Hello friends. Our list was responsible for consuming oceans of San Felice’s entry-level Chianti Classico last fall. Now, with the coming of spring, we’ve been given advance notice that a parcel of their Chianti on the next rung up the quality ladder is about to hit the Port of Seattle.
2012 San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio
This one comes with a strong review from Galloni, too, so we’d be wise to stake our claim before this wine hits the general market. Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “($26); San Felice’s 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio is rich, powerful and explosive, with real depth and intensity to the fruit. Dark cherry, plum, tobacco, menthol and licorice give the 2012 its spherical shape and texture. Drink this bold, upfront Riserva over the next 7-10 years. This is a strong showing from San Felice. 92pts.”
I continue to be thrilled with the way our list members have embraced Chianti over the past few years. It is a terrific value-hunter’s category, but it requires legwork, a lot of frog-kissing to find the princes. And that’s the Full Pull model: we kiss the frogs so you don’t have to. Chianti’s fortunes are improving in the US market, but it’s still walking the line between fashionable and unfashionable, still burdened by the days of swill-in-straw-baskets. But no matter. We know better. Fashion or no, we know that Chianti remains one of the world’s beating hearts of Sangiovese, and that the good bottles are really, really good.
As our list members have discovered over the past few years, San Felice is really, really good. The winery sits in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga (located here), at an altitude of about 1300ft. Their grounds encompass 650 hectares of grapes, 17,000 olive trees (!), and an agritourismo (!!). (Yes, we should all visit soon.)
There are a number of differences between the Classico we offered last autumn and the Classico Riserva we’re offering today. First, this is a selection of some of San Felice’s oldest/best vineyard sites. Second, it’s 100% Sangiovese (the Classico includes some blenders). And finally, it gets twice as long (24 months) in the traditional Slavonian botti (and a small portion goes into smaller barrel). All of that adds up to a very different wine indeed. The general rule of thumb: whereas the Classico is usually nervy and elegant, Grigio is usually rich and generous. And indeed, this vintage of Grigio presents a wonderful, rich mix of black cherry fruit, earthy/leafy tones, star anise exotics, and cherry pit bitters. With time and air, the earthy cremini mushroom notes only increased. Wonderful, and so appetizing. Il Grigio always puts me in mind of richer dishes. If you start involving Italian sausage, or maybe braising some short ribs and putting them on top of polenta, this is a fine wine to turn to.
First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.