2019 vintage: Chianti Classico, Montalcino, etc.

Today is roughly the mid-way point of my 3 month stay in Italia. To this point, I’ve spent the majority of my time in Chianti Classico zone, though I’ve had 3-14 day visits in Langhe, Umbria, Lazio, and even a brief moment in Liguria (to help celebrate a fellow board member’s nuptials).

Having met with producers (from San Casciano in Val di Pesa to Gaiole) whom I’ve known for the better part of the past decade, or more, and whom I trust, and value their opinions, it’s pretty clear that this vintage is one the most successful in Chianti Classico in at least a quarter century, maybe even the most - their words, not mine - and this is from people that don’t practice hyperbole, merely in acknowledging the gifts that nature sometimes bestows.

Perhaps a part of their vintage sentiment rests on the fact that there’s also a lot to sell, which may be as (more?) important to many (all?) growers, so I take this as but one data point; I will follow this vintage with interest in the coming months and years until it’s released, and beyond.

This vintage, both in Classico zone, and also in Montalcino zone is characterized by superb/ideal growing conditions AND significant quantity. EVOO quality is a mixed bag - near Montecucco, superb, in Chianti Classico, the flies posed a big problem; Umbria’s olives seemed quite good this year, too.

The vintage was so successful in Umbria that Giampiero Bea needed a lot of extra space to receive, and process all of the fruit - so much so that they were busy cleaning older botti that hadn’t been used in years simply because there was nowhere else to put the young wine.

Quality, and quantity are high - I’m happy for all of the wine farmers, and I post this in that spirit, not a spirit of hyping the vintage of a lifetime, etc.

FWIW, the mood in Barolo/Barbaresco/Roero was (mostly) positive (I arrived 2 Oct, just as Barbera was being finished, and Nebbiolo was about to be picked). Given 2017’s challenges in the aforementioned zones, this is a nice win for these growers.

Sadly, the weather today here in Greve/Classico is pretty much the exact opposite of what you see below; the forecast here shows one day of sun during the next 10.

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I’ve also heard from one of my acquaintances who farms in Panzano, Chianti Classico that this vintage has been exceptionally good. While 2019 was very warm in most parts of Europe, the hot temperatures never reached CC and their harvest was much later in the autumn than in previous vintages. It really seems a very positive vintage and I’m looking towards tasting the finished wines.

Great to hear this, thanks to both of you!

Thank you for the update Tim! Glad to hear of your travels. With CC has had a few very nice vintages out of the past handful, and our cup runneth over

Thanks for the update! I was there the last week of May and they were two weeks behind schedule. I assumed the summer heat caused the vintage to catch up. Glad to hear that the vintage looks promising.

Is there any word on how 2020 fared?

Good news because CC is the most food friendly wine I know. Its a fine match to various styles of cuisine and the wines are still fairly priced (at least many of them). I have tons of it in my cellar.


Thanks Jurgen! I’ve been trying to read as much about the vintage as I can, but mostly what I’ve come away with was hot days, cold nights, and picking a bit earlier than normal. Despite that it seems like most people are positive. My concern is, are the hot days going to inevitably lead to high alcohol wines or does the diurnal shift offset that?

Chianti Classico is a very complex area comprising a whole number of very different places (soil, altitude, exposure etc.), as well as a lot of producers with very different philosophies. So, the answer is “it depends”. Generally, though, CC is also a place where, if you are keen to avoid high alcohol wines, you still have plenty of options. Plus, there should be no shortage of '16, '18 and '19 still available, vintages that produced plenty of beautifully balanced wines.

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Thank you! I’m looking at 2020 specifically for wedding vintage wines and Tuscany is more and more becoming the area I want to focus. I’ve heard Piedmont is looking good and I’ve picked up about a case of Bordeaux and a few bottles of Huet, but Brunello and CCR will likely be the bulk of our wedding vintage wines.

High praise indeed - it’s hard for me to conceive of a better Chianti vintage than 2016, but I’m willing to give Tim the benefit of the doubt [cheers.gif]

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Yes indeed, my thoughts too. Tim’s initial comments on 2019 vintage are dated from Nov 2019, but here is a much more recent quote from Galloni on 2019 (from a Sept 2021 Vinous article)

"Two-thousand nineteen is generally a year with more even conditions and no shock events. Many growers describe their 2019s as having lower acids and lower extracts than their 2018 counterparts, although the wines don’t always come across that way in tasting. What impresses me most about the 2019s is their exceptional balance. The wines soar with aromatic intensity and show fine tannins with terrific depth, all with medium-bodied structure. Some wines at the entry-level are on the lighter side of things, while others at the upper-level of quality and ambition are mind-blowing. "

He seems to like the 2019 vintage as well!

Cheers Brodie