2010 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia and Fontalloro

2010 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia and Fontalloro
Some tasting experiences stick with you over the years; I can recall particularly memorable wines as if I tasted them yesterday. One such experience concerned 1990 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia from Felsina Berardenga which I tasted back in 1997. I was stunned by just how silky, complex and intense this wine was. It was like no other Chianti I had encountered. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy six bottles and to enjoy them over the following years. I have no doubt that this vintage would still be going strong today, but my finances did not possess the depth to buy more and my young palate lacked the patience to hold off!
The recent opportunity to taste the 2010s from this notable estate was too good to resist. The Felsina estate is situated in the southern sector of Chianti to the northeast of Siena in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga. It is owned by Giuseppe Mazzocolin but today the winemaking is directed by consultant oenologist, Franco Bernabei.  Although they make a broad array of wines, my interest centres on just two: the Chianti Riserva Rancia and the pure Sangiovese, Fontalloro. These are incredibly elegant wines. They are intense, but never four-square; they are very textural, well-pitched with terrific clarity of flavours and long-drawn finishes. 
The Rancia is from a single vineyard of that name, which is a high altitude vineyard which permits a long, even ripening period. Indeed, in 2010, Felsina began their Sangiovese harvest in the third week of September and concluded it by mid October, significantly later than, for example, in 2009. The Fontalloro comes from two vineyards in the Chianti Classico zone and two in Chianti Colli Senesi which is why it is marketed under a cuvée name as opposed to a Chianti designation. This blend of fruit from different vineyard parcels leads to an effortless Sangiovese, with beautifully pure leafy dark berry fruits, subtle mineral nuances and a minty note of freshness
To contrast the two wines is truly fascinating and, on this particular occasion, I had the chance to taste the 2009s alongside. Anyone who has read any of my recent emails will not be surprised to learn that my preference is certainly for the 2010s, as it has been with so many estates the length and breadth of Italy. The inherent elegance of the wines seems to be enhanced by the silken quality of the tannins. It will be fascinating  to follow these as they mature over the next two decades but frankly they will both offer plenty of enjoyment from shipment and will therefore sorely test anyone’s patience – just as the 1990s did mine.
The following two notes are from Antonio Galloni’s Vinousmedia.com and both wines were equally well reviewed by Monica Larner on Robert Parker’s website, erobertparker.com
2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia, Fattoria di Felsina                               
95+ Antonio Galloni

£180 per 6 bottle case in bond
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. Drinking 2018 to 2040.
2010 Fontalloro, Fattoria di Felsina                                                                        
94+ Antonio Galloni

£190 per 6 bottle case in bond
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. Drinking 2014 to 2030.
One final point to consider: We have been purchasing a number of Tuscan wines these last eighteen months. This will come to a natural conclusion when the cycle of releases is complete. I would stress, however, that the 2010 vintage ranks amongst the finest vintages of numerous estates in the last 20 years. I would also add that neither 2011, nor 2012 nor 2013, will represent anything like the same level of success. Many 2011s came across a bit baked and overtly alcoholic, 2012 is a relatively subtle low key vintage and 2013 mirrors some of the trial and tribulations witnessed elsewhere in Europe in that year. The advice is to take advantage of exceptionally high quality wines when they are offered; it certainly is not an endless stream.
Please advise us of your interest at your earliest convenience. To the best of my knowledge we are the first in the UK to be offering the Fontalloro.
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