Vinopolpick Mid-Week 01-12-22

In This Newsletter:

Felsina Flying over: Arriving in February 

Best in the Iblei: New wines coming soon from Gulfi 

Coming soon: Fornacina Brunello 


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Felsina Flying over: Arriving in February 
The ancestral home of Sangiovese, Chianti produces the widest array of styles in part due to stratified geological, topographical and administrative processes. As one of the first established wine regions in Italy after the country’s unification in the 30’s, Chianti is synonymous with Italy’s quality revolution in recent decades.

Felsina has been a major leader in this quality revolution, with their single vineyard riservas being among the most collectible in the appellation, as well as age worthy. Their riserva offering, called “Rancia” is sourced from a single vineyard formerly used to supply the Benedictine Monks with sacramental wine in the Middle Ages. Felsina rehabilitated the site and cloned the best vines throughout the vineyard, eventually spreading them throughout their other holdings. The dominant soil type of the vineyard is albarese, a type of limestone-infused sandstone that’s famous for the aromatic punch it contributes to the wine.    

Unlike the Rancia bottling the Fontalloro is a blend between two sub regions just outside of the borders of Chianti Classico. Still entirely sourced from Sangiovese like her Riserva sister, the Fontalloro is meant to offer a snapshot of Tuscan Sangiovese as a whole. 

Felsina Wines arriving, February, 2022: 

Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is an absolutely stunning wine. The archetype of Rancia in the past has been of a big, potent Chianti Classico but in 2018, Rancia is a wine of mind-blowing elegance and finesse. Silky, perfumed and indescribably finessed, the 2018 dazzles from start to finish. It’s a magical wine in every way.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2018 is an unusual vintage that shows an especially austere character. Off the bat, it must be said that the Fèlsina 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia would certainly benefit from more cellar time and a long drinking window. The Rancia is elegant and streamlined with a medium-bodied style that breaks from some of the more concentrated vintages we’ve seen in the past. The bouquet reveals a lot of dark or black character with blackcurrant, tar, resin, iron ore and a dusty hint of dry graham cracker (which reminds us of the vintage heat). Structurally, the wine offers a solid and firm footing, but it would benefit from further evolution.”

Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($839.95) $663 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“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.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “To my palate, the 2018 vintage sometimes feels a little too ripe or baked. I was reminded of those characteristics when tasting the Fèlsina 2018 Fontalloro. There is plenty of dark fruit at its core, but this wine also reveals dry tones of jarred oregano, grilled Mediterranean herb, crushed aspirin and graham cracker. The mouthfeel is pleasantly lean and silky, and perhaps the wine delivers more in terms of length than it does weight or texture. A little more bottle age should help flesh out and soften these results.” 


Best in the Iblei:
New wines coming soon from Gulfi 

Gulfi represents the best of Sicily’s new generation of winemakers, and is a champion of indigenous Sicilian varietals and growing practice. This is exemplified by his work with Nero D’Avola, which he farms without any chemical input, mechanized farming or even irrigation! Exclusively using the Sicilian bushvine for production and biodynamic farming practices, Gulfi is critically undervalued to say the least. 

Across their portfolio of Nero D’Avola, there is a pervasive minerality, clean aromatics and nuanced finishes to each wine that is unlike anything you experience in an example from Marsala or Agrigento. This is on account of the protection and shadow provided by the Iblei Mountains of Southeastern Sicily, which encourages a phenolic driven course of ripening.

Gulfi Wines Arriving Friday, January 14th, 2022: 

Gulfi Nerojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT Sicily 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Gulfi Nerojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT Sicily 2018 750ML ($299.95) $228 pre-arrival special
Sourced from Chiaramonte Gulfi (Ragusa) in Monti Iblei grown at 1,000+ foot above sea level. Organically grown without irrigation in the traditional bushvine of Sicily.

Gulfi Rossojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT Sicily 2019 750ML  ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special, 24 bottles in stock now
Case-12 Gulfi Rossojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT Sicily 2019 750ML (259.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Grown without synthetic inputs or irrigation, this is the entry-level offering from Gulfi. Meant to be a light and juicy iteration of Nero D’Avola.


Coming soon: Fornacina Brunello 
2016 Brunello for less than $50 per bottle? You’re not dreaming! 

Looking for Biondi Santi but aren’t looking to spend hundreds a bottle? Consider the 2016 Fornacina Brunello from their eponymous estate in the Montalcino Hills. Located at 1300 feet above sea level the estate is divided between two hillside plantings in the southeastern section of Montalcino and farmed organically. Much like other vineyards in the south of Montalcino the soil is primarily composed of Galestro, a type of fragile mudstone. Unlike Albarese which is comprised of limestone and credited with heightened aromatics, Galestro is famous for creating much darker and broodier wines. 

Steadfastly traditional, Fornacina does their aging entirely in oak botti after a customary long ferment. The 2016 vintage is largely considered to be perfect, with a wet and cold winter transitioning to a luxurious growing season without any of the heat spikes of the previous year. Perfectly ripe with elegant aromatics and acidity to age for decades, You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal for your cellar or dinner table. 

Fornacina arriving Thursday, January 27th, 2022: 

Fornacina Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750ML ($54.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Fornacina Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 2016 750ML ($319.95) $219 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is a ripe and full red with complex aromas of cedar, cloves, tobacco and dried mushrooms. Distinct, earthy quality underneath ripe plums and licorice. Layers of chocolatey tannins. Black truffles, too. From organically grown grapes. Better after 2024.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The Fornacina 2016 Brunello di Montalcino opens to a darkly saturated appearance and toasted aromas of roasted nut backed by dark blackberry fruit. Made with organic fruit, this Brunello is fermented in stainless steel and aged in large oak casks in a traditional and straightforward manner. Production in this vintage is 10,000 bottles. There is lot of intensity here, and the wine draws its power not only from the fruit, but also in large part from the oak aging. Indeed, its fruit-driven aromas share equal billing with campfire ash and smoked cedar or mahogany.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 91 points “The 2016 Fornacina is a dark and earthy expression of Brunello di Montalcino. Ashen soils, crushed stone and animal musk dominate its bouquet, with hints of black cherry buried deeply beneath. It’s silky and pliant, casting an array of black fruits and exotic savory spices across a medium-bodied frame. Balance is well maintained, and there’s a blending of sour citrus and nervous tension here that keeps you coming back to the glass. The Fornacina is quite unique yet highly enjoyable, and it won’t require much time to come fully into focus.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!



Vinopolis is an independent wine shop located in Portland, Oregon that opened in 2004. Our goal has always been to offer the finest, broadest, and largest selection of wines at the best prices to our customers in Portland, in Oregon, across the West Coast, and throughout the United States.

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