I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when a wine made by Franco Bernabei and Felsina excels. Actually, I’m really not surprised.  I guess what I’m focused on more at the moment is why today’s subject isn’t universally understood to be one of the best Cabernets in Italy.  Many others (Solaia, Sassicaia, Ornellaia)  trade at exceptional premiums and I’d be willing to be today’s wine would hold it’s own in a blind tasting in that company.  And it’s $40.

The Maestro Raro vineyard was planted in the 1980’s and is adjacent to the more famous Rancia vineyard, which is responsible for some of the greatest Chianti Riservas produced.  The vineyard is planted densely to 100% Cabernet Sauvignon vines and benefits from wonderful exposure.  Harvesting and sorting are all completed by hand.
The 2011 Maestro Raro shows all the hallmarks of Felsina’s efforts to produce a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon.  Knowing it would be way too young,  I decided to decant it for a lengthy period of time because I wanted to make an informed buying decision.  We poured it off about 3 hours before dinner and left about a glass or two in the bottle.  No sediment observed. 

The wine is a deep violet, almost purple color that lightens slightly toward the rim of the bowl.  There’s no mistaking the old world style of the wine,  but I can’t help but think that a Napa Cabernet of this quality would cost 5 times the price.  The decanting turns out to have been necessary as the aromas from this wine were generous over time.  Earth, leather, suede, mint, and black plums are all noticeable.  Really wonderful.  
In the mouth, the wine is juicy, fresh and vibrant with silky tannins and crisp acidity.  Flavors intensely echo the nose with roasted coffee, plums, mint, and leather combining in harmony.  As if led by a Maestro.  Impressive length.   Delicious with NY Strips, after the meal the tannins asserted themselves more without food.  I loved this and would rather open something too young rather than too old.  Try one now if you like, but cellar 5-10 years with no worry.   93 points.  About $40-$45 retail. 
~ Maestro Raro is 100% Cabernet from Castelnuovo Berardenga  ~

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