The Chianti of our collective memory—a harsh red wine in a rustic wicker basket—belongs in the ’70s. Today’s best Chiantis, which derive their character from the Sangiovese grape, are crisp, herb-inflected and fabulous with hearty winter dishes. F&W’s Ray Isle picks his favorite bottles.



10 Chiantis to Buy

2010 Toscolo Chianti ($10)

A great basic Chianti, with an abundance of crisp red fruit.

2007 Tenimenti Angelini San Leonino Chianti Classico ($16)

Angelini is known for its Brunellos, but its fragrant, medium-bodied Chianti is impressive, too.

2009 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina ($17)

Selvapiana is one of the Chianti Rufina region’s best producers, as this bold wine shows.

2009 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($18)

A spot-on Chianti Classico from a historic property, full of wild berry flavor.

2007 Marchesi dé Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rufina ($19)

The 2007 vintage produced ripe, powerful Chiantis full of juicy black-cherry fruit.

2009 Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico ($21)

Pretty floral violet notes are the hallmark of this streamlined, luscious red.

2008 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva ($22)

Elegant and classically styled— an iconic Chianti bottling.

2007 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico ($22)

Crisp raspberry notes characterize this easy-to-find bottling from Ruffino.

2009 Castellare Chianti Classico ($23)

Vineyards at 1,200 feet and very low yields help explain Castellare’s dark intensity.

2008 Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Colledilà ($65)

A vibrant single-vineyard red from a great estate, its herb-edged, wild cherry flavor is remarkably complex.

New Ideas for Chianti Baskets

What do you call a straw-covered Chianti bottle turned into a candleholder? Boring. Illustrator Peter Arkle has more creative ideas for reusing the baskets.

Chianti basket to dog muzzle

« Chianti basket turned

dog muzzle.

Illustration © Peter Arkle

Chianti basket to ostrich eggcup

« Chianti basket turned

ostrich eggcup.

Illustration © Peter Arkle

Chianti basket to paperweight

« Chianti basket turned

classy paperweight.

Illustration © Peter Arkle


Video: Chianti & More Great Tuscan Wines

Chianti Pairing Tips & Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan with Crisp Bread Crumb Topping
Credit: © Kana Okada
2010 Riff Pinot Grigio ($10)
Red-Wine Spaghetti with Walnuts and Parsley
Credit: © Frances Janisch