2018 Felsina, Chianti Classico DOCG, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany, Italy.
Sitting in between the amazing 2016 and the pretty and fresh 2017 vintages in style, the 2018 Felsina Chianti Classico is a solid effort with many attractive features and is lovely with food with classic Felsina Sangiovese density and purity, it shows a ripe smooth palate of red berry fruits, spice, dried flowers, a subtle earthiness and lingering kirsch notes. This vintage gives plenty for the money, but just doesn’t excite the senses as much as the last two versions, though its still very charming, again especially with a meal, it won’t take center stage or draw a lot of attention, it is more a companion, rather than a stand out. The 2018 gets better with air and ends on a high note with layers of plum, raspberry, strawberry and mulberry coming through along with grainy tobacco leaf, silky tannins, mocha/toffee, minty herb, licorice and a faint cedary note. This invitingly deeply crimson/garnet hued wine, always a favorite and a go to when I want some Tuscany or Sangiovese in my life, usually when I make pasta, as I did last night, it reminds me of driving through Chianti Classico’s beautiful hillsides with its old growth forrest, castles and sloping vines that capture the amazing light that makes this place so remarkable, it is like a magical kingdom, from Florence to Siena.
The Felsina Chianti Classico, 100% Sangiovese, was fermented and macerated in stainless steel tanks for almost two weeks with pneumatic (programmed) punchdowns and daily pump-overs. Once primary fermentation was complete the wine went into medium-size Slavonian oak barrels, and a small percentage into twice and thrice used oak barrels for 12 months of elevage, after which the final blend was chosen, or put together, and then bottled. As noted here many times, this wine comes from vineyards, as the winery notes, that are all located in the Castelnuovo Berardenga commune, in the southeastern part of the Chianti Classico appellation, as noted, to the southeast of Siena. Almost without exception, these vines are exclusively with a southwestern exposure, that delivers full ripeness, they sprawl across hilly slopes at an altitude ranging from 320-420 meters above sea level that allows a night time chill even in the heat of Summer, making for balanced and expressive Sangiovese. Geologically, again as the winery adds, these vineyards have distinct and individual underpinnings with an array of soils, with the higher parts seeing predominantly quartz and calcareous alberese mixed with alluvial pebbles as well as strataform sandstone and loams that add to the overall quality and complexity in Felsina’s lineup. I high recommend grabbing all the 2016s from Felsina you can find, this wine, plus the top Crus, Rancia and the Fontalloro and the Riserva Black label, that said, this 2018 won’t disappoint either.
($28 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive