For the Table: 91 point 2014 San Felice Il Grigio Riserva
Posted on: 06/20/18 12:54 PM
Don’t be fooled by the Titian portrait on the label of San Felice’s Il Grigio. While it does accurately convey the old school majesty that comes along with Riserva level Sangiovese, the real story is how San Felice deftly combines a very modern nuance with rustic Tuscan charm. The end result is a Chianti that will flatter classicists and casual Italian fans alike.
2014 San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva
“This is a dark and deeply saturated wine with a robust and brooding personality. The 2014 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio showcases the more muscular and robust characteristics that are most often associated with the Castelnuovo Berardenga subzone. San Felice has done an excellent job in terms of selecting the best fruit in what is generally seen as a very difficult vintage in this part of the world. The mouthfeel is slightly more streamlined compared to warmer vintages and perhaps the acidity is a touch higher. But overall, the wine stays true to its ambitions and promises.” 91 Points, Wine Advocate
More about the Wine
In the wine trade we are guilty of assuming smaller is always better. The tiny artisan estates with their two hectare holdings means a much tighter focus on quality and terroir. These days the larger the property, the far less cool or fashionable. Why? Because hipster-somms will argue that there is far less emphasis on quality and absolutely zero terroir.
San Felice’s 2014 Il Grigio is a convincing example of why that notion is not necessarily true. The estate owns a whopping four hundred forty-five hectares under vine. That’s big. Really, really big. But that size allows San Felice valuable flexibility and choice in the vineyard. So, in the case of 2014 (a vintage which the Italians had difficulty with) it was because of their large size that the quality for their Riserva is still very, very satisfying, and, in fact, exceptional. And yes, while I am massively over simplifying here (San Felice is famous for their smart cutting edge viticulture and their prime holdings in Chianti are exceptional), the general gist is true. Bigger sometimes actually is better, and I don’t care how uncool that is.
Sourced from their top vineyards in the heart of Tuscany, the 2014 Il Grigio is superb. It is also yet another example of 2014 proving to be far better than what Italian critics and producers first predicted. While not as hot, shiny and ripe as 2015 or 2013, the best 2014’s such as Il Grigio vibrate with class and finesse. The fruit is clearly excellent Riserva quality and is fully alive, not just in texture but also in detail and energy. As is always the case with Il Grigio, the Sangiovese here is on the richer side (great for aging) and is best played out on the table. Did someone just order a roast chicken, or is that my imagination?
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