this is often a feature of wines from great vintages. Part of what makes vintages great is when the wines have excellent aging potential, and by necessity that means they have to have a solid tannin structure. This means they aren’t as immediately enjoyable in their youth, but there’s a quick fix for that: decant!
After my initial tasting, I did a quick splash decant. (This means I poured it into a jug, swirled it around, then poured it back into the bottle.) It opened up a bit more, revealing some red cherry fruit like a fresh bag of Nibs – this is one of my personal indicators for the Sangiovese grape.
I’m going to stash a couple bottles of this in my cellar and see what they’re like in a little while. This is also not my house wine anymore – it’s too tannic and closed right now, and not as immediately accessible as the 2014. That’s OK, though – truth be told, I was getting a little tired of it. This vintage switch was therefore very welcomed!
Name: Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva
Region: Chianti Classico
Grape: 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot
Taste: tobacco, savoury spice, dry rock, wooden plank, cherry Nibs
Texture: grippy and gravelly
Rating: stick it in the cellar for 5 years