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Felsina Chianti Classico 2016 £21.95
Castelnuovo Berardenga, on the southern border of the Chianti Classico zone. Fèlsina epitomises the powerful style of southern Chianti, where the wines are stylistically more akin to those from Montalcino than their fellow Chianti from Fontodi or Isole e Olena. The Fèlsina vineyards are on average more than 50 years old, located at an altitude of 350-420 metres above sea level, with a good southwestern exposure. There are 5,400 vines planted per hectare. Soils are a blue-grey Quartzite sandstone mix, with layers of sand, Alberese (shale, schist and limestone) and alluvial pebbles. Vines are trained according to a simple Guyot system, with a maximum of five to eight buds per vine. Biodynamic experimentation takes place in the vineyard, although without official certification.
Along with 2015, Fèlsina will recall 2016 as one of the most beautiful vintages in the last decade. Winter was quite mild and characterised by abundant rains. Very few days registered minimum temperatures below 0°C. The first days in April were hot and brought about an early bud burst, almost 10 days earlier than usual; by 20th April all the Sangiovese buds were 10 cm long. May was a regular month except for a thunderstorm with a heavy hailstorm that by chance only caused a little damage. Summer was very hot with above-average seasonal temperatures, but scattered rains meant vines avoided heat stress. The grapes ripened very well and by the end of September most of the Sangiovese was ready for harvest. The quality of both grapes and wines was high.
Fermentation took place at 28-30°C with automatic daily punching down of the cap, followed by a 12-15 day maceration. Between late March and early April, the wine was transferred to small and medium-sized Slovenian oak casks for 12 months, followed by three months ageing in bottle before release.
Deep, attractive ruby red, this Chianti has a perfumed nose of wild red berries, cherries and nuances of mixed spices. On the palate, the fruit is forward, supported by supple tannins. This finish is long and spicy finish.
92 Points Robert Parker
This is an excellent vintage in Chianti Classico that shows especially well in the simple, more accessible wines such as this. The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga delivers the power and density of its territory. The southern side of the appellation often shows the richest expressions of Sangiovese. This wine opens to sweet aromas of dark fruit, cherry and plum. The wine shows a slightly savory side as well with spice and dried terracotta that recalls the gray gravel soils of the region. Bay leaf, cola and chopped mint appear as subtle background notes. Some 260,000 bottles were made.
Reviewed by Monica Larner