Bibbiano Chianti Classico: New Releases

Located in the commune of Castellina in Chianti, the 220 hectare Tenuta di Bibbiano is one of Chianti Classico’s historical wine properties. We’ve visited the estate and tasted several vintages of Bibbiano’s wines over the years. And we recorded an extensive interview with the estate’s manager, Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi, about the legacy of famed Tuscan winemaker Giulo Gambelli, who used to make the wines at Bibbiano.  Tommaso recently sent his latest releases to us, and we review them below. For much more on the Bibbiano estate and its history, see our earlier article here.

The current releases of Bibbiano come from the 2016 and 2018 vintages.  The 2016 vintage was a very good one. Yields were a bit below normal with a hot summer followed by a cooler autumn resulting in beautiful, phenolically ripe fruit.  Following the “short” 2016 vintage and the disastrous 2017 vintage, the 2018 vintage was “normal” in both weather and yields. 

Our reviews of the current releases follow.  We find these wines to range from very good to outstanding in quality.  Fortunately, they are also very reasonably priced.  These wines are among the best values we’ve tasted this year. 

The Wines

Bibbiano 2018 Chianti Classico ($20) 91 The 2018 Chianti Classico reveals the promise of the excellent 2018 vintage in Tuscany. It shows good concentration with appealing complexity of dark red plum, dried cherry, underbrush, and a hint of dried Tuscan herbs. It’s bright on the attach and very fresh on the palate. A 100% Sangiovese fermented stainless steel with malolactic occurring in cement. This wine is a blend of grapes from both sides of the estate, mostly Sangiovese but with a bit of Colorino, too. 13.5% alc. 

Bibbiano 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva ($28) 93  2016 was another excellent vintage for Tuscany, especially for the late ripening Sangiovese, albeit at below normal yields. This Riserva is outstanding from its vibrant and highly complex nose to the lovely, long finish. The palate is full and layered with bright fruit, firm acidity, and round, fine-grained tannins. Outstanding freshness and balance with dark berry/plum, cedar, and fresh herbal aromas and flavors. Matured in oak vats and cement for 18 months. 14.5% alc. 

Bibbiano 2016 Vigna del Capannino Gran Selezione Chianti Classico ($40) 94 This 100% Sangiovese Grosso, single vineyard Gran Selezione is a wonderfully expressive and balanced wine. It has a multifaceted bouquet and a deeply flavored, admirably concentrated, harmonious palate. There’s terrific fruit and graphite minerals at its core, and fine-grained tannins lend just enough spine. Finishes with an exceptionally long and pure aftertaste. 15% alc. Great value! 

Bibbiano 2016 Bibbianaccio Toscana IGT (NA) 91  The Sangiovese-Colorino blend Bibbianaccio is New World like in its richness and depth of flavor. The nose shows intricate aromas of toasty oak and dark red fruit followed by a soft, plush attack and a fruit forward, deeply flavored palate. Finishes dry with firm tannins that should soften with more time in bottle. Made of 50% Sangiovese, 45% Colorino, 5% Malvasia and Trebbiano fermented in small French barriques followed by 12 months in French tonneau and 12 months in traditional Slavonian botti. 14.5% alc 

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