1995 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga Riserva Rancia

Year: 1995
Appellation: Tuscany
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
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"Very well made, from one of the Chianti's best vineyards. Loads of plum and roses on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied, with well-integrated yet chewy tannins and a caressing, silky texture. Another winner from Felsina. Best after 2000. 3,000 cases made. -JS" (WS)

"The 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is all about harmony. This isn’t the biggest or most complex Rancia, but rather a wine that impresses for its sense of proportion and harmony. Fine, silky tannins and a kick of Sangiovese acidity frame the long, vibrant finish. This is another dazzling wine that has stood the test of time, and then some. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.

I will never forget this once in a lifetime tasting of Felsina’s flagship Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia. What started out as a casual survey of a few older vintages turned into a complete vertical as proprietor Giuseppe Mazzocolin and long-time oenologist Franco Bernabei surprised me with bottle after bottle of fabulous Rancias going back to the inaugural 1983. A few days after this tasting I received a complete lab analysis of all the wines, one of the most valuable pieces of data I have ever seen, and a presentation worthy of serious wine scholarship. The single biggest takeaway from this tasting is the amazing consistency of the wines across all vintages. Considering its modest price, Rancia remains one the most fairly priced, cellar worthy wines in the world. As great as Rancia can be, the straight Riserva makes a fine substitute at about half the price. I learned that lesson again recently at Maialino in New York City, where Wine Director Liz Nicholson served me a fabulous bottle of the 1995.I have to say there is something about the wines of the 1980s and mid-1990s that goes straight to the heart. Giuseppe Mazzocolin describes his early wines from the 1980s as huge challenges to make because he constantly had to convince his vineyard workers to drop fruit, something that was a culture shock and that seemed like an enormous waste of money given the mindset of the time. If present-day vintages develop only half as well readers will be in for a treat as those wines mature. Readers will notice that the early wines from the 1980s were called Vigneto Rancia, rather than simply Rancia, which became the norm beginning in 1990. The wine has been made from the same parcel since the first year.

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia Key Points:

1. 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barrels

2. Made from the Rancia vineyard, a high-altitude site in the south of the Chianti Classico appellation

3. Combines power and elegance

4. Aging potential: 20-30 years" (WA)

"Many years ago, when I was in high school, my parents retailed the Fèlsina wines. That was the beginning of a long-term love affair with the wines of this reference-point estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga. A few of us arrive early for dinner. What better way to start than with a bottle of the 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia and a plate of Maialino’s Prosciutto di Parma & Mozzarella di Bufala? Beautifully delicate and lifted, the 1995 Rancia is absolutely sublime. Now gently mellowed by age, the 1995 is at a glorious peak of expression, with captivating aromatics and a level of translucent purity that is a marvel to behold." (VM)

Winery Notes:
The Rancia vineyard takes its name from the historic Rancia farmhouse, once a Benedictine monastery. Located in Castelnuovo Berardenga at elevations ranging between 400 and 420 metres it has a fine southwest-facing exposure. The more recent plantings utilize genetic material from massal selections gathered from the old Rancia vineyard. The soil is composed of limestone-derived alberese classic to the Castelnuovo Berardenga area and of galestro marl in some areas. First vintage was 1983.

After the quality-selected clusters are de-stemmed and pressed, the must is fermented and macerated in stainless steel for 16-20 days at 28°C and 30°C, with programmed punchdowns and daily pumpovers. In March-April, the new wine goes into new French oak barrels; after 18-20 months of maturation, the final blend is assembled, bottled, and ages in glass a minimum of 6-8 months.

Ruby red appearance with rich, intense tones. Spicy nose with floral notes and hints of wild berry (red and black), accompanied by mineral impressions and light toasted notes. Spice re-appears on the palate, which displays firm but supple tannins, and the finale is vigorous and taut. Overall, the wine is compelling for its flavour-rich mid-palate and supporting acidity.