Part 6: Fattoria di Fèlsina
moving here to the southern edge of the Chianti Classico zone, and
to one of the top producers in the region: Fèlsina.
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
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.
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).
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.
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)
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)
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)
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
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.
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