~ Cellar Relics ~

Wine is farming.  No matter how fanciful or romanticized we wine geeks revere in the process, it is simple, tiresome, back breaking farming.   In the words of Felsina’s own Giovanni Poggiali: 

“Like all good farmers, our main concern is to protect the soil’s natural fertility, which we strive to do by keeping an open mind to new techniques, avoiding excess, and working in an experimental environment that embraces biodynamic production through the most modern technologies and innovations available worldwide. Vine cultivation is used to obtain the best, mature grapes from a physiological point of view, and then transform them into wines that express the Fèlsina style.”

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.  

The 2004 Felsina Rancia Riserva is a bit of an enigma.  Deep ruby in color, trending almost to garnet, the wine is as tight and brooding as it looks.  Just over a year ago, the 2001 Rancia was a spectacular example of the vineyard.  This bottle is simply not in the same place right now.
In the glass, the wine offers straight forward aromas of crushed cherry and faint hints of soft sandalwood and spice.  This, even after 60 minutes in a decanter.  On the palate, the wine is also reserved; reticent even.  Soft cherry notes are rather simple and gently framed by wood notes and dried herbs that fade quickly; in an almost tired fashion.  The wine looks vibrant, but this is not what I’ve come to expect from Rancia or from one with a vintage of this reputation.  I’ve got more bottles left, so we’ll see if this is still a slumbering giant.  However, at this point,  I have my doubts.  Judgement, like this Rancia, reserved.  88 points at the moment.  

~ Rancia Riserva is 100% Sangiovese that is aged in French barrique for 18-24 months and then blended and refined in bottle and additional 6 months before release. ~

E vero!

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