2013 Felsina Berardenga

2013 Felsina Berardenga
‘Readers would do well to buy a case of Rancia upon release every year and put it away. Few wines deliver so much pleasure and pedigree at maturity for what remains a very fair price’  - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Being selective is key to our approach at Atlas. You may recall that we advised our clients to take advantage of a whole host of wines in the impressive 2010 vintage across Italy, notably wines from Piemonte and Tuscany. We were considerably more circumspect in our purchasing in the 2011 and 2012 vintages, and while 2013 has been widely acclaimed, we are again selecting the wines that we believe represent the best of the vintage.
Nonetheless, we agree with the sentiment expressed by Antonio Galloni above; there is a remarkable consistency to the wines of Felsina Berardenga, but even so there are notable high points across the years. I still recall the 1990 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia… a wine I drank far too early, but one which was staggeringly good even when young, though it would have matured into something spectacular if I had the requisite patience. The 2013 releases from this impressive – yet sometimes overlooked estate –  are, as Galloni puts it, ’a superb set of wines’, so please read on for detail on our offer the 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia and the Fontalloro at £195 and £210 per six bottle case in bond respectively.
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, out interest has always centred on these two particular wines. What I always find surprising is both the intensity and the elegance to the Rancia and the Fontalloro. Textured and dense, they always maintain a purity of fruit and a pristine clarity throughout the finish.
The fruit for the Rancia is picked from its namesake vineyard, a six-hectare parcel which enjoys high altitudes and southwestern exposure. This location permits for a long, even ripening period and beautifully concentrated Sangiovese. 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. Side by side, these two wines illustrate the dramatically different styles of Sangiovese and the quality that can be achieved when in deft hands, and at sensible prices. Whereas the Rancia is firmer and tauter in style with more prominent tannins which allow for longer ageing, conversely, the Fontalloro has a much rounder, accessible core of fruit and can be broached in just a few years. These two wines certainly add to the list of successes registered by this estate and I will be fascinated to see how they age.
2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia, Fèlsina Berardenga Rancia
£195 per six bottle case in bond
96+ points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Fèlsina's 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia bristles with energy, with veins of underlying acidity that give the wine its focus and drive. Dark red cherry, plum, rose petal, herb and licorice are some of the signatures. Most of the Fèlsina Chianti Classicos are defined by their dark fruit and savory notes, but the Rancia is also wonderfully bright and lifted from start to finish while staying very much true to the house style. Today, the Rancia gives the impression it will unwind at a glacial pace. I imagine most bottles of the 2013 will be drunk before the wine truly enters its prime. Drink 2022-2043
2013 Fontalloro, Fèlsina Berardenga
£210 per six bottle case in bond
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
The 2013 Fontalloro shows the richer, creamier style of the vintage while maintaining plenty of Fèlsina character. Silky tannins wrap around a core of dark stone fruits as the 2013 shows off its personality. Fontalloro naturally doesn’t have the pure energy of Rancia, but it will drink well with just a few more years in bottle. Fontalloro is the most overt and ripe of the Fèlsina wines with the exception of the Colonia. A hint of French oak shapes the supple, inviting finish. Drink 2020-2033
We are likely to offer other wines from Tuscany in the 2013 vintage over the next few months, but to be honest, it is unlikely that they will rival the value for money offered by these two exceptional Sangiovese.
Please let us know of your interest.
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