Wine review: I can’t stop drinking this delicious red from Gabbiano in Chianti

Wine review: I can’t stop drinking this delicious red from Gabbiano in Chianti

Let me show you what I’ve been drinking for the past eight months:

a glass of red wine sitting beside a bottle of Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva with snow in the background
Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2014. Picture taken in mid-October 2020, when it had already snowed in Edmonton. But hey, like the 2014 vintage in Tuscany, we had a beautiful September. Early snow in October was basically a given.

I discovered this wine shortly after the COVID pandemic ramped up in March 2020. Since then, I have drank dozens of bottles of it. I’m not exaggerating. This became our house wine because it’s just so damn drinkable.

It’s fruit-forward without being a gross jam bomb, with rich cherry licorice and a hint of vanilla oak on the nose (the good kind of vanilla oak from French barrels, not the bad Oreo cookie oak from American barrels). On the palate it’s got great structure with dusty, grippy tannins, flavours of red fruit, a hint of tobacco and a smack of spice, and a nice central core of acidity. It’s unchallenging and crowd-pleasing in the best way possible. When I want a glass of delicious, straightforward red wine that isn’t going to mess with my head or my palate, this is the one I pick. 

2014 wasn’t a particularly great vintage in Chianti Classico, though it wasn’t horrible. A cool, wet summer was saved by a perfect September that brought all the grapes up to proper ripeness. Given that the 2015 Classico vintage was significantly better than 2014, and 2016 was even better than that – falling into the “extraordinary” 96-100 category according to Robert Parker – I think we can expect very good things from this particular wine for some time to come. I’m looking forward to tasting the 2015 and 2016 when they eventually roll out on the market. (Which I’m probably single-handedly driving myself, given how many bottles of this I knock back a month.) 

I just hope that the price doesn’t also jump up to extraordinary levels with the vintage change. As of October 2020, this wine goes for about $25 in Edmonton. I really hope that doesn’t change much, because that would certainly change how I rate this wine (and how many bottles I buy of it). This is a great value for $25; it would be very mediocre at $35.

Your move, Gabbiano. Your move.

Name: Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 
Vintage: 2014
Region: Chianti Classico, Italy
Grape: 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot
Taste: cherry licorce, vanilla oak, tobacco, dust
Texture: grippy tannins clenched around a core of bright acidity
Rating: yes please

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