Fattoria di Fèlsina has long been one of the great names in Tuscany. Based in the Chianti Classico region, Fèlsina produces one of the finest ranges of ageworthy and complex Sangiovese bottlings in all of Italy.
In 1966, Dominic Poggiali Fèlsina took the courageous leap and bought the estate at a time when Italian viticultore was struggling. He chose to invest in the quality of the wine and the expertise of a young team. In 1976, Giuseppe Mazzocolin married Poggiali’s daughter, Gloria Poggialli, in the chapel on the Felsina estate. From that day on, the role of the dedicated Latin and Greek school teacher quickly changed from educator to agricultural artisan.
Mazzocolin tookthe helm of the estate in the early ’80s, and changed the winery’s course to focus on more Sangiovese. With the help of talented wine consultant Franco Bernabei, Giuseppe tried and tested new methods and vines and determined that the southern estate was a natural breeding ground for a unique, richer Sangiovese capable of producing more full-bodied wines that could retain the traditional elegance of the grape.
At Fèlsina it is widely recognized that the fame of Tuscan wines is based historically on the compelling character of wines produced from Sangiovese, and the estate continues to champion this great varietal using only old “massale” selections cultivated from cuttings from their top old vineyards. Their elegant yet intensely flavored Chiantis place them firmly among the top handful of Chianti producers in terms of complexity and potential for longevity. In addition to their distinct bottlings of Chianti Classico, Fèlsina also produces one of Italy’s top Vino di Tavola’s (or IGTs), called Fontalloro. First produced by Mazzocolin in 1983 along with the Rancia wine, Fontalloro is also Sangiovese-based, and the wine is sourced from old vines in top vineyards that straddle the border of Chianti : “Classico” and “Colli Senesi”. It is produced from vines that are in excess of fifty years of age, and aged in small French oak barrels for fifteen to eighteen months prior to bottling. Because parts lie outside of the Classico borders the Fontolloro will never be labeled Chianti Classico, but rather a Super-Tuscan or IGT wine. Mazzocolin deliberately took the vineyard outside the zone because he felt that the mixture of soils provide the wine with a distinctive flavor.
With Giuseppe and his oldest son Giovanni Poggiali at the helm, Felsina continues to wine accolades year after year. With the 2000 vintage the cru select Riserva Rancia, a dark, powerful union of three different vineyards, stole the Tre Bicchieri award from Fontalloro, and the two stellar wines continue to compete for critical acclaim.
Felsina Wines- Available Now
Felsina Chianti Classico DOCG 2011 ($24.95) $19 special Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2011 Chianti Classico is absolutely impressive and is one of the best base Chianti Classicos I have tasted from 2011. You feel the ripeness and heat of the vintage, but this wine also delivers surprising finesse and complexity. Black cherry and baking spice mingle on the bouquet. Soft tannins wrap around the palate. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”
Felsina Chainti Classico Riserva DOCG 2009 ($34.95) $29 special Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva is stunningly beautiful. It boasts a great core of dark red fruit, licorice, spices, new leather and herbs. The 2009 impresses for its mid-palate density and sheer power. This is a great showing. The 2009 can be enjoyed today, but it is rather muscular, and is probably best suited for aging a few years. This is a terrific showing. A recent bottle of the 1995 was stunning in its beauty. The Riserva is 100% Sangiovese aged in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”
Felsina Chianti Classico ‘Rancia’ 2009 ($59.95) $39 special Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia emerges from the glass with freshly cut roses, sweet red berries, licorice, spices and tar. This is a mid-weight, silky Rancia that impresses for its textural beauty and finesse. The Rancia emerges from a high-altitude site planted from 1958 through1982 with Sangiovese. The wine is aged in French oak barrels, but the oak is never noticeable, even when the wine is young. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.”
Felsina Fontalloro Toscana 2009 ($69.95) $49 special Antonio Galloni 94 points “There is a lot to like in the 2009 Fontalloro (Sangiovese). For starters, the wine is rich, broad and ample on the palate. Hints of tobacco, savory herbs, licorice and menthol all add complexity over time. The over juiciness of the fruit is nicely balanced by clean veins of underlying acidity that give the 2009 much of its freshness. This is another wine endowed with superb balance and class.”
Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2007 ($59.95) $49 special Wine Advocate 92 points “Felsina’s 2007 Maestro Raro (Cabernet Sauvignon) issimply beautiful in this vintage. A host of grilled herbs, plums, cassis and earthiness emerge from this distinctly Tuscan Cabernet. The fruit is soft, dark and opulent, but never heavy. A soft, caressing finish rounds things out nicely. This is a terrific effort from Felsina. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.”
Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2008 ($59.95) $49 special Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2008 Maestro Raro is beautiful in this vintage, a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon varietal character reigns supreme. Plums, cassis, wild herbs, leather and licorice all come together gracefully in this gorgeous, expressive wine. The 2008 impresses for its length and striking, pure finish. This is a great showing. Maestro Raro is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Malvasia vines that were grafted over beginning in 1984. The 2008 is understated and classy, but it’s all there. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”
Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2009 ($59.95) $49 special Wine Spectator 95 points “Black currant, cherry, cedar, olive and coffee aromas and flavors are intense, yet match the refined structure in this classy red. The tannins are assertive and ripe, providing grip and focus. The finish evokes black currant, herb and spice notes. Best from 2015 through 2030.”
Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2010 ($59.95) $49 special James Suckling 95 points “This is extremely structured and powerful with currants, blueberries and minerals on the nose and palate. Full body yet structured and very toned. Very muscular. Give it four to five years of bottle age but revel in its youth and beauty now. Best pure cabernet sauvignon ever from here.”
Felsina Vin Santo Chianti Classico 2004 375ml ($47.95) $36 special Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2004 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is fabulous. A reference point wine for the region, the 2004 captures the heart and intellect with its superb balance and pure pedigree. The style is moderately sweet and oxidative, in the best of the Vin Santo tradition. Savory herbs, dried flowers, leather and lightly burned sugar add complexity on the finish. Vin Santo? Felsina remains one of the 2-3 reference points, it’s as simple as that. As for the 2004, well, it is utterly majestic.”
Felsina 2010 – Arriving Late June
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special James Suckling 93 points, Antonio Galloni 92+ points “Classicists, on the other hand, will flip out over the 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva. Black cherry, plum, smoke and menthol notes all jump out of the glass. The 2010 is translucent yet also rich, powerful and impeccably balanced. Ideally readers should cellar the 2010 for at least a few years, but that is going to be difficult considering how beautiful the wine is today.” AG
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Rancia 2010 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Rancia 2010 1.5 LITER ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is cool, inward and reserved at this stage. Much less expressive than it was from barrel, today the 2010 appears to be in a closed phase. There is so much tension in the glass, though, and I can hardly wait to see where the 2010 goes over the coming years. A burst of mineral and floral infused fruit lingers on the polished, nuanced finish. Today, the 2010 seems to bring together the finesse of 2004 with the structure and power of the 2010. A pretty magical combination, if you ask me.”
Felsina Fontalloro Tosacana IGT 2010 ($59.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2010 Fontalloro (Sangiovese) is impeccable. A sweet, open bouquet melds into expressive red fruits. Compared to the 2010 Rancia, Fontalloro is a decidedly more delicate, feminine wine. All the elements are very nicely balanced. I expect the 2010 will enjoy a fairly broad window of drinkability. Today I give the 2010 a very slight nod over the 2009, only because I think the 2010 will age a little longer, but both are striking.”