Monday, April 30, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
That tasting was the catalyst for my exploration into the wines of Felsina. I soon came to realize that this producer of Chianti Classico, Vin Santo, cabernet sauvignon and olive oil was a step above the rest in almost every aspect, and the wines continue to provide an excellent quality-to-price ratio, with their entry level Chianti Classico Riserva at $25.
I would also find it very difficult to name you another $35 Chianti Classic Risvera which would stand the test of time and age as gracefully as the Rancia Riserva. And it would be just has hard to name you a $45 Super Tuscan with the level of depth, elegance and Sangiovese character, as the Fontalloro. In fact, all of the Felsina Chianti are 100% Sangiovese and make an interesting case for its ability to age and please as a single varietal wine.
When you consider that these are two of the top shelf wines, it paints a pretty good picture of what Felsina is capable of. In the 2008 vintage, where much of Tuscany turned out easy-drinking, yet enjoyable, Chianti Classico, Felsina continued to deliver the goods and produced an excellent set of wines that will stand the test of time.
On to the notes:
Each of the Riserva bottlings deserve special attention. These are both 100% Sangiovese from some of the best fruit that Felsina has to offer. Both will provide many years of enjoyment, but Rancia, in particular, shows best after 8 – 10 years in the cellar.
2008 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva – The nose showed dusty cherries and undergrowth. On the palate, it was lean yet focused and structured with pure red fruits. The finish showed sour berries and drying structure. This wine simply needed more time and should show beautifully with two or three years in the cellar. (89 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!
2008 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva – The ’08 Rancia was unexpectedly open at this young age. The nose showed red berries, cocoa powder and deep floral notes. On the palate, it was open and juicy with red berry fruits. The finish showed more of the structure I was expecting. This is a fine example of Rancia that, in this year’s case, is more open in its youth than the Fontalloro. (93 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!
2008 Fattoria di Felsina Fontalloro – The ’08 Fontalloro showed ripe cherry, dark chocolate and herbs on the nose. On the palate it, was wrapped up tight, showing focused sour berry, herbs and youthful tannins that coated the mouth through the finish. (91 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!
Felsina’s Maestro Raro is a mono-varietal Cabernat Sauvignon from a vineyard adjacent to Rancia. It’s a beautiful Cabernet with true Tuscan character. It’s not the easiest wine to find, but it's certainly worth the search.
2008 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT - On the nose, I found bright strawberry, floral perfume, cedar box and dark chocolate. On the palate, it was juicy with dark fruits, herbs and bell pepper. The finish was clean with drying tannins. It’s a pure expression of Cabernet that deserves more attention. (90 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Essentially, Slow Food and Gambero Rosso went their separate ways over their differing set of principals. As editors Giancarlo Gariglio and Fabio Giavedoni put it, “Gambero Rosso focuses on the good, where Slow Wine looks to the good, clean and fair”. The good being the quality of the wine, the clean being the practices in the vineyard and the fair being the quality of the wine versus the cost of the bottle. It’s certainly an interesting approach and caters to the current concerns over sustainable practices and current economic situations around the world.
In the end, it’s an excellent book that really brings to light some of the best grower/winemakers in Italy. It reads smoothly and is full of information about the regions, the land, the history and the people. It’s a welcome addition to any wine lover’s library.
The Slow Food, Slow Wine Website!
What about the wines?
The people at Slow Food also put together an excellent tasting with a large number of producers from the Slow Wine guide. Below are five of my top picks from the tasting… and out of respect for the folks that created Slow Wine, I decided not to include any scores.
Monday, April 9, 2012
On to the notes:
1995 Tenuta San Leonardo Vallagarina IGT – The nose showed red berries, expressive dried flowers, red licorice, brown butter and earthy minerals. On the palate, it was lean yet focused with sour, tart red berries, mineral salinity and herbs. The finish lingered and slowly melted from the palate. (92 points)
1997 Tenuta San Leonardo Vallagarina IGT – The nose was dark and brooding, showing fig, black pepper and green leaves, with dark and sensuous spicy undertones. On the palate it was soft and inviting with medicinal herbs and red berries, green pepper and inner aromatic spices. The finish slowly faded with drier red fruits and herbs. (90 points)
2001 Tenuta San Leonardo Vallagarina IGT – The nose showed black cherries with chestnut, undergrowth, animal musk and a bit of greenness which did not detract but instead added an earthy element to the aromatics. One the palate, it presented a medium-bodied wine with perfect balance as more cherries, cranberries and cocoa showed through. The finish was finessed with red fruit and left the palate refreshed. I would recommend this wine to anyone looking to explore northern Italy and the red wines it is capable of producing. (92 points)
2004 Tenuta San Leonardo Vallagarina IGT – The nose showed a slight sheen of oak with ripe wild berries, dark chocolate, hints of manure and pepper. On the palate, it was intense with tart red berries, very dark chocolate, herbs and saline minerals. Mixed berries and pepper lasted through the long finish. The ’04 is still a baby and may one day rival the ’96. (94 points)
2006 Tenuta San Leonardo Vallagarina IGT – The nose showed lean raspberry, mountain herbs and hints of manure. On the palate, I found lean red fruits, savory notes and rough tannin that stayed through the palate-coating finish. It’s an excellent example of cool-weather Cabernet and worth trying. (92 points)
Find San Leonardo on: Wine-Searcher!
Visit San Leonardo's highly informative website: San Leonardo