When I first looked at Fattoria di Felsina's Rancia vineyard, in the late 1980s, it struck me as the perfect vineyard. Placed halfway up a fairly steep mountainside in Castelnuovo Berardenga, the southernmost subdistrict of Tuscany's Chianti Classico region, the site looked like someone had carved out a table. The land tilted due south, and every vine seemed to have the same exposure. In wine terms, that practically guarantees perfectly even ripening.
In my experience, Rancia delivers on that promise with ripe, generous flavors in the Sangiovese grapes, which are bottled separately from those from Felsina's other vineyards. Owner Giuseppe Mazzocolin and winemaker Franco Bernabei whittle away at that ripeness to create a wine of subtlety and depth, vintage after vintage. The 2005, a very good vintage in Chianti, has gorgeous blackberry and plum fruit, framed by polished tannins, lively acidity and a hint of wet stone on the finish, which goes on and on nicely. It's priced at $40 and I gave it 91 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind tasting review for Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga Rancia Riserva 2005 (91, $40).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Chianti Classico reds.
FREE: Watch our video visit to Felsina during the Chianti Classico harvest.