Fontodi, Panzano, Tuscany
Alongside wineries such as Rocca di Montegrossi, Castillo di Ama and Isole e Olena, Fontodi is one of Tuscany’s finest estates, consistently producing wines of exceptional quality, year in, year out. Their organic, 130-hectare estate, of which 70 hectares are under vine, is located in the hills south of the town of Panzano, right in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, and sited in a valley called “Conca d’Oro” (the golden shell) because of its amphitheatre shape. The combination of altitude, the fantastic terroir and diurnal temperature range make this region ideal for growing high-quality wine. It was in a poor state when first acquired by Domiziano and Dino Manetti in 1968, but they immediately set about replanting the vineyards and renovating and modernising the winery, since when they have never looked back.
The estate is now run by Marco and Giovanni Manetti, ably assisted by winemaker Franco Bernabei. Fontodi’s Chianti Classico is beautifully made, a traditional blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo aged in large oak barrels, and never lets one down. Their Gran Selezione ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ is 100% Sangiovese and aged in Tronçais and Allier oak barrels (50% new, but with minimal toasting) for 24 months; it’s a beautifully crafted wine, complex, balanced and, I think, very good value. Their flagship wine, ‘Flaccianello della Pieve’, is also 100% Sangiovese and treated in much the same way as the ‘Sorbo’, but selected from the best plots. It is a fabulous wine: once tried, never forgotten.
Price is per case 6 x 75cl, inclusive of VAT. Wine is due to land in two weeks time, all wines offered subject to remaining available. Delivery is charged on orders under £200. E & OE
5% Discount on 2 cases or more.
2019 `Meriggio` Sauvignon Blanc – £137.70
With a few notable exceptions, Tuscany isn’t somewhere I go to for white wines, as they can so often lack the freshness and balance that I like. Meriggio, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Trebbiano fermented in amphorae, is something of an exception and I’d happily drink a chilled glass or six in the Tuscan sunshine any day of the week. Quite delightful.
Fontodi’s Meriggio is absolutely beautiful in 2019. Sauvignon aromatics lead into notes of apricot, mint, chamomile and wild flowers. Drink this vibrant, polished Sauvignon/Trebbiano blend over the next 2-3 years. 90 pts Drinking window: 2020 – 2023 Antonio Galloni. Tasting date: August 2020
2017 Chianti Classico – £161.70
As Galloni mentions below, this Chianti is much more refined than it would have been all those years ago when I first started tasting and selling Fontodi’s wine, and I welcome it with open arms. Good value, stylish.
The 2017 Chianti Classico Fontodi is a wine of extreme elegance that shows how much the house style has evolved here. A decade ago, in a warm year the Fontodi Chianti Classico would have been opulent, but these days proprietor Giovanni Manetti seeks finesse more than power, and that is exactly what comes through here. Ripe red Sangiovese fruit, rose petal, blood orange and spice infuse this racy, exotic Chianti Classico with so much character. The 2017 spent two years in oak, half in cask and half in neutral oak. I loved it. 94 pts Drinking window: 2022 – 2037 Antonio Galloni. Tasting date: August 2020
2017 ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – £270
Like a top, serious Bordeaux, only better value, this requires some time but, oh, how one is rewarded.
The 2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is a dense, packed wine. It is also surprisingly, almost shockingly backward. That is probably a good thing for its long-term aging prospects. Readers hoping to get an early glimpse into the 2017 before it shuts down may have a hard time doing that, as today acids and tannin dominate. I expect the 2017 will be stellar in another 4-5 years and drink well to age 25-30 if not longer. Proprietor Giovanni Manetti gave the 2017 18 months in barrique followed by 6 months in cask. 96+ pts Drinking window: 2027 – 2042 Antonio Galloni. Tasting date: August 20
2017 `Flaccianello della Pieve` – £660
The fact that this wine consistently scores high nineties or one hundred points probably says enough, and all I can add is that if you’re thinking of splashing out on some I can guarantee you’ll think it worth the money when you broach the first bottle.
The 2017 Flaccianello della Pieve is fabulous. Dark, sensual and enveloping, the 2017 captures the essence of the house style in its textural richness and baritone inflections. Black cherry, plum, spice, new leather, licorice and chocolate infuse the 2017 with tremendous richness. The 2017 spent 18 months in barrique followed by 6 months in cask, the same aging regime as the Vigna del Sorbo, but with a bit more new oak. That approach worked very well, as the Flaccianello stands out for its exceptional textural elegance and finesse. It is a positively stellar wine. 97 pts Drinking window: 2025 – 2042 Antonio Galloni. Tasting date: August 2020