Chianti Classico Gran Selezione — Now Official

Posted February 17, 2014; updated May 19, 2015

Gallo NeroThe anticipated new premium level for the wines of Chianti Classico DOCG — Gran Selezione (Great Selection) — has cleared its final hurdle and is now officially part of the Chianti Classico portfolio. Gran Selezione is a new classification above Riserva, made using grapes harvested only from the winery’s own vineyards, with upgraded requirements for alcohol, extract, and aging, as shown below.

Chart comparing the styles of Chianti Classico

The new category was approved by the European Commission in early February 2014 and takes effect immediately. This means that any estate-grown wines that have been aging for at least 30 months and meet the new minimum technical standards can now be sold as Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. According to Michele Cassano, the vice director general of the Chianti Classico consorzio, the new quality level is available from the 2010 vintage — wines that are already beyond the minimum 30 months of aging. In other words, 2010 Gran Selezione wines can be released immediately. The earliest release date for 2011 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is July 2014.

The consorzio estimates that about 8 or 9 percent of Chianti Classico DOCG production will qualify for the Gran Selezione level. Approximately 80 percent of Chianti Classico is exported, with the United States by far the largest market at around 30 percent.

Posted May 19, 2015

Gran Selezione progress

At the West Coast debut of Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines in San Francisco recently, consorzio director Giuseppe Liberatore gave an update on the growth of the Gran Selezione category in the past year since it was created. So far, 84 wineries have gotten approval for Gran Selezione wines, with a total of 89 GS labels among them. GS currently represents about 4% of overall Chianti Classico production, or roughly 120,000 cases, compared to 23% for Riserva.

5 Responses to “Chianti Classico Gran Selezione — Now Official”

  1. Reply Jack Brostrom

    While 2010 is theoretically the first vintage for Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, consorzio rules allow individual wineries to apply for Gran Selezione status for their wines from earlier vintages, provided they can supply documentation to show that the wine complies with the new rules (source of grapes, minimum alcohol, extract, and organoleptic characteristics). As of May 2014, only five or six producers had made application. A few examples were on display at the February 17, 2014, press tasting in Florence, including a 2007 Gran Selezione from Querciavalle.

    • Reply Lisa Feltis-German

      Jack, thank you for clarifying; I wondered if this left producers with wine in barrel/bottle stranded and unable to market as such. Good info.

  2. Reply john h

    Antinori Badia e Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione 2009 now available on market as well, at least in Chicago. The 2008 did not / does not have GS designation.

  3. Reply Lorenzo

    I very disappointed from Chianti Consorzio because they are look their identity. They want to be to much like french wine. This is just another Comercial game that they are doing to stay alive in the usa market. The same wine that they call now “gran selezione ” have been around as long as Chianti Classico is, because if you see a lot of wineries made their best chianti Classico as a riserva or as a second wine.

    • Reply Joshua

      I very much disagree. The Gran Selezione is simply an effort to elevate Chianti Classico’s status. Different communes possess different, discernible characteristics and I think it’s a wonderful idea to try to make sense of it all. This benefits not only the consumer but also the producers’ individual name. Sure, there have always been wines available that would have already qualified to be called what is now known as “Gran Selezione”, but what’s the harm in giving it a name? Any serious wine steward and lover knows that a good wine does not necessarily need to meet classification standards, but it sure is nice to have an idea of what it is that you are getting.

      Overall, I think that this is a step in the right direction to discover and define the spirit of Chianti Classico in all its forms.

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