Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva

I had lunch last week and really enjoyed a glass of Vicolo Chianti. I did a little research on this board and discovered a lot of discussion on various vintages of Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva.

Is this where I should start, or are there other Chianti Classico Riservas out there that are recommended?

Felsina produces as good of Chianti as anyone in Tuscany. Their regular bottling is terrific as well.

BUT - They need time. the Riserva and “Rancia” Riserva shouldn’t even be looked at until they are at least ten years old, and the “Rancia” hits it’s prime at 15-20 years of age. The regular “Classico” can be a bit tight in it’s youth as well, but with a couple years in the bottle - it’s wonderful.

Lots of great Chianti Classico Riserva on the market Robert - And I can think of about a dozen that are all good starting points. I am sure you will see them listed as people discover this thread. I tend to buy Monsanto’s Riserva more than just about any other domaines as it’s under 20 bucks and easy to pop in the middle of the week.


What Thomas said, and I’d add Fontodi to your search; regarding Felsina, as inexpensive as they are for the quality they deliver, it would be a smart plan to lay in some each of their various bottlings and revisit some years from now. I had their '88 CCR about a year and a half ago and it was sensational, and I just bought two bottles if the '97. Benchmark Wine is worth watching since they occasionally turns up some older bottles.

Try a more traditional producer (Monsanto) and a more modern producer (Querciabella) and get a feel for your tastes. I prefer Querciabella with red meat or drinking by itself, while I will lean towards the Monsanto’s with foods with red sauces.
Isole Olena is worth checking out at the CC level.

I brought a couple bottles back from Italy of the 1988 “Rancia” I found in a shop in Siena with much less than ideal cellaring conditions a couple years ago, but took the chance because they were so cheap. They had obviously been laying around for years with all the dust on them, and bottles were just sensational.

What everybody else said. With age, worth it. Without age, however, just average.

Yes, Felsina Riserva is a good place to start. Some other wines to consider.
Castellare di Castellina Riserva
Castellare di Castellina Riserva Il Poggiale
Isole e Olena
Castello di Rampolla
Montevertine Pian del Ciampolo

There is also
Castel in Villa
Le cinciole
Il Molino di grace
By the way i think querciabella are going towards the traditional style in their new realeases.

Bummer on the Q change. The 2006 was awesome.

Felsina is one of the better bargains in the wine world. One of the best things is that, because it’s CCR, which is not a trendy wine, you can sometimes find back vintages for near the current release price. I just bought some '04 Felsina Rancia Riserva for $45 or so, which is just about what I bought it for on release back in 08/09.

Yeah, but the new releases are pricy. I used to buy Rancia for about 25 Euros 5 years ago. it´s now at least 35 or 40.

I think the Felsina Riserva is a good deal because it´s slightly over 20 Euros and not much lesser quality than the Rancia IMO.

Robert - as others have said, there are a few worth looking at. I don’t know how much you know about the place, but there are 2 or 3 things to keep in mind. First, when something says “Classico”, that doesn’t mean a style. It’s actually a region within the much larger Chianti zone. It’s kind of like ground zero, and you can find Chianti from other zones, like Ruffina, that may be less expensive and some of them are OK.

Then as others have pointed out, there are different styles. Monsanto, which I like a lot, is kind of “traditional” if you will - it’s not dark or heavy on the palate. The traditional grapes would be Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, and even a white grape, but that’s rarely used these days. Today some are 100% Sangiovese, which I don’t believe was ever the norm, and some have these grapes and some include Merlot and/or Cab and/or Syrah.

But those don’t always translate into what you might think. I’m not 100% certain, but I think the Monsanto contains a bit of Merlot. Then there’s something like Viticcio, which James Suckling just loves. That also contains Merlot but it’s an entirely different wine. It’s usually pretty cheap though, which has that going for it. It’s just not 95 points or whatever he happens to give it this year.

Here are a few others to try:
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico
Nipozzano Montesodi Riserva (this is by Frescobaldi and comes from Ruffina, rather than Classico)
Fonterutoli Chianti Classico

Then there are regions close by that can make pretty good wine, like Carmignano and Montepulciano. Montepulciano is, depending on who you talk to, related to, the same as, descended from, or completely different from Sangiovese. It doesn’t really matter though, because those wines tend to be less expensive and they can be great to have around the house for Tuesday night.

Just finished another 1988 Fontalloro. Painfully tannic and young. Delightful however :stuck_out_tongue:
Rancia is my favourite Felsina bottling. Delivers after 15 years.
Montevertine riserva is a must. A beautiful wine. Pergole Torte came in 1977 so earlier vintages (1975) are magnificent

Funny, I just had the 2010 Felsina CCR (not the Rancia) at Riccardo Trattoria in Chicago this past Saturday. The wine was young, but it was drinking awfully well. My wife had linguini with seafood and I had a pounded pork chop covered with fontina fondue and shaved Norcia black truffles. The Chianti went well with both dishes.


Before you get into the riservas, you should try some chianti classicos. One traditional maker is Castello di Bossi, which usually comes in below $15/btl. Great wine to try. I’m not generally a fan of the more modernist Chianti makers - ie ones that include bordeaux varietals in the blend.

I know this is not a Chianti, but you should do yourself a favor and check out a bottle of 2012 Il Poggione Rosso Di Montalcino. Really good version of Sangiovese. Around $20, not sure there is another Rosso that is going to touch it.

Except that the 2010 Felsina Rancia is drinking well now. I have had 4 bottles over the last 3 months and all are ready to go at a certain level, meaning they are expressive and nuanced on the palate while showing good aromatics. Not secondary characters, but plenty of complexity.

The Riserva is approachable with some air, but the Rancias I have had recently are much more accessible. I guess they could still shut down, but so far not.

Hmm have a case of this wine in Magnums. (intended for my sons 20 years bd). I have decided not to open one in the name of science…

A wise man to be buying this in Magnums. This is a great wine IMO (and wow, the critics seem to agree)…