Visiting Fattoria di Felsina in Tuscany

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fattoria di Felsina tasting room
The last of four wineries we visited on our recent trip to Tuscany was Fattoria di Felsina in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena.

One thing that surprised me while scoping out Tuscan wineries to visit is how far apart they are. Compared to Napa or even Sonoma the great wineries of Tuscany are very spread out. Some were as close as 30 minutes away from our villa. Others would involve a 2.5 hour drive. Felsina was one of the closest and we paired our visit with an afternoon in the charming (and understandably touristy) town of San Gimignano.

The wine in the Felsina portfolio that piqued my interest was Fontalloro - a 100% Sangiovese Tuscan IGT that sells for just south of $50 here in the US (review).

Of the wineries we visited, Felsina was the one most prepared to receive visitors in a public tasting room. 
Their tasting room was one of the more refined we visited
As with any winery, you'll want to drop them an email for sure, but they're well equipped to receive visitors and their grounds are polished and inviting.
Take in a glass or two on this patio adjacent the tasting room
Felsina was founded in 1966. Production is centered around the southern-most part of Chianti. They make 450,000 bottles a year, 75% of which is exported. The US is their most important market.
Felsina cellars and grounds
Their cellars are some of the most intriguing I've seen. The form factor of the cellar space has dictated the size of the barrels they can use. They've had large barrels custom-crafted to fit available space.
Cellar dimensions dictates barrel sizes used
The well-kept yet rustic charm and attention to detail was striking.
Striking cellars
Their overall portfolio is broader than I anticipated. Some of the wines we tasted weren't exported to the US. And of the ones expected to the US, some are imported at low volumes.
Broader lineup than I expected
Here are my notes on the wines we tasted which are imported to the United States...

I Sistra (around $20)
  • Chardonnay
  • Light oak
  • Minerals
  • Granny Smith Apple
  • Lemony, bright
  • Refreshing
  • Very nice
2010 Felsina Chianti Classico (around $21)
  • Blend of 11 vineyards
  • Really nice slight touch of oak - hint of caramel
  • Great value
2009 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva (around $25)
  • More structure (than the Chianti Classico)
  • More acidity
  • Firmer Tannins
  • Regular bottling is better for today, this one needs time
2009 Felsina Rancia (around $53)
  • Really nice
  • Big, rich fruit
  • 60% new oak
  • Single vineyard wine
  • Just 13.5% alcohol but full of flavor
  • Discovery of the visit for me
2009 Felsina Fontalloro (around $60 retail)
  • 70% new oak
  • Firm acidity with ample tannins 
  • 13.5% alcohol
  • Rancia shows better for immediate consumption
Franco Bernabei (Fontodi, Ruffino) serves as consulting winemaker.
Thanks to Export Manager Chiara Leonini who served as our gracious hostess.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Fattoria di Felsina is a gorgeous property which manages to preserve its rustic charm and fuse it with refined elegance.

The Felsina Rancia (pronounced raunch-ee-uh) was the discovery of the visit for me. I came in positively predisposed to prefer Fontalloro but the Rancia is even more to my liking. Terrific stuff. Although it's solidly a $40+ wine on You can buy it right now for as little as $32 on thanks to some trickery described in this post.

2010 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia ($49.99, $32.49 after discounts)

Check 'em out:
Fattoria di Felsina
@FelsinaWines on Twitter

I'll be summing up our time in Italy with some tips for planning a visiting Tuscan wine country with family in a future post. I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesey Wine Press.


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