The Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s import wine sourced from the DOCG Chianti Classico district in Tuscany. The name Fior di Vino translates to Fine Wine. While this wine sells for $6.99 at TJ’s, I found it selling at a wine shop in New York State for $13.99.
The Chianti wine region is a little complicated. There is the regular DOCG Chianti area where the wines must have a minimum of 70% Sangiovese; then, several named sub-regions have unique characteristics. The DOCG Chianti Classico region is the original top-of-the-line Chianti growing district.
In Italy, the DOCG-designated regions are seen by the wine governing body as the elite growing areas, and these places are subject to the highest vineyard and winemaking standards. The G in DOCG is guaranteed, not a guarantee that you will like the wine, but a guarantee of the highest quality.
The Chianti Classico wines must have 80% Sangiovese, and the bottles have a black rooster on the label to tell them apart from the regular DOCG Chianti. The Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 conforms to all the Chianti Classico Reserva regulations, including a minimum of 24 months in oak barrels and an additional 3 months aging in bottle. As 2016 vintage, this Chianti had between four and five years of total aging.
Trader Joe’s is an ALDI in Europe and is well regarded as the place to find value in wine. They have excellent contacts among European winemakers. ALDI/Trader Joe’s has a nearly worldwide sales reach that very few wine outlets can match. Their ability to sell wine on several continents allows them to sell in volume and keep costs down.
That a wine shop in New York is offering the Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 at two times the price as Trader Joe’s gives you insight into the price advantage they can have. I have heard people say the prices are too low the wine can not be any good, but that is not the dynamic here.
People in countries that drink wine with each meal drink value-priced wine (of course, there are exceptions), but the European wine industry is set up to supply inexpensive wine that will pair well with the local menus. A California Red wine with five years of aging sourced from an elite growing region and selling for $6.99 will be hard to find. But, value-priced wine from the DOCG Chianti Classico region is a real thing.
While the Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 has several years of oak and bottle aging, the oak barrels used tend to be large oak barrels and not smaller ones. Smaller Bordeaux-style barrique barrels are favored for Bordeaux and most California wines. The larger oak barrels offer less direct contact with the Sangiovese so that the wine will be slightly less oaky.
The Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 checks off all the same boxes as the more expensive Chianti Classico. Nobody puts inferior grapes in oak barrels for 24 plus months and ages the wine for four years plus. This is something that only winemakers that are confident of the results will do. So, the Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 should be an enjoyable wine, so on to the tasting portion. The alcohol content is 13%.
Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, see-thru strawberry jelly red with black highlights. The nose is red berries, oak spice, dark chocolate, baking spices, black pepper, and coffee. This is a soft, smooth wine with excellent acidity and would work as both a food and a sipping wine.
It tastes like blackberry, licorice, chocolate, light herbs, and plum. The mid-palate offers a slap of sharp spice, raspberry, orange zest, tart cranberry, a salty sensation, and blueberry. The acidity allows this 2016 Chianti to be bright and alive.
- The Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Reserva 2016 sells for $6.99 and is a very good Chianti.
- Easy to drink and tasty. Well-balanced with good acidity and soft tannins.
- A good quality, value-priced wine.