Fattoria di Fèlsina “Fontalloro” (Toscana 2013)
Special 6-pack Price: $331 (~$55/bottle)
Fattoria di Fèlsina has long been one of the great names in Tuscany. Since its first publication in 1987, Gambero Rosso, Italy’s acclaimed wine rating guide, has awarded the estate its coveted Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) award well over a dozen times – mainly for its most representative expression of Sangiovese, the cuvée “Fontalloro.” For those of you keeping score, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has given the 2013 vintage “Fontalloro” a whopping 96 point rating.
The estate is situated in the hills northeast of Siena in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, on the southern tip of the Chianti Classico DOCG production region, just about 15 miles due north of Montalcino, between the last spurs of the Chianti hills and the beginning of the Ombrone valley. Fèlsina boasts a variety of climates, landscapes, and terrains. The “Fontalloro” fruit (100% Sangiovese) comes from vineyards straddling the border between the Chianti Classico and the Chianti Colli Senesi appellations. The vineyards lying within the Chianti Classico appellation are in the highest area of Fèlsina with stony and calcareous soils, while those in the Chianti Colli Senesi are lower down and comprised of soils that are sandy, loamy, and silty with pebbles and marine sediments. Viticulture is practicing biodynamic.
In the cellars, the must is fermented and macerated in stainless steel for 16-20 days. The wine then goes into new and one-year-old French oak barrels for 18-22 months of maturation and ages in bottles for another 8-12 months before release. The result is a gorgeous taste of Tuscany with a heady nose of cherry liqueur, licorice, cedar, and spice all nestled into the center of a summer flower cart. A sip begins with rich and concentrated red fruit that moves into an ample, earthy mid palate and uncoils with a slow, mineral finish. While it has many years of development ahead in a proper cellar, it is drinking so well right now it will be hard to keep your hands off. Pair a bottle with the classic Bistecca alla Fiorentina and don’t skimp on the rosemary.
The history of Fattoria di Fèlsina goes back to the 1960s when Domenico Poggiali bought the estate at a time when Italian viticulture was struggling. Today, third-generation winemaker Giovanni Poggiali is the latest member of the family to continue the tradition of quality Sangiovese-based wines. Through the years the family has built the estate into what now consists of nearly 1,500 acres of which less than 16% is planted with vines. A true farm, the estate raises goats, hens, quail, ducks, and guinea fowl while boasting olive groves for oil and a row garden for vegetables. Despite all the production at Fèlsina, the majority of the acreage remains as woodlands.
It is this blend of holistic land management, uncompromising attitude toward producing quality wines, and ideal microclimate that allows Fèlsina to reveal the essence of the Sangiovese grape and the Chianti terroir. The cuvée “Fontalloro” is truly one of the finest examples of ageworthy and complex Sangiovese in all of Italy.