Region: Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
Critical Acclaim: Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Fèlsina 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga (with 70,000 bottles made) is a rich and sultry expression of pure Sangiovese with dark fruit intensity and a beautiful contouring of spice, leather and tar. This wine hits the intensity nail on the head without the overt over-ripeness that we saw in many of its peers from this hot and dry vintage. I would not recommend an especially long drinking window, but I can enthusiastically recommend this authentic taste of Chianti Classico for near or medium-term drinking. The Riserva ages in large Slavonian oak casks for 12 months.
Tasting Notes: Ruby red color, with good shade and intensity. Spicy bouquet with floral notes, whiffs of ripe black-skinned fruit, leather, forest floor and balsamic hints of eucalyptus. Showing the heat of the vintage, the medium-bodied palate is already somewhat evolved, offering dried black cherry, incense and sandalwood alongside dusty rather dry tannins.
Pairing: High quality beef or lamb burgers, a nicely marbled ribeye with mushroom sauce, sausage and white bean dishes, and roast lamb all pair perfectly. I found this Cassoulet With Lots of Vegetables by Mark Bittman recipe to be oh so perfect, especially this blustery time of year!
About: Fèlsina is an Italian wine estate founded in 1966, and situated at the southeast edge of the Chianti Classico appellation in Tuscany.
It was once one of many estates owned by the Dukes of Tuscany, and was farmed mainly by sharecroppers growing olives until World War II. Now, 95 of the estate's 600 hectares (235 of 1480 acres) are planted to vines, generally on rocky, chalky soil with layers of mineral-rich marine sediments. The vineyard has been extended and replanted largely using massal selection – taking cuttings from numerous top-performing plants rather than planting clones of a single vine.
Fèlsina boasts a variety of climates, landscapes, and terrains, its various vineyard characterized by diverse soils and microclimates, each unique in its individual qualities.
Fèlsina’s Sangiovese – or Sangioveto, the original Tuscan word – takes its birth from his extraordinary variety, a combination of variables-different soils and clones-that constitutes a distinctive heritage to hand down to future generations. For this reason, starting in 1983 they initiated with Franco Bernabei, a program of selection that has allowed us to preserve an important patrimony of different Sangiovese crus – cultivated here through lengthy efforts and much research.
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