Chianti Classico is a region capable of true greatness. The image of a tightly-wrapped straw fiasco bottle has regrettably permeated minds and the reputation of the region has suffered for it. But, make no mistake about it: the quality in this zone has never been higher and top bottlings stand among the great wines of the world today.Chianti Classico has no better ambassador than Fèlsina, and today we take a look at their top wine from clearly one of the greatest vintages in the history of Tuscany.
Fèlsina has long stood with tradition in crafting 100% Sangiovese wines, never following the trends of adding Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to appeal to a more global market. The estate is located in the southern zone of Chianti Classico, an area where hot and dry conditions are common. Rancia itself sits at 1,400 feet in Castelnuovo Berardenga. The altitude's cooling influence always gives Rancia an impressive mineral streak and brightness that can be rare to find in Berardenga. In 2010 these qualities are amplified in a gorgeous way.
Upper portions of the site are limestone-dominant, while the base is comprised of blue-grey sandstone. The former rendering lift, delicacy, and floral tones, while the latter gives way to darker fruit and tell-tale tobacco notes. The sum of these parts is perhaps the most complete Sangiovese from Chianti, and at $42 its value is beyond compare.
In the late 70's and into the 80's Fèlsina began to divert from common practices by dropping fruit in the vineyard and moving to massale replanting to propagate their best vine material. Both choices were met with derision, as the emphasis on quantity of yield largely motivated growers in Chianti. As the 1980's came to a close the proof was now in the pudding and their 1990 Rancia stood as a testament to the heights capable of achievement from this historic landscape.
In 2012 Antonio Galloni of Vinous put everything into context,
"The 1990 Rancia is easily one of the greatest wines ever made in Tuscany. Today the 1990 is a showstopper. Readers fortunate enough to own it can look forward to another decade of hugely pleasing drinking."
$42 per bottle.
1990 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia
$199 per bottle.
2004 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva
$56 per bottle.
Fontalloro is sourced from three vineyards comprised of very old vines on sand and limestone located in two zones: Colli Senesi and Classico. The fruit profile here is more red and the structure more feminine as compared to that of Rancia.
2004 Fèlsina Fontalloro
$64 per bottle.
2001 Fèlsina Fontalloro 1.5L
$189 per bottle.
1990 Fèlsina Fontalloro
$199 per bottle.