2021 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico annata wine of Sangiovese
2021 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico annata wine of Sangiovese

Castello di Volpaia: A Model of Consistency in Chianti Classico

325 Words (Or So) on the Pleasures of Annata Wines

3 min read

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about Chianti Classico. What started as a due-diligence wine research trip to Tuscany in early 2022 has blossomed into a fully fledged love affair with the DOCG and its wines. Put simply: your dollar can go so far with Sangiovese right now, especially if you prioritize Chianti Classico and its annata wines.

Released annually, Chianti Classico’s entry-level wine is the fresher, more versatile, more ready-to-party version of the area’s Sangiovese-based wines. What I like about them is their no-questions-asked approach to wine-drinking pleasure. There is no pretense of waiting until its ready, there is rarely any overbearing oak, and you can pair these wines with virtually anything on the red-wine spectrum.

Years ago, I tasted Castello di Volpaia for the first time and made a note to myself: remember this label. Situated in the Radda UGA high in the hills, this estate is a village unto itself: the village of Volpaia. The estate is the labor of love from Carlo Mascheroni and Giovannella Stianti Mascheroni, a husband-and-wife team who painstakingly converted the village into a functional winery with as little alteration as possible to its historic character. Their vineyards are among the highest in elevation in Chianti Classico, which probably accounts for some of the remarkable freshness achieved across all of their wines.

The 2021 vintage was celebrated for its normalcy: ample rain and cool conditions in spring to slow growth, a dry summer with big diurnal swings from night to day, and a harvest in late September. Given the region’s increased acumen for Sangiovese vineyard management — thanks to lessons learned from the Chianti Classico 2000 project — as well as a sharper focus on its product mix, one could say that 2021 might be the vintage where all the positive trends in Chianti Classico have converged. What I’ve tasted so far of the vintage is proving to remarkably consistent, especially from stalwart estates like Castello di Volpaia.

2021 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico

2021 Castello di Volpaia Chianti ClassicoChianti Classico DOCG (Tuscany )
Grapes: Sangiovese 90%, Merlot 10%
Alcohol: 13.5%
Opinion: ★★★★ 3/4
Food friendliness: Impeccable
Value: Very Good


A beginner might like … zeroing in on the classic profile of Chianti Classico from Radda. Castello di Volpaia hits the mark perfectly on this high-altitude zone’s freshness, sleek acidity and generous savory quality.

A wine obsessive might like … seeing how Merlot from Radda takes a back seat to Sangiovese. I am honestly astonished that this wine has any Merlot in it. If anything, the density of the wine felt a bit more weighty than typical Radda Chianti Classico from pure Sangiovese, but the often-times overbearing nature of Merlot’s flavors and tannin do very little to alter this Sangiovese-focused wine. Consider this wine an anomaly.


Note: This wine was provided by Castello di Volpaia’s importer Wilson Daniels upon request from our editor. Learn more about our editorial policy.

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