Fèlsina is an estate in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, on the southern border of the Chianti Classico DOCG region of Tuscany, where it meets the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG region. Fèlsina is said to epitomise southern Chianti’s more powerful, Montalcino-esque style of Sangiovese. Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC is also made. See also Pagliarese.

Owner: The Poggiali family. They bought the estate in 1966. Now run by Giovanni Poggiali. Previously, Giuseppe Mazzocolin (whose wife was a Poggiali) had run the estate from the end of the 1970s until 2011. He is now less involved in the day-to-day management, but consultant oenologist Franco Bernabei still directs the winemaking team.

Staff: Consultant: Franco Bernabei.

Vineyards: 470 hectare (1,160 acre) estate. 50 hectares of vines, north east of Siena, in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga on the southern border of the Chianti Classico production area. Mix of marl and limestone soils, with large round stones. Another area of production is 15 miles (25km) from Felsina’s HQ, at the Castello di Farnetella estate in Sinalunga (in the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG).

Organic certification2000 First vintage with full organic certification.

Winery: The winery lies just outside the Chianti Classico sub-zone.

Sparkling wines

Spumante Brut Metodo Classico NV: Non-vintage traditional method sparkling white wine. 60% Sangiovese, 20% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay.

Spumante Brut Metodo Classico, Millesimato: Vintage dated traditional method sparkling white wine. 40% Sangiovese, 25% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 15% of preceding vintage.

Spumante Brut Rosè: Non-vintage rosé traditional method sparkling wine. 50% Sangiovese, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay.

White wines

Chardonnay, I Sistri: 100% Chardonnay. Barrel fermented.

Red wines

Chianti Classico DOCG, Malena: 2018 100% Sangiovese.

Chianti Classico DOCG, (Fèlsina) BerardengaThe vineyards are located in Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the southeastern part of the Chianti Classico appellation, to the northeast of Siena. Almost exclusively with a southwestern exposure, they sprawl across ventilated slopes at an altitude ranging from 320 to 420 meters above sea level. Geologically, the terrains are mixed: in the higher parts the soil is predominantly rock quartz and calcareous alberese mixed with alluvial pebbles; strataform sandstone and loam characterize the vineyards on the edge of the Colli Senesi in the direction of the Crete Senesi. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. Aged in Slavonian oak vats, and partly in used barrels. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. Soft, fluid, appealing light fruit (Boot Camp 2018). | 2017 100% Sangiovese.

Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Berardenga2016 100% Sangiovese.

Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, RanciaThe Rancia vineyard takes its name from the historic Rancia estate, once a Benedictine monastery. Located in Castelnuovo Berardenga at elevations ranging between 400 and 420 metres with a fine southwest-facing exposure, the vineyard covers 6.25 hectares. The more recent plantings utilized genetic material from massal selections gathered from the old Rancia vineyard. The soil is composed of the limestone-derived alberese classic to the Castelnuovo Berardenga area and of galestro marl in some areas. | 1983 Debut for this single vineyard wine. | 2010 100% Sangiovese. | 2012 14.5%. L5190. Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG. Aged in new French oak barrels. Rich, lots of dark berries, some brett though in Viale Piave in Oct 2016. Bottle given by Giuseppe Mazzocolin when Chris Barnes and I visited in 2016. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. | 2016 100% Sangiovese.

Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione, Colonia: Single vineyard, poor, rocky soils on the top of the hill above the Rancia vineyard, surrounded by a forest. Named for a sun-treatment colony there, the Colonia vineyard was the fruit of a difficult replanting project begun in 1966 by Domenico Poggiali and his son Giuseppe, who worked on it until the late 1970s. The very rocky soils led to the project’s abandonment in the mid-1980s. Grandson Giovanni Poggiali took it up again in 1991, and together with his father and grandfather, finally completed the planting of the vines in 1993. One year later, Domenico died, which imprinted on the vineyard a three-generation symbolic value. The first crop was brought in 1997. The first crop to be bottled apart was 2006, but as a Toscana Rosso. The following 2007 was bottled as a Chianti Classico DOCG. Production is a limited 3,000 bottles, each numbered, styled for true connoisseurs of Sangiovese, and bearing a special dedication by Giovanni to his grandfather Domenico. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. 30 months in new French oak.

Fontalloro: Toscana Rosso. 100% Sangiovese, Fontalloro is a complete expression of Fèlsina’s Sangiovese being taken from vineyards straddling the Chianti Classico DOCG and Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG appellations (hence it is bottled as an IGT). The vineyards found within the Chianti Classico appellation are in the elevated area of Fèlsina and those of the Chianti Colli Senesi in the lowlands (330-407 meters above sea level). With a southwestern exposure, the grapes are influenced by diverse soil compositions: on the Chianti Classico side the soil is stony and calcareous; on the Crete Senesi side the soil is sandy, loamy and silty with pebbles and marine sediments. | 1983 Debut vintage. 100% Sangiovese. | 2005 100% Sangiovese. 13.5%. 43,000 bottles. | 2007 100% Sangiovese. Bottled by Fattoria di Fèlsina S.p.a. 14%. IGT Toscana. Bit bretty in Viale Piave 32 on 10th Oct 2016 (bottle opened and tasted gradually over a fair time, always the brett showing through). Nice body and ripe, exotic black berry fruit on top with red underneath, the black ‘essence’ fruit took a while to claim its dominance. | 2013 100% Sangiovese. | 2016 100% Sangiovese.

Maestro Raro: Toscana Rosso. The grapes come primarily from the vineyards of Rancia Piccola (now called the Maestro Raro–the name comes from a musical work by Robert Schumann) adjacent and similar to that of Rancia, where reserves by the same name of pure Sangiovese are produced. Here we planted 5400 square meters of the best-known red grape varietal in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon, giving it the expression of the Fèlsina terroir at its most characteristic. | 1999 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 24 months in French oak; clean, very Bernabei style, some chocolate tannin, crisp acid, very young, but sweet tannin on the finish at the winery in 2005.

Vin santo

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC1995 Malvasia and Trebbiano and 20% Sangiovese. Spends seven years in caratelli. Nice amber colour, crisp and fresh, the Sangiovese gives structure and acid; very well made, nice fruit and nut, bright style of vin santo, elegant, creamy from the oak, some icing sugar too at the winery in 2005. | 2001 Bottled. | 2004 Trebbiano, Malvasia, Sangiovese. | 2007 Sangiovese, Trebbiano toscano, Malvasia Bianca Lunga Toscana. | 2008 30% Sangiovese, 30% Trebbiano toscano, 40% Malvasia Bianca Lunga Toscana.

Olive oil: Four varieties of olive called Leccino, Moraiolo, Pendolino and Raggiolo are hand picked, pitted (having their stones removed) and pressed (under a nitrogen blanket to avoid oxidation).

Contact

Fèlsina

Fattoria di Fèlsina (Berardenga)

Via del Chianti, 101

I-53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI = Siena), Italy

Tel+39 0577.355117 | www.felsina.it

Bibliography

Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino, Chianti Classico, the Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, (University of California Press, 2016), p.232-234).