Just Arrived: Two of the Finest Expressions in a Quarter of a Century from “One of the Great Estates in the World.” The Monovarietal Super Tuscan and Iconic Cru Deliver Once Again with Tuscany’s Noble Varietal...

“Fèlsina is one of the great estates in the world. It's as simple as that… Rancia is a wine of mind-blowing elegance and finesse...The 2018 dazzles from start to finish. It's a magical wine in every way." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

As you know by now, the 2018 report card from the Tuscan hills and the coastal medieval hamlet of Bolgheri has created quite a stir. Italian Wine Merchants has sold through our allocations of Sassicaia and Ornellaia in record time – even exceeding the benchmark releases from 2016 and 2015. The Tuscan vintage is capturing attention with more classic expressions delivering more medium-bodied wines marked with freshness and silky tannins. You might even say there are elements of 2015 and 2016 in 2018. So, how do we match these benchmark releases from the dynamic duo of Sassicaia and Ornellaia? Well, this past week we had one (for the second time), it is a wine that rightfully belongs in the elite class of iconic Tuscan wines at IWM – this time it comes from a noble interpretation of Sangiovese and at a fraction of the price – it is the sublime 2018 Felsina Fontalloro.

If you love Italian wine, you already know that Fattoria di Fèlsina has long been one of the beloved names in Tuscan wine. It is here in the prized village of Castelnuovo Berardegna, just 30 miles outside of Montalcino, that Felsina delivers some of the pinnacle expressions of Tuscany. What makes this estate unique among many of the region’s producers is their dedication to terroir and use of indigenous grape varietals. While many of their neighbors’ blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in their Chianti, Fèlsina remains loyal traditionalists to the core. Their Riserva Vigna Rancia is widely regarded as the finest Chianti alongside Fontodi’s Vigna del Sorbo and Castello di Ama’s Bellavista. However, like Fontodi’s Flaccianello, the flagship Fontalloro is one of those monovarietal Super Tuscans that often drinks more like a refined Brunello – generous and wild, whereas the Riserva Rancia is more ethereal and precise.

Well, in 2018 the Fontalloro is another stunning expression that can be enjoyed by both the ardent Tuscan connoisseur and even the Burgundy enthusiast. The wine is incredibly light on its feet with elegant, silky tannins, minerality and ample red fruit, while retaining its sense of place and varietal. But the inside tip here might just be the Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia. For many critics it is a wine that has challenged or surpassed the sibling Fontalloro - and is, in fact, the second highest-rated Rancia in four decades. For IWM, they are simply among the finest interpretations of the noble Sangiovese, delivered with rare value and age-ability.

FEATURED WINE(S): Fèlsina Fontalloro and Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia (Click to Order)


Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: The 2018 Fontalloro is the perfect addition for the benchmark trifecta of 2015, 2016, and 2018 at this fabled Tuscan address. Where 2015, and even 2016, are fuller bodied expressions with more density and opulence, the 2018 is more high-toned and understated, capturing a little more finesse and Burgundian sensibility. On the palate, the 2018 Fontalloro showcases its juicy, bright red fruit and herbaceous characteristics, that is quickly followed by some tightness, underlying grip, and structure. However, with a little aeration, the magic happens here. This young wine brilliantly integrates, gaining weight and texture, but remaining incredibly light on its feet, for an alluring, silky expression that is hard not to go back to. Give this wine the two hour plus decant it deserves, or better yet, let it age further and you can expect to find the darker shades of Sangiovese, with black cherries, wild berries, red licorice, citrus, menthol, tobacco, and a touch of old cedar. This is one of the best value recommendations we can make this year alongside the 2018 Petrolo Torrione and Le Serre Nouve.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The 2018 Fontalloro is bright, floral and full of energy. In most vintages, Fontalloro is quite open, but the 2018 is especially nervy and taut. That won't be an issue in time, of course, but readers should plan on being patient. Sangiovese is so expressive here. A whole range of floral and savory accents lingers on the close.”

Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “Is it the year of Rancia over Fontalloro? Some of the critics think so ranking it among the highest rated wines in four decades. For IWM, it is the more ethereal, finessed, and austere expression. Much in the way that we often prefer Fontodi Vigna Sorbo over Flaccianello, it is a similar scenario at this fabled Chianti address. This is a wine that demands time, but if you are going to cheat on it, give the wine a two hour decant. There is plenty of dark fruit here, and you can expect black cherry, macerated cherries, plums, currants, coffee beans, grilled herbs, oregano, baked earth, and dusty minerality.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous: "The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is an absolutely stunning wine. The archetype of Rancia in the past has been of a big, potent Chianti Classico but in 2018, Rancia is a wine of mind-blowing elegance and finesse. Silky, perfumed and indescribably finessed, the 2018 dazzles from start to finish. It's a magical wine in every way."

This is an email ONLY offer. Should you have any questions on these exciting wines, or would like to take advantage of this offer (that is only available until 11:59 Sunday, November 7th, or while supplies last), we are asking that you email orders back to chris.deas@italianwinemerchants.com, connect with your Portfolio Manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation. IWM is not responsible for typographical errors.

All my best,


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