Ah, springtime in Italy. It’s that window of the year where Vespa-saddled adventurers in the Tuscan countryside don’t sweat from blazing summer heat nor tremble from winter’s icebox. It’s stunning weather, even better scenery and, of course, some of the best vino you’ve ever had the fortune of staining your teeth with.
Primavera Italiana is also the time of year where both reds and whites go well with the Tuscan climate. You’re not going to find the maniac fruit bombs of California zinfandels here. The snow-loving Gewürztraminer? Forget it. Instead, you’ll be getting into some rustic, herb-driven flavors that have been perfected over a long legacy of winemaking. A sip (or gulp) of history, if you will.
Under the Tuscan sun
The very essence of Tuscan wine is Chianti Classico. A sub-region of Chianti that sits just south of Florence, Chianti Classico carries the flag of historic Italian wine. And it’s highly regulated. You’ll know by the rooster accompanying its labels that it’s the good shit. And by that I mean you’ll be drinking a government-mandated 75%+ Sangiovese (at least) and some other flagship reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot thrown in there. Anything produced outside of the Chianti Classico neighborhood: no rooster for you.
Picture yourself on the roof of a 17th century home, overlooking the rolling hills of Siena. It’s late afternoon – you’re aching for some Classico and the perfect jams to go with it. Let’s go:
Pop the cork out of a 2013 Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico. This 100% Sangiovese is full of ripe, forest fruit on the tongue and spice on the nose. The balance of its fruit and tannins gives off elegance that is pure Tuscany – the ideal choice for drinking in, literally and figuratively, your surroundings. The 2013 is tasting really well now and should be for the next couple of years.
The Fèlsina brand is highly revered as a Chianti Classico producer. The family took over the estate in the mid-60’s when Italian wine production was in a lull. The land, however, has been producing wine for 1,000+ years, which allowed the family to bring its storied flavor back into the deserved limelight. Fèlsina has perfected the art of squeezing genuine Italy out of an exclusively Sangiovese-driven Chianti Classico.
Siena bathed in light
Oklahoma-bred Other Lives will suit the occasion nicely. Their sultry, atmospheric vibe provides a solid soundtrack for almost any chill time. Blend with the twilight beaming against the backdrop of Siena’s resplendent buildings and those rolling Tuscan hills – you’ll enhance that experience tenfold. And with Fèlsina’s superb take on Chianti Classico? Supreme bliss.
The Other Lives sound can often times feel haunting as well. Matched with seductive undertones and, to me, you have the Italian aesthetic at its core: sexy, transcendental and rich in history.
I suggest going right for their 2015 release, Rituals. A couple of tracks, 2 Pyramids & Reconfiguration, are standouts but the album in its entirety should be ingested in parallel with your Berardenga Chianti Classico.
Even if you can’t make it to Siena in the near future, flipping on Other Lives with your 2013 Fèlsina deliciousness will quickly transport you there. At the very least, you’ll get to enjoy some stellar Italian vino and therapeutic melody to go with it. Cheers!
(Featured image courtesy of Emily Ulmer)