2015 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

SKU #1403128 96 points James Suckling

 Aromas of plums, cherries and hints of green olives. White truffles and deep earth, too. Full-bodied, so layered and beautiful with a fabulous texture and ripe tannins. It is so pure and minimalist in the end, showing the effect of traditional, hands-off winemaking. Don’t miss this. Decant before serving. One for the cellar.  (1/2019)

94 points Decanter

 Castello di Monsanto is in a warm pocket but the vineyards are well-ventilated by sea breezes and temperatures fall sharply at night. The Bianchi family uses autochthonous grapes only for their Chianti Classico. In the Riserva, Colorino is added for colour and Canaiolo Nero for its floral bouquet. Vibrant and clearly defined aromas of pepper, dogwood flower and red cherry lead into a much more austere expression on the palate. It possesses a tight yet succulent core with assertive tannins and a long, earthy and savoury finish where nuances of iron and orange peel promise an appetising future. (MM)  (4/2019)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Tight and tannic for now, featuring cherry, black currant, leather, iron, juniper and tar flavors. Firmly structured, meaty and balanced on the tannic side, with a lingering finish. *Smart Buys* (BS)  (10/2018)

92 points Vinous

 The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva is bold, ample and powerful, with a real sense of breadth in this vintage. The tannins need time to soften, as the wine is a bit burly at this stage. This is another stellar release for a wine that routinely overachieves its peer group and price. Dense and packed, with tremendous structure, the 2015 has a lot to say. But readers will have to be patient, as it is very clearly early days for this wine. (AG) 92+  (2/2019)

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Price: $23.99

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By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/5/2019 | Send Email
Delicious as always! It's great to welcome another excellent vintage of this wine to the store. I tasted this Chianti last Saturday, and it showed beautifully, with bright red crunchy cherry notes, sandalwood spice and a long savory finish. While it's been a perennial favorite at K&L, Castello di Monsanto continues to live up to the hype.

By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/20/2019 | Send Email
When a wine strikes my palate like a micro-meteorite, pinging and sending waves of pleasure straight to my olfactory receptors, I look up to the sky and give the stars a thank you, well knowing that those twinkling points of light really had nothing to do with it, that wine is a joyfully delicious earth-born substance, and that it is good. And believe me, the Monsanto is very good, and over the next few years will be even better. With a Mars Attack, excuse me, marvelous attack of bright, resplendently ripe fruit- morello cherries, dark plums and blackcurrants, framed by laserlike tannins, harmonizing acidity and savory spice, this classic Chianti has the components to jettison it well into the future. Not out of this world, only because it's of this world! Enjoy.

By: John Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
This historic estate continues its tradition of producing one of the best Chianti Riservas with the release of their stellar 2015. The signature fruit of a warm vintage is immediate yet there's plenty of underlying structure and freshness in this impressive Chianti. While it's thoroughly enjoyable now, it will certainly improve with a couple of years in the cellar.

By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
I met Fabrizio Bianchi from Monsanto in the early eighties and have been a fan & follower ever since. Mr. Bianchi is certainly one of the earliest pioneers in trying to change the image of Chianti as well as the grapes involved. Fabrizio is a big believer in Sangiovese, the main grape in Chianti and the backbone of most Tuscan wines and was one of the first in Chianti to make wines 100% Sangiovese in the early 70’s.The terroir of this region is evident and expressed consistently, spicy, mineral laden, complex fruits and good acidity.

By: Robert Cash | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
The 2015 Castello Riserva greets you with a deep, bold and expressive nose of ripe dark fruits, raisin, plum and spice box. On the palate, there is a pleasing interplay of tannins, fruit, and acidity with savory notes that combine to make this an exceptionally food-friendly wine. This is a wine of great structure that while approachable now, will continue to age for years to come. I can't wait to see what this is like a few years down the road!

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
The 2015 vintage shows some ripeness on the nose but is still definitive Monsanto. The nose has the classic earth, leather, spice nose with layers of wild brush, hints of smoke and wild cherry that the Castello di Monsanto historically shows. On the palate the Sangiovese’s length shows immediately and adds lots of structure and balance to this richer vintage. I love Monsanto they’re always a power and precision wine and this vintage is that, the flavors are a mix of earth, spice, this wine is always more savory than fruity but, in this vintage, the wild cherry shows a little more and texturally there is an extra cushion adding to the depth. The finish shows the intertwining of tannin and acids over a long and balanced structure, you can drink this wine now, I’d decant 2-3 hours first but Monsanto’s real power rests in its ability to age. This wine will last 20+ years without any problems and at 10 years from the vintage you’ll be able to get an evolved and mature wine that will lose most of its youthful sassiness. I’m putting this into my cellar you should too.
Drink from 2019 to 2040

By: Rachel Alcarraz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
A wine known for its texture and fervency does not disappoint, especially with the concentration of the 2015 vintage. On the nose as well as the palate, the notes of freshly grated cinnamon and clove impressively lead the character of this wine. It is intermixed with the deep blackberry, raspberry and plum notes of the wine while a rich undertone of cocoa and black tea linger throughout. It is a full bodied Chianti with beautiful sweet fruit, rich savory flavors and a smooth, dry finish. Every year I am surprised by how much I like this wine, hopefully next time I will give it the credit it is due.

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2019 | Send Email
Brilliant aromatics of wild strawberry, leather, and mint keep you coming back to the glass. That alone is worth the price of admission. The palate is pure, fresh, and vibrant with crisp cherry, fine grain tannins, and lively acidity that carries the finish. Wonderful on its own, but better with a meal, this is a wine that shows the graceful side of Sangiovese and is a wonderful representative of just how good the 2015 vintage can be.

Additional Information:



- The most widely planted grape in Italy is Sangiovese, a high-acid grape with moderate to high tannins, apparent earthiness and subtle fruit. It is thought to have originated in Tuscany and its name, which translates to "blood of Jove," leads historians to believe it may date all the way back to the Etruscan period, though historical mentions only go as far back as the early 1700s. Though planted all over modern Italy, the most significant wines made from Sangiovese still come from Tuscany: Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese must make up 75% of a blend from the Chianti DOCG t be labeled as such, traditionally allowing for Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia for the remainder, though more recently small proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot have been allowed. In Brunello di Montalcino the wine must be made entirely of Sangiovese. Prugnolo is Montepulciano's name for Sangiovese, and it is used there for the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. In the DOC of Carmignano Sangiovese can be blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also Super Tuscans, IGT wines that blend Sangiovese with large proportions of Cabernet or Merlot. Elsewhere in Italy it is a workhorse grape, though it does find some success (though not the longevity) in the Montefalco and Torgiano wines of Umbria as well as the foundation of Rosso Piceno and a significant element of Rosso Conero from the Marches. Like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese has struggled to find footing outside of Italy, though in recent years California wineries have been having better fortune with grape plantings in the Sierra Foothills/El Dorado County, as well as Sonoma County and the Central Coast.


- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world.


Specific Appellation:


- Chianti is the most famous wine name in Italy is not the name of a grape but actually a region. Chianti lies in the 35 miles of hills between Florence and Siena, a complex geological region as well as geographically. The extraordinary geography makes grape growing a very challenging feat with multiple exposures and soil types on the same estate. The region comprises 9 different communes not dissimilar to Bordeaux wherein each commune has a particular characteristic that shows in the wine. The wine is made predominantly Sangiovese, the grape must comprise at least 80% of the blend. Chianti Classico is the "classic" region, though many other nearby regions now use the name "Chianti" to make similar wines. The "Gallo Nero" or Black Rooster on many of the Chianti Classico bottles is a private consortium of producers who try and control the direction of production and quality amongst their members.
Alcohol Content (%): 14