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Intriguing Istine: High-Elevation Elegance in Chianti Classico

Stylized image of Istine, Chianti Classico, 2021 $28.99


...it is exciting to see newer Chianti producers like Istine, in Radda, doing such beautiful work, making wines of purity and finesse that are nonetheless true to their Chianti Classico roots.

—Eric Asimov, the New York Times

Can wines really be “masculine” or “feminine”? These are adjectives that you sometimes hear wine people use. We’re not sure that it always makes sense, but we do know that if there was ever a case for a “feminine” wine, it would be Istine’s Chianti Classico.

Istine was featured at the top of Eric Asimov’s article on the “heiresses” of Chianti Classico: a group of women who have taken over family estates in Chianti and are now producing brilliant wines. Angela Fronti grew up in a family of farmers who mostly worked for other wineries. They did have a few vines of their own, but they sold the grapes off in bulk. Angela changed that: she took over the estate and released the first vintage of Istine Chianti in 2009.

It’s not just the “heiress” that’s feminine. Genders are sometimes assigned (usually by British wine journalists) to different terroirs and villages: Vosne-Romanée is masculine, Chambolle-Musigny is feminine. It’s a little weird. The idea is to convey something about the bright and aromatic qualities of Chambolle, versus dark and brooding Vosne.

Well, it just so happens that those vineyards that Angela Fronti inherited were in Radda, the Chianti village most associated with bright and aromatic. The shining red berry fruit of the Chiantis produced here are simply wonderful, as anyone who has tasted a bottle of Montevertine will agree. Istine’s Chianti has been an instant classic of the village. Read Antonio Galloni’s tasting note on today’s 2021 below and you get the idea.

So call the wine feminine if you want, or not — either way, we’re pretty sure you’ll agree that this is one of the best values out there in elegant and beautifully aromatic wine:

Istine, Chianti Classico, 2021 $28.99
"Just bottled, the 2021 Chianti Classico captures all the energy of the year in its bright, red-toned fruit. Blood orange, mint, white pepper and vibrant acids lend notable energy a Chianti Classico that sizzles with tension. There's plenty of fruit to back that all up. Bright saline notes extend the finish beautifully." Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com


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