Visiting Chianti Classico 
Part 6: Fattoria di Fèlsina   


We're moving here to the southern edge of the Chianti Classico zone, and to one of the top producers in the region: Fèlsina.

The estate vineyards straddle the Chianti Classico and Chianti Colli Senesi region, and are quite close to the town of Siena. There are 61 hectares of vines in all, but the property is much bigger, totalling 475 hectres, and including olive trees, wheat fields and forests.  


The border between the two regions passes through the Fèlsina vineyard holdings, and it is a border that is both geological and geographical. Albarese (rocky limestone/clay) is the predominant rock here in Chianti Classico, with some galestro (shale). In Colli Senesi the soils are more sandy with fewer rocks. This results in wines that are softer and lighter, with more perfume. Fèlsina also has clay, because of the next area in the locality – Crete Senesi – which is dominated by wheat and sheep pasture.


The name Felsina dates back to the Etruscan people, and back to 2000 BC. Many words in Italy beginning with ‘Fel’ or ‘Bol’ have Etruscan roots. It’s known that in the middle ages the main building on the estate was a grancia – a roadside hostel. At that time people used horses to travel up and down Italy and not the sea, because of piracy, and this used to be a hostel for travellers (the oldest records of this date back to 1132).


The modern era of Fèlsina began in 1966 when current owner Giuseppe Mazzocolin’s (above) father-in-law acquired the property. They began with 9 hectares of vines, but grew this by massale selection to its current size, and acquired a second property: Castello di Farnetella, in the Colli Senesi.


Felsina IGT I Sistri 2006 Tuscany
A Chardonnay. This is a French clone that was grafted onto Trebbiano, first vintage 1987. Fermented in barriques, most of which had previously been used for the red wines. Complex, rich toasty nose with real depth of fruit. Broad and intense. The palate has lovely definition of bright fruit with good acidity and minerality, as well as well integrated oak. Quite serious. 92/100 (UK retail £19)

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva 2006
A selection from 11 vineyards, 100% Sangiovese. Brooding, tarry, spicy nose with some roasted notes, as well as a bit of minerality. The palate is quite fresh with concentrated, bright, minerally dark cherry fruit. Tight mineralic savoury wine with nice purity. Felsina refer to this as ‘our business card’. 91/100 (£17.50)

Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2005
A single vineyard wine, 6 ha, 100% Sangiovese. Dark cherry fruit and spice on the brooding nose. Tight, concentrated, bold, intense palate with lovely purity and fresh, pure, blackberry and black cherry fruit. Fantastic purity with really good acidity. Really elegant. 94/100 (£35)

Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Focused, brooding black fruits nose. There’s a glimpse of sweetness to the lush, pure fruit, but this is heavily marshalled by the tight, savoury structure. Real intensity and purity here. 94/100

Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 1999
Aromatic nose of herbs and cherries with some earthy notes. Smooth, with lovely elegance. The palate has a savoury, earthy quality to it: it is evolved, but there’s a nice spicy elegance. Finishes dry and savoury. 92/100


Felsina Fontalloro 2005 IGT Toscana
This is 100% Sangiovese, from the Fontalloro or Poggio al Sole vineyard within Chianti Classico, and the Casalino and Arcidossino vineyards, within the Chianti Colli Senesi appellation. It brings together the two rather different terroirs. Tight, dense and firm with dark cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose. The palate has some generosity with ripe, dark fruits, and underneath this some dense yet elegant structure. Firm and tight, but also elegant: real potential here. 93/100 (£36)

Felsina Fontalloro 2004 IGT Toscana
Wonderful nose showing sweet aromatic dark cherry and herb fruit with some warmth and plenty of complexity. The palate is expressive: rich and spicy but with good acidity and savoury structure. Herby and tarry; beginning to open up a bit. 93/100

Felsina Fontalloro 1990 IGT Toscana
Complex, spicy and broad on the nose, with hints of tar and floral notes. Beautifully aromatic. Dense, spicy and minerally with real warmth to the concentrated fruit. This is just singing at the moment, showing nice cherry and plum fruit and a really expressive character. 95/100  

See a short film of my visit:


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Fontodi
Part 3: Castello di Querceto
Part 4: Castello della Paneretta
Part 5: Bibbiano
Part 6: Fattoria di Felsina
Part 7: Castell'in Villa
Part 8: Palazzino
Part 9: Barone Ricasoli
Part 10: Colle Lungo
Part 11: Vicchiomaggio

Wines tasted 10/08  
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