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san leonino

Chianti, IT

The San Leonino Farm has been producing wine since the parish church it gets its name from, and to which it belongs, became part of the Lega del Chianti. The church of San Leonino in Conio (the land attached to the church) is mentioned in several documents, the first of which date from 1043, 1076 and 1077. In those days, it came under the Diocese of Fiesole, but being on the border between Florence, Siena and Volterra, it was constantly being fought over to gain control of the area. But as well as being attached to the town and situated in a strategic area, on a hill where the Staggia stream and the Gena ditch provide water, the farm enjoyed a flourishing economy, as shown by the tithes paid be-tween 1275 and 1300. At the end of all the territorial conflicts between Florence and Siena, the church finally came under the Florentine state and became one of the strongholds of the Lega del Chianti, as can be seen in the 1384 statute. 

In the last 50 years there have been several different owners, up until the arrival of the Angelini family in 1994, who are the current owners of the Bertani Domanis group of wineries, which San Leonino belongs to. The first bottle of Chianti Classico was sold in 1973. Today, San Leonino spans a total surface area of 100 hectares, 52 of which are vineyards and 6 of olive groves. The farm is in the municipality of Cas-tellina in Chianti, near the small Medieval village which surrounds the Romanesque church of San Leonino, where the name and logo come from (which is the stylised reproduction of the top section of the bell tower). 


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2016 Fessina Etna Bianco 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

Erse is the blended Etna Bianco from Fessina, though this vintage carries a little less cattaratto than previously, meaning it's led by the Etnean native Carricante, and it shows. This is led by its minerals, all about the fresh acidity and the vibrant citrus fruits while belying its origins of Etna's Eastern part with a classic salty twang

90% Carricante, 10% Catarratto & Minella, from the Cavaliere, Caselle, Rinazzo, and Volpare vineyards in Milo (Eastern Etna), 900-1000m ASL, 9 months in stainless, 3 months in bottle before release, diam

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2015 Fessina Etna Bianco 'A'Puddara'

Etna, Sicily, IT

A’Puddara is a unique vineyard, not quite the highest of Fessina’s Carricante vineyards but the most sheltered, and not quite the oldest vines but the most productive. Year after year, it has produced mesmerising wines which compete with the best being made anywhere else in Italy. My notes about this vintage are much less about the fruit than those from the publications (more savoury, herbaceous and salty), however I did believe that the 2015 was all the better for it.

100% Carricante from the 100 y/o A’Puddara vineyard in Milo (Southern Etna), 900m ASL, 48 hours on skins, ferment and ageing in used French Oak botti for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, 6,000 bottles made, cork

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2015 Fessina Etna Rosato 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

Following somewhat of an obsession for rosé wines worldwide, it made sense that the replantings and new vineyards at Fessina would be used to craft a rosé from Etna. Although the DOC law states that solely red grapes are allowed, I have it on good authority that a good portion of the blend is Carricante (shh), and although this is completely unofficial, it does create a compelling reason as to why this should be the norm. This is not only a good Etna Rosato, it is one of the finest young Etna wines you will taste…

85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Cappuccio from Rovitello (Northern Etna), 670m ASL, saignee, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 6 months, bottle for 6 months before release, 3,200 bottles made, diam

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2015 Fessina Etna Rosso 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

A masterpiece of Etnean winemaking, one of those rare wines which is able to show power and elegance all wrapped up in a red-fruited box. This is Nerello Mascalese at its finest, its rawest (stainless steel only) and its most versatile. I think you could drink this with just about anything, or nothing at all

85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Cappuccio from Rovitello (Northern Etna), 750m ASL, 10 days on skins, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, diam

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2011 Fessina Etna Rosso 'Il Musmeci'

Etna, Sicily, IT

2011 was a wonderful vintage for Etna. In many ways it reflected the vintages had in other parts of Italy but was punctuated with some excellent rainfall in September before the fruit was fully ripened. This was especially good for the Nerello Mascalese, which is harvested closer to the end of October, and it instilled freshness and life into the grapes which were ripening fairly quickly. Il Musmeci is not only the reserve wine of Tenuta di Fessina, but undoubtedly one of the most serious Etna Rosso wines produced by anyone in the area. It sits in a gorgeous middle ground (weight, perfume and structure-wise) between Barbaresco and Burgundy, with its own Etnean qualities layered on for good measure. I would happily show this in any tasting of the world’s great red wines

100% Nerello Mascalese from the 110 y/o Musmeci vineyard, Rovitello (Northern Etna), 790m ASL, 14 days on skins, ferment and ageing in French Oak barrique and Slavonian Botti for 18 months, bottle for 12 months before release, 10,000 bottles made, cork

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2014 Fessina Nero d'Avola 'Ero'

Noto, Sicily, IT

While recognition continues to grow for the volcano wines, Sicilian wine’s reputation has been largely built off the native Nero d’Avola. In complete contrast to Nerello Mascalese which prefers a long, slow growing season in the cooler, higher altitude parts, Nero d’Avola’s home is the coastal town of Avola and its surrounding denominations. The fruit for this pristine example comes from Fessina’s own vineyard in Val di Noto, on the South-Eastern Sicilian coast at next to no altitude, right by the sea. Dry grown bush vines in sparse, sandy soil give birth to fragrant, perfumed Nero d’Avola that reflects the elegance of the Etna reds of this estate but with a chubbier fruit weight and slipperier tannin profile. Regardless, this will change your attitude to Nero in the best way possible

100% Nero d’Avola from Noto (Southern Sicily), 40-50m ASL, 14 days on skins, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, diam