1995 Fattoria Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Cru Rancia
Like its much-vaunted neighbor in Montalcino, immaculately cellared Chianti can age virtually indefinitely. It was a twenty year old 1964 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva, after all, that changed my life, once-upon-a-time, so I know how good they can be. And when it’s one of Chianti’s bluest blue chips we’re speaking of, well, that shortens the odds of success considerably too. Fattoria Felsina’s Rancia vineyard is the most prized of the fourteen different individual ‘farms’ they own. Planted entirely to Sangiovese planted in the early nineteen eighties, this long sweeping hill with its abandoned farmhouse at the top sits at 400 meters, right on the border of the Castelnuovo Berardenga zone, the far southeastern edge of Chianti Classico, and the Chianti Colli Senesi appellation.
The lower sweep of the hill is largely on Chianti’s Gallestro marly clay soils and the upper part is on the Castelnuovo area’s unique Albarese crushed granite sand and gravel. The former endows the Felsina’s Cru Rancia with its formidable structure- as powerful and age-worthy as any wine produced in Chianti, while the latter endows the wine with its legendary dark color, gorgeous floral aromatics and svelte, silky texture. I remember this 1995 very well. It was a very powerful wine when we first sold it, back, I think, in 1998. Since then, its burly tannins have melted into the wine revealing a stunning set of tertiary aromas underneath. Incredibly fresh and lively for a 23-year old wine, it’s more red now than the dark purple that defined its youth.
Thoroughly charming now with hints of cinnamon stick, flinty mineral and faded flowers, you might confuse this for, say, a similarly aged Pomerol from Bordeaux except for the unique warmth that comes only from under the Tuscan sun. Gorgeous now, it has a lot further to go if you were to decide to wait longer but, once you taste this, you won’t want to wait another minute! My suggestion? While certainly still lively and assertive enough to stand up to a grilled bistecca, I think I’d prefer a plate of dried figs or cherries, a small bowl of walnuts and a wedge of aged Pecorino Toscana drizzled with your best Tuscan oil to savor with a glass of this.