Must-Try Wine of the Week: San Felice 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio Da San Felice, Tuscany, Italy
Named after a local Christian saint from the 18th century, Agricola San Felice was bought by the Grisaldi Del Taja family, founding members of the Chianti Classico consortium. The family produced wine for several centuries until 1968, when the estate passed to Enzo Morganti. Today the property includes a 1,853-acre resort, 445 acres of vineyards, and a 44-acre parcel dedicated to experimental viticulture and the genetic improvement of sangiovese.
The San Felice vineyards are situated in the gently rolling hills of the Castelnuovo Berardenga area of Chianti Classico. Here, the vines are planted in two different soil types: calcareous clay and a combination of sand and lime. Like Enzo before him, winemaker Leonardo Bellacini has spent much of his career working with sangiovese, and carries on the legacy of tradition, research, and experimentation. This one is 100 percent sangiovese. The grapes were fermented on their skins for 18 to 20 days. Eighty percent of the wine was aged in 60 to 90 hectoliter casks, and 20 percent in 60-gallon barriques for 24 months. The wine was then aged in bottle for an additional six months.
The nose of this Classico is a melange of dried cherry, fig, and toast, with the barest hint of vanilla. On the palate, there is lots of dried cherry and spice, with nice dry tannins, and very juicy acidity. The wine drinks surprisingly well now, but will reward you with some cellar time of 1 to 2 years or more. At Wine Exchange, Best Wines Online, for under $16.