San Felice Wines

San Felice WinesWe became acquainted with San Felice wines last year, so we happily accepted these three standout Italian wines. 2020 Bell’Aja Bolgheri Superiore 2020; 2019 Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione; and 2018 Poggiorosso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione are special-occasion wines from the historic estate located in the heart of Chianti Classico territory. As well, they all complement summer barbecues or winter roasts.

The San Felice Story

San Felice EstateSan Felice encompasses about 685 hectares of pristine woods and Chianti hills. In addition to three prestigious Tuscany wine territories or terroirs, San Felice includes about 15,000 olive trees. Moreover, the estate features a luxurious five-star hotel, Borgo San Felice, two restaurants (Michelin restaurant Il Poggio Rosso and Osteria del Grigio), Bar Archi, and the Botanic Spa.

Of the three territories, San Felice Chianti Classico (150 hectares) sits at 400 metres above sea level, with a good combination of soil and micro-climate. Next, Campogiovanni Montalcino covers 23 hectares with valleys and rivers. Finally, Bell’Aja Bolgheri is poised by the sea with vines planted in silt-sand soils across 15 hectares.

Just a few miles from Siena, the area was owned by the Grisaldi del Taja family from 1700 to 1968. Subsequently, in the late 1970s, the Allianz Group transformed the aristocratic estate into a wine-growing and winemaking business. But before that, in 1968, San Felice created Vigorello, 100% Sangiovese, which became the first of a new generation of Tuscan wines now known as Supertuscans.

However, over time, San Felice blended more grape varieties into Vigorello. As a result, the current 2019 vintage comprises 35% Pugnitello (an ancient native vine), 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Likewise, Vigorello remains San Felice’s signature wine today.

Meanwhile, San Felice’s annual production is more than one million bottles (1,025,000 of Chianti; 80,000 Brunello; 40,000 Rosso di Montalcino; and 55,000 of Bolgheri). The winery divides them into 16 labels, made entirely from estate-owned grapes.

San Felice 2020 Bell’Aja Bolgheri DOC Superiore ($69)

San Felice Bell'Aja Bolgheri Superior 2020First, this is a powerhouse Merlot, blended with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. San Felice starts with the grapes from the oldest Merlot parcel of their vineyard in the Le Sondraie area of Bolgheri. Winemaker Leonardo Bellaccini notes that this wine is the faithful expression of a unique terroir. On the nose, red fruits, spices, licorice and cocoa lead into a dense palate of plums and oak, balanced by acidity. Decant it if you drink it now, or better yet, put it in the cellar for 5-7 years.

2019 Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG ($42)

Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019San Felice’s top vineyards source Il Grigio Gran Selezione, which is 80% Sangiovese. The remaining 20% blends native Tuscan grapes, including Abrusco, Pugnitello, Malvasia Nera, Ciliegiolo, and Mazzese. They bring layers, textures and complexity to this Chianti Classico. Aromas of violets, spices, plums, licorice and balsamic vinegar open into flavors of more plums, with hints of chocolate. This is a full-bodied red wine, which also needs decanting before drinking. And in case you were wondering, the front label bears Italian painter Titian’s famous portrait of a medieval knight in armor.

Further, we tasted Il Grigio Classico Riserva 2018 last year. We found it to be the most full-bodied 100% Sangiovese we have opened in recent memory. As well, Il Grigio Riserva costs $20, showcasing the wide range of prices in the San Felice portfolio.

2018 Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG ($66)

Poggiorosso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2018San Felice crafted this 100% Sangiovese from selected parcels of Poggio Rosso vineyard, planted in the 1970s. The winery says “it represents the pinnacle of San Felice’s terroir.” They produce this elegant wine exclusively in outstanding vintages. Savory aromas of plums, black olives, blackberries and dark cherries mirror the palate. This iconic wine is recognized for its longevity, with an aging potential of about 20 years. The label “Gran Selezione” (on this and the previous wine) indicates quality and excellence within the Chianti Classico DOCG.

Summary: San Felice Wines

In conclusion, the San Felice lineup ranges from special-occasion bottles such as these to wallet-friendly every-day wines. Certainly, we recommend all the San Felice wines we have tasted in the last two years.

Thank you for the samples, San Felice and Platinum Media Agency.

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Margot and Dave