The Felsina Estate is impeccable. Whether it’s the manicured vineyards, the immaculate cellar or the pristine courtyard that gives character to this venerable estate, quality is practiced unfailingly at every level.
These characteristics present themselves admirably in the estate’s wines. Simply put: Chianti Classico does not get any better than Felsina. Of course you can find wines of similar quality, but the consistency and excellence of the wines from this estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga would be hard to eclipse.
Organically farmed, Felsina’s wines are produced from estate grown grapes from some of the zone’s oldest vineyards. The Chianti Classico is produced from vines that average 30 years of age and the subject of today’s article, the Rancia Riserva, hails from a single vineyard whose vines average 50 years of age. Franco Bernabei, with wineries like Sartori, Monte Antico and Fontodi among his resume, is the long tenured consulting winemaker.
It’s been almost two years since I last tasted the subject of today’s article and at the time, I largely reserved my judgement because the wine seemed in a muted or slumbering phase. I think it’s safe to say that Rancia has emerged to blossom into what many expect of this legendary label.
The 2004 Felsina Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva is a stunning deep ruby color that transitions gently to sunset orange at the rim of the bowl. We carefully decanted the wine about an hour before dinner to allow the aromas to open and to remove a substantial coffee grind like sediment that had formed. And blossom the aromas did! Rancia is singing. With aromas of crushed wild cherry, crushed fresh flowers, Tuscan cypress, espresso bean and spices this wine is at once complex, precise and harmonious. As the dinner progressed leaf tobacco and cured salume notes began to emerge as well.
On the palate the wine is elegant and powerful, but silky as silky can be. Loads of crushed cherry cascade in waves across the mid-palate and notes of dusty turned earth, tobacco leaf, crushed rosemary needles and spice notes linger effortlessly on the finish. This is juicy and fresh with lively acidity that makes your mouth water for another sip. And another, and another. It may be one of the best Rancia’s I’ve ever tasted and it annoys me that I opened the other bottle too soon! Although the tannins are fairly well resolved, this wine still has tons of life ahead of it. You can easily enjoy it now but if you prefer to develop more secondary flavor profiles, let it sit another 3 or 4 years. It’s a masterpiece. 96 points. About $40 upon release. You can still find recent vintages for about the same price. Find this wine.