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Chianti from Felsina: Hallmark of Tuscan tradition and class

What makes Felsina’s Chianti wines so special is that they manage to express such elegance while also a particular boldness and rustic power associated with the Sangiovese grape. The straight Chianti Classico remains one of GD’s best buys, year after year. The Chianti Classico Riserva is consistently a standout in the range for the quality it delivers for the price. The ”Rancia” and ”Fontalloro” are both benchmark Tuscan wines and, on the sweet side, the 97-point Vin Santo 2009 is likely to disappear within minutes of this offer hitting your inbox.

Dear Reader,

Much like the wider wine region of Bordeaux in France, Chianti in central Tuscany in Italy produces a lot of wine. This means that quality can be variable and it renders the region very difficult for consumers to navigate. Chianti is a vast area divided into seven sub-zones, each one producing wine with ‘’Chianti’’ on the label. One such sub-zone, Chianti Classico, stretches between Florence and Siena and includes just 14 municipalities: Fèlsina is situated within one of these municipalities, Castelnuovo Berardenga, which lies at the southern end of the appellation, just a few kilometres from Siena.

Image credit: Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico (www.chianticlassico.com)

‘’…the wines are deep and rich, with that distinct element of wildness that is so characteristic of the Sangioveses of Castelnuovo Berardenga. Even after all these years, Giovanni Poggiali and Giuseppe Mazzocolin, with their team, craft wines of distinction and elegance.’’
Antonio Galloni for Vinous | August 2020

Fèlsina Chianti Classico 6-bottle case
R 2,470

*Price is per 6-bottle mixed case and incl. VAT

For the Chianti Classico, grapes are destemmed and following pressing, the must is fermented and macerated in stainless steel tanks for 12-15 days. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is racked into medium-size new Slavonian oak barrels (with a small percentage into second and third-fill barrels) to mature for 12 months. The final step is to assemble the final blend before the wine goes to bottle where it stays at the estate for another three months before going to market.

The Chianti Classico Riserva is produced from a strict selection of the best grapes picked for the flagship Chianti Classico. The wine is made in the same way but sees a longer maturation (14-16 months) in oak and a minimum of 3-6 months in bottle or until deemed ready for commercial release. The first vintage of both of these wines was 1967.

Chianti Classico ”Berardenga” | 2019 | 4 x bottles
”The 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a classic wine for the year. Bright, perfumed and light on its feet, the 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is so wonderfully expressive. There is a feeling of vibrancy to the 2019 that is hugely appealing. A wine of energy more than power. Crushed red berry fruit, cinnamon linger in a gorgeous Chianti Classico that is more about transparency than power.’’
91 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021

Chianti Classico ”Berardenga” Riserva | 2017 | 2 x bottles
‘’The 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva is a total knock-out. Sumptuous and enveloping, but with plenty of structure to support it all, the 2017 captures all the best elements of the house style. Succulent black cherry, worn-in leather, smoke, licorice and espresso all build in the glass as the 2017 shows off its curves. More than anything else, the 2017 is a wine of tremendous pleasure.’’
93 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2020

Fèlsina ''Rancia'' Chianti Classico Riserva 2017
R 795

*Price is per 750ml bottle and incl. VAT

This Chianti Classico Riserva is produced from a single site – a vineyard planted on a hillock where the historic Rancia farmhouse (once a Benedictine monastery) is situated. Planted at between 400-420 metres above sea level with southwest-facing exposure, the most recent plantings are cultivated from massal selection from the old Rancia vineyard. Again, grapes are destemmed and the same winemaking process is followed. When it comes to maturation, the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 18-20 months, following which the final blend is assembled before going to bottle. Rancia is normally released from the estate 6-8 months later. The first vintage of Rancia was 1983.

”Fontalloro” IGT Toscana | 2018
‘’The 2018 Fontalloro is bright, floral and full of energy. In most vintages, Fontalloro is quite open, but the 2018 is especially nervy and taut. That won’t be an issue in time, of course, but readers should plan on being patient. Sangiovese is so expressive here. A whole range of floral and savory accents lingers on the close.’’
95 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021

Fèlsina ''Fontalloro'' IGT Toscana 2018
R 850

*Price is per 750ml bottle and incl. VAT

Why not labelled as a Chianti Classico? The Sangiovese grapes that create the Fontalloro come from vineyards straddling the border between Chianti Classico and the Chianti Colli Senesi denomination. As the grapes do not come from one demarcated municipality, it cannot be labelled as a Chianti Classico.

The portion of vineyards that do sit within the Chianti Classico appellation are the highest at the estate in terms of elevation. Here, the soil is stony and calcareous whilst lower down in the vineyards within Chianti Colli Senesi, the soil is sandy and comprised of pebbles and ocean sedimentary material. As with the Rancia, the Fontalloro is aged in French oak barrels – for 18-22 months. Fèlsina chooses to hold the Fontalloro back in bottle for up to 12 months before releasing it from the estate. The first vintage was 1983.

”Fontalloro” IGT Toscana | 2018
‘’The 2018 Fontalloro is bright, floral and full of energy. In most vintages, Fontalloro is quite open, but the 2018 is especially nervy and taut. That won’t be an issue in time, of course, but readers should plan on being patient. Sangiovese is so expressive here. A whole range of floral and savory accents lingers on the close.’’
95 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021

Fèlsina Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2009
R 525

*Price is per 375ml bottle and incl. VAT

The ancient tradition of Vin Santo di Fèlsina is embodied in the journey the wine takes from it being vinified in the same casks year after year. The process has been modernised somewhat through careful grape selection, attention to detail in the drying process and by adding the Sangiovese varietal (to Trebbiano and Malvasia) to characterise Fèlsina’s signature style. If you are a fan of sweet wine in the vein of our local straw wines, then this is a must try! We received a small amount of the highly praised 2009 vintage.

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico | 2009 (375ml)
‘’The 2009 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is a jewel of a wine. Rich and sumptuous, but not at all heavy, the 2009 offers up a beguiling mélange of orange peel, honey, dried flowers and candied almond. For readers who want to know what Vin Santo should be, this is it. Amazingly, the mother for the Vin Santo dates back to at least the 1950s!’’
97 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021