2011 San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Year: 2011
Appellation: Tuscany
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 92
Vinous Media: 92
James Suckling: 94
Wine Enthusiast: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :


"Tight and powerful, exuding blackberry, black currant, plum, violet and leather flavors. Dense and extracted, finishing with solid tannins. Best from 2017 through 2024. 3,300 cases made. –BS " (WS)

"The 2011 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Grigio is a bigger, richer wine than the straight Il Grigio, partly the result of inclusion of a handful of indigenous grapes that help give the wine much of its personality. Sage, tobacco, lavender and cured meats are some of the notes that round out the powerful finish. Today, the 2011 is shaping up to be a decidedly virile, intense wine. There is certainly no shortage of personality here. For its Gran Selezione, San Felice has crafted a Sangiovese -based wine that incorporates a number of nearly-extinct native varieties, including Abrusco, Pugnitello, Malvasia Nera, Ciliegiolo and Mazzese." (VM)

"This is a classy Chianti Classico with lots of structure and depth plus firm tannins and a blueberry, black cherry and cedar character. Compacted and tight. Superb and complex. Lots going on. An excellent follow-through after the outstanding 2010. Give it two to three years to open." (JS)

"A fantastic combination of power and finesse, this opens with aromas of under brush, ripe plum, truffle, leather, smoke and a balsamic note. The firm, delicious palate delivers fleshy black cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and mocha. Velvety tannins support the juicy flavors." (WE)


A most imposing full bodied complex long-lived hearty red is words I would definitely use to describe this most impressive Gran (Grand) Selezione (Selection). This is a wine certainly needing time to reach its full potential, if you want to try it now I recommend you decant the bottle or at least uncork it for several hours before savoring it. It’s not only the richness of the wine that requires time but also its intense oaky character as particularly found in its hearty tannic level-all factors that add to the wines intense appeal. After trying a bottle of it now, I would suggest aging it for at least another 2 or 3 years while knowing it will keep well until the late 2020’s.

Pardon the audacity, but I am seriously modifying the Parker Italian reviewers, review of the 2010 (which she rated a 94) to describe the more complex, superior and presently austere 2011, as, “Extremely full and generous, the “2011” Gran Selezione is a seductive wine with the bold intensity and layering of a Super Tuscan. Instead of international varieties, this Sangiovese-based wine is enhanced by, 20% mixture of such rare grapes as Abrusco, Pugnitello, Malvasis Nera, Ciliegiolo and Mazzese. The final release is gorgeous; resulting in pristine flavors of currants, cassis and other dark fruit with overtones of Italian Herbs, smoke and pressed roses. The right amount of balanced acidity helps the wine from feeling too heavy and chewy. The 2011 vintage promises a relatively slow steady rewarding evolution it its maturing.”

RATING: 95 (& possibly 97 in a few years).
PRICE: $39.95, *** BARGAIN
WHERE: Los Angeles Wine Co.
(Martin's Guide to Wine Bargains)

Winery Notes:
Terroir zonation studies, which began in the early 1990s and resulted in the re-planting of the vineyards, revealed 5 very high-quality growing sites.Il Grigio Gran Selezione is made from a rigorous selection of the finest Sangiovese grapes from three of those vineyards, Chiesamonti, Colti, and Pianaccio. Additional indigenous grape varieties, Abrusco, Pugnitello, Malvasia nera, Ciliegiolo, and Mazzese, which grow in San Felice’s Vitiarium, a renowned collection inaugurated in the 1980 and now boasting over 200 forgotten varieties, were selected to enrich the Sangiovese of Grigio Gran Selezione. The result is a rich, superbly-structured wine marked by taut, elegant tannins and a broad array of complex fragrances, a wine that is the fullest expression of the terroir of San Felice.