I’ve got some nice Italian food on tap for din-din tonight, so I decided to revisit three recent Chianti Classico Riserva’s from what is my favorite year-in, year-out producer in the zona, Felsina. Dinner is in about three hours, so I just pulled corks on the trio to have a little pre-lim taste and give them a little air. First up,
the 2005 Felsina CCR - a dark translucent ruby in the glass, with a “heady” nose that almost reminds me of cherry liquer - I don’t think anyone would use the word elegant right now to describe this in-your-face nose. There is also a nice spicy nuance framing the fruit.
Sweet & ripe cherry fruit on the palate, round, and lacking (at least on opening) enough acidity to really sharpen up the fruit. I can’t recall any vintage specifics on 2005, but this wine strikes me as an one that will be early maturing - nothing objectionable, to be sure, but also too accessible and not enough chianti typicity right now.
Back with bottle #2 in a couple.
Now that is more like it - the 2007 Felsina CCR has that notable acidity clearly framing the red fruits on the nose. Similar in color to the previous wine, perhaps a shade darker ruby, and a very young nose with cool menthol most upfront on opening. This wine will definitely need the air (and may turn out to be better with leftovers tomorrow).
So much more vibrant on the palate, with crisp red fruits (raspberries & cherries), and a serious dollop of tannin on the finish. We’ll see how it performs with additional air & paired with food, but this has the stuff to develop into a very fine wine down the road. I am also a big fan of both the Rancia and Fontalloro cuvees in this vintage, a year when Felsina really hit it out of the park.
I’ll be back to open “door #3” in a momentito.
And last up, the 2004 Felsina CCR - the nose here comes across as a hypothetical blend of the previous two wines, with ripe red fruits soaring from the glass, but a clear spine of acidity also attendant with the fruit. Primary, but hinting at so much potential.
Gorgeous wine on the palate - admittedly too young, although I would not fault anyone for pulling a cork and enjoying a bottle as it shows right now. A classic chianti (and from another year where Felsina was superior across the board - their Rancia in this vintage will be a great wine in another 10-15 years) with brisk red fruits and a core of prominent but harmonious acidity, the only thing this wine lacks right now are the secondary nuances that will come with more time in the bottle.
My favorite of the trio upon opening, but I will come back with an update after we try these with some pasta
2004 is a rockstar year for CCR.
Thanks for the notes. Looking forward to hearing how they went with the pasta. I find tomato based sauces can really tame that acid streak in young Italian wines. If I could only drink one Tuscan wine it would probably be Felsina Rancia. I’ll start nibbling at the 2004 in 2 years, with the exception of one Flaccianello, which I had to try on release.
Thanks for the notes. i have all three of these in the cellar. Very helpful.
Thanks for the updates.
Felsina CCR is a fantastic wine, a fantastic bargain. The 2006 CCR was $22 and terrific stuff for the price (but needing time).
That said, I tried a lone bottle of the 2007 Felsina CCR in December 2010, and on that day at least, it was a much different beast than the '04, '05 and '06 versions: a fruit bomb! Seriously, it was uber ripe and didn’t show the telltale Chianti acidity like the other vintages did. Maybe it has settled down since then, but I was disconcerted. Any thoughts to that?
Pat, it has certainly tamed itself if it showed like that initially - I think all in yesterday the wine that most surprised me was the '05, because it was my least favorite on opening, yet three hours later was showing some structure. Still not a high acid chianti, and probably more of a black fruit profile than red, but quite nice - my wife actually preferred it to the other two wines, and I could see her point last night, as it was the wine drinking most closely to it’s ultimate maturity.
Off last night, I think the '04 is ultimately the best wine of the three, but I’d say that another five years in the cellar will really benefit it - that said, if you like a little astringency in your flavor profile, paired with a rich dish like the sweetbread ravioli I had it with last night, even young it still delivers a lot of pleasure right now. I think the '07 is a nice wine as well,but just tended to be overshadowed last night by the '04. It also is in need of more time in the cellar - I’ve got “day 2” tastes of both lined up for dinner tonight, so we’ll see if anything surprising happens.