Felsina, Fontodi, etc., more from Chianti Classico (new releases)

As of today, I’m probably half way through the new releases. So much tasting has me thirsty, I’m thinking about a 1996 Scarpa I picked up at the winery 3 months ago…

2017 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Very, very tasty. Pretty serious wine – not an ager – but pretty serious nonetheless. Really delivers in the depth, and breadth of flavors. Easily a BUY recommend. 95% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo; ~ 41k bottles. Drink now thru 2029. (90-92)
2016 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva Le Baroncole DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Exceptional. The blend is 97% Sangiovese, 3% Canaiolo; raised in older botti grande. Luca’s gift – the ability to listen to the vines – is center-point in this vintage; the pick date perfect. I could list adjective after adjective, but it’s not going to change anything — this is, as I say, exceptional. I buy this wine in every vintage (even 2014), as there’s always something to find, something unique to the time, and place. This year is no exception, though in this vintage, it might be better to wait to see all this has to offer. It’ll be tough, but I’m going to (try and) wait 3-4 years, then drink down my supply over the following 15-20+. Just 15,6k bottles, get some quickly. BUY/HOLD. (93-96)

*****

I recently opened 1986 Classico, and 1989 Percarlo – both were amazing; these can age longer than I’ll ever make it.
2018 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – (Anteprima sample) Young, fiercely coiled, but crystalline, and electrically fresh. These will release approximately this time next year, and the question before me is “how many cases?”. It won’t be an easy question to answer, this is perfectly in my wheelhouse of balance, beauty, and soul. 95% Sangiovese, Canaiolo; BIO-certified for many years now. I will re-taste again in a few weeks at the winery, and will update if necessary. Drink 2023-2050. (93-96)
2017 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese9/21/2019 – Good. My score will probably seem a little low to some, but after tasting 100+ Classico from the vintage, I’m just not feeling it. As expected (I used to sell these wines for the importer, have been drinking for more than 20 years, so I know them well), it’s easy to drink, with a nice center that always seems to have a slick of Tootsie-roll. There’s no denying it’s a great food wine, but it’s not on the level of several (most are BIO-grown, btw) this year. A safe, enjoyable, wine at a good price – what’s not to like? 260,000 bottles produced. Drink 2019-2028. (87-89)
2016 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia  DOCG Sangiovese9/21/2019 – Very good, but also a bit foursquare. Few surprises in this wine – it’s delicious, structured, and balanced, but as easy as it is to like, it’s also missing an x-factor, soul. If you want to open a nice bottle, this is your wine. If you want it to haunt you it was so good, this is not your wine. More for the mainstream critics to exclaim than this humble servant (I’ll take Le Baroncole Riserva any day over this). I’d drink it if offered, but I’m not a buyer; 15 years ago I think I’d have rated this several points higher. 40k bottles; will last 20 years, no problem. (90-92)
2015 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colonia  DOCG Sangiovese9/21/2019 – Excellent. Opens with a vast array of vivid, complex aromas, and to a lesser extent flavors (needs some more rest before it’s fully ‘online’). Let me go back to the part about complex – this has it in spades. On the palate, it’s pretty much full-bodied (though it is 100% Sangiovese), and the layers are rich, and pretty much perfectly ripe. Yes, this leans modern, but it’s just so well balanced, and integrated, talking points (modern vs traditional) just go down the loo. A highly enjoyable interpretation of land and grape. Just 6k bottles; drink 2021-2039. (93-96)
2016 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG Sangiovese9/21/2019 – A seriously good wine, at a great price; needs lots of time, though. Most years I’ll prefer this riserva over the Rancia bottling. This is most years. But that doesn’t really tell the full story, you see this has the raw material and the kind of structure and focus I crave. This is an easy case purchase – more for those that really know the wine – but it will require a fair amount of patience if you want to see it in its preferred plateau. 100% Sangiovese; 60k bottles produced. Drink 2023- 2038+. Strong buy alert; superb value. (90-92)
2016 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Sangiovese9/21/2019 – Very good. The 2016 Fontalloro pretty much checks all the boxes, and I don’t think it matters if you’re an old world vs. new world person, there’s just a lot to like here. There’s a lovely twist to the balsamic-like sweetness juxtaposed to the earthy/truffle/soil notes. Very good now, this will no doubt add some complexity, and a little more depth, as well. The integration/application of the wood seems well-judged, and bodes well for many years. As always, a crazy value in today’s market – buy more than you can afford. 30k bottles; drink 2020-2037. (93-96)
2017 Fietri Chianti Classico
DOCG Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – This was fun. I don’t recall tasting Fietri before, and that’s a shame, because I’m instantly a fan of their (BIO) winegrowing. Classical composition, very good freshness, purity, and balance. This estate is firmly on my radar now; the 2016, tasted just after this, was even more impressive, and if you see it (or either) in the marketplace, snap it up quickly. Sadly, just 4k bottles produced; 100% Sangiovese. Drink 2020-2030. (90-92)
2016 Fietri Chianti Classico  DOCG
 Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – Beautiful. Bright, and classic color, bursting with energy. The aromas are exuberant, intensely focused. This is in a deeply traditional mold with some tartness around the edges that will require time to resolve. The energy and structure are really impressive, this is a wine with soul. Sadly, just 4k bottles produced. Drink 2021-2033+. (90-92)
2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG
 Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – In the darker red-fruit profile, with notes of resin/balsamic, dried herbs, and deep soil tones. The palate is significant, brooding, even, at this tender age. This has passed out of my preferred scope of general enjoyment, but it’s also something I could enjoy a few times per year. That said, those of you that know and love the wine will need to be patient – there’s a lot of raw material here, and time will be the only thing to resolve it. 160k bottles, BIO-grown; a great value best enjoyed 2025-2039. Over the past two decades, I’ve been as guilty as anyone when it comes to drink their Classico too soon. (90-92), and that score will improve in time.
2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo  DOCG 
Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – Distinctive nose/aromas just now, with lovely lines that clearly distinguish the layers of red fruits. I was half expecting some darker tones to the fruit profile, but I have to hand it to Fontodi that even in this warmer vintage, a quite respectable degree of elegance is pervasive. This is a little warm on the palate now, so if serving anytime soon be sure to serve c. 60F, or better, wait 3-5 years for an even better, more thorough showing. BIO/Organic; 25k bottles. Drink 2023-2038. (93-96)
2015 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 
Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – Very much in the Flaccianello genre, with darker red-fruit aromas, rich soil tones, and touches of tar, and some black fruit. There’s abundant acidity, and the overall structure will see this age for two decades without effort. As usual, the oak is well judged, and the tannins are perfectly ripe. It’s classy, packed with flavor and elegance, but really should not be touched for at least a few years – even then, give it proper/overnight aeration to get a glimpse of all that is inside. BIO/Organic; 68k bottles, and only a hair’s breadth behind the fabulous 2016. Drink 2022-2042.(93-96)
2017 Gagliole Rubiolo 
Chianti Classico DOCG 
Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – At some point or another, I’m sure I’ve tasted the wine(s) of Gagliole before, but I can’t recall being this impressed before. Classic, if rich and attractive aromas of Tuscan dust, bright cherry, and soil, with flavors all following to a pleasant/tasty medium-bodied frame. There’s a lot to like already, so waiting a few years seems quite unnecessary. 100% Sangiovese; 47k bottles. Drink 2019-2027. (90-92)
2017 I Fabbri Chianti Classico Lamole
DOCG
 Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – Gorgeous, and inviting nose (kind of the opposite of the label), though the palate is still be bit disbanded just now. That said, I do see the raw material and structure to age/improve, and it’s likely just a year or two away. The nose, and color have a lovely energy and freshness to them, so if you see some on a list (doubtful, only 12k bottles produced), or at retail, grab a few to enjoy in the coming years. Seriously good value for money here. 100% Sangiovese; drink 2020-2030. (90-92)
2015 I Fabbri Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG 
Sangiovese Blend
9/21/2019 – Very classic profile, with a seriously attractive nose, though I find the palate to be a bit more loosely-knit than the nose (and color) suggested. This may resolve itself, or it may not, either way, this medium(+) bodied wine is juicy, packed with flavor, and well earns its Riserva classification with distinction, and balance. BIO-grown; 95% Sangiovese, Canaiolo. Drink 2020-2031. (90-92)
2015 I Fabbri Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG Sangiovese 9/21/2019 – My least favorite of the three I Fabbri wines tasted, this has a candied/modern nose, with a rather loosely-knit medium(+) body that is somewhat ill-defined. The finish is on the shorter side of average, and I’m not getting the freshness, and positive energy that the previous (Classico and Riserva) wines provided. BIO-grown; 2,0k bottles. Drink 2019-2026. (87-89)
2016 I Sodi Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Not in a style I prefer, this is juicy/forward, with red fruit, but seemingly lacking any structural detail (and acid!) that I prefer. 93% Sangiovese, Canaiolo. The darker color and forward, rich aromas are probably quite appealing to many, but my interests are elsewhere. 50k bottles, drink 2019-2024. (NR)
2015 I Sodi Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – I’m clearly not one of their target customers, as I find this forward to the point of gratuitous on the nose, and palate. It’s juicy, loosely knit, and could be many things from many places; lacks freshness, energy, and detail. 95% Sangiovese, Canaiolo; 15k bottles. The very definition of Meh, for me; drink now. (NR)
2015 Barlettaio Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Composed of 94% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, this comes across as a something more than just a simple bistro wine. There are some good soil notes on the nose, that at first postures the wine in a more classic vein, but moments later the rich, ripe aromas take hold. I find good structure in this vintage (relative to the short-ish finish, and loosely-knit style). My note close with “just ok”, though I know many will find this easy, and enjoyable. It probably goes without say, that I’m not too fond of in the wines of Classico region, but it kind of works here. 5,3k bottles; BIO-grown. Drink now thru 2024. (NR)
2016 Barlettaio Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Composed of 94% Sangiovese, Merlot, this comes across as a simple bistro wine; completely unforgettable. BIO-grown, with just 5,3k bottles produced, I was hoping for more. I preferred the 2015 to this 2016, pretty much the opposite of what I expected (and the 2015 has 20% Merlot, something I’m not too fond of in the wines of Classico region, but it kind of worked. Drink now thru 2025. (NR)
2016 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico SoloSangiovese DOCG9/21/2019 – This is a $10 retail bottle, it’s BIO/Organic grown, and it’s showing good typicity of aromas and flavors. The finish, as one might expect at this level, is short, but as a bistro/weeknight wine, one could do far worse. It’s humble, not pretending to be anything it’s not. 80k bottles; drink 2019-2024. (87-89)
2016 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG
 Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – A solid, bargain-level Classico wine (100% Sangiovese), that’s BIO/Organic, and offers more than it needs to at this level. A touch of savory, cement with fresh cherries on the nose. The medium-bodied palate offers decent structure/tension, and good+ flavors; more so considering the humble price. 10k bottles; drink 2020-2027. (87-89)
2015 Il Molino di Grace Gratius Toscana IGT
 Sangiovese
9/21/2019 – This seems to be produced with a restaurant wine list in mind, as I find it forward, modern (with a touch of savory) on the nose, and palate. It’s juicy, loosely-knit, and offers a short finish. This is far removed from my wheelhouse, but in the scheme of all Chianti consumers, I’m in a tiny minority; many will be quite happy with this purchase. I’m not sure of the price, but if it’s above $30, it’s too much. 90% Sangiovese, equal parts Colorino/Canaiolo; just 2k bottles. Drink now thru 2025. I’m not comfortable with a rating, per se, but I have to believe many/most would put this BIO/Organic wine in the (87-89) category.
2017 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico  DOCG 
Sangiovese Blend
9/21/2019 – This is from a barrel sample, so take it with that in mind. Composed of 83% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and Syrah, this medium-bodied wine is a bit forward in its performance, with ripe fruits that at times suggest a candied-nature. But, then there’s that lovely, fresh Sangiovese acidity to keep it all in balance. Not something I’m used to from this estate, but given the challenges of the vintage, it certainly has a place at my table. 105k bottles produced, drink 2019-2027. (87-89)
2016 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Easy to drink, easy to like. This is composed of 83% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and Syrah this medium-bodied wine shows pretty soil, stone, and Tuscan dust accents to its base of cherry/red berry fruit. Average structure/finish. This may (and my experience is it will) develop more complexity as it ages. A humble wine of place, at a very fair price. Drink 2019-2030+; 150k bottles produced. (87-89)
2017 La Castellina Chianti Classico Tommaso Bojola  DOCG Sangiovese 9/21/2019 – Opens with a nice, earthy rusticity, but then the palate becomes a bit hollow. Time may improve this some, but absent that, here is a simple, 100% Sangiovese wine with avg typicity and length. Only 3k bottles produced. This easily qualifies as a decent bistro-type wine. Drink 2019-2025. (NR)
2016 La Castellina Chianti Classico Squarcialupi  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – A simple, but honest wine with average typicity, and length. It’s soil-driven nature endears me to place, and grape. Ultimately there’s just enough freshness to consider this a solid bistro wine, and thus a good value. 50k bottles produced (95% Sangiovese, Colorino), this is probably best consumed 2019-2025. (87-89)
2015 La Montanina Di Oretta Leonini Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese9/21/2019 – Not exactly sure this bottle was at its best, as this was dominated by a cherry cough-syrup nose, offered a slightly bitter, muddled mid-palate, and the final was unremarkable. I put two (-) signs after the world Meh, so I didn’t care for this at all. 95% Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo; 20k bottles. Drink now. (NR)
2016 La Sala Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/21/2019 – Composed of 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, with 35k bottles produced. I found the flavors and aromas to be simple, the finish, short. This could have been anything from anywhere. Drink now. (NR)

The header picture was during the winter of 2019, while traveling in Puglia/Polignano a Mare during a holiday weekend.

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