Fontodi Chianti Classico 2019  £27.39

Only 3 In Stock750ml Red Wine
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The Manetti family has owned Fontodi since 1968 but has been in Chianti for centuries, producing the finest terracotta at their factory in Ferrone. The same attention to detail on their terracotta has been brought to bear on Fontodi over the past 50 years, transforming a crumbling farmhouse with a few hectares of vineyard into one of Chianti Classico’s most impressive estates.

Giovanni Manetti has run the property since 1980 and ensures the wines are as meticulously made as the vineyards and cellar are both immaculately tended. Giovanni’s 90 hectares of vineyard, 90% of which are Sangiovese, are situated in the prime ‘conca d‘oro’ (golden shell) of Panzano, giving wines of supreme elegance, intensity and longevity. The south-facing vineyards and natural amphitheatre allow the grapes to ripen fully, while the altitude ensures cool nights for good acidity retention and lovely aromatics. Soils here allow for excellent drainage, encouraging the vines to reach deep with their roots. Giovanni has converted to organic viticulture and is now following biodynamic principles to obtain the best quality fruit.

In the winery, his approach is similarly non-interventionist (very low toast oak, for example) to ensure that the quality of the fruit is preserved in the finished wine. Giovanni’s Chianti Classico always shows great depth and intensity, while maintaining balance. The ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ Gran Selezione is intensely concentrated. Previously containing a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, in 2012 Giovanni decided the Sangiovese needed no further supplement. ‘Flaccianello’, made with the estate’s best Sangiovese, is fast becoming one of Italy’s most sought-after wines. It is powerful, fleshy and ages beautifully. The ‘Dino’ is made with 100% Sangiovese and remains for 12 months on its skins without sulphites in orci (amphorae) made at the Manetti terracotta factory. The orci rest in the cellar at the ambient temperature of 14°C and 80% humidity, perfect conditions for very slow evolution. Giovanni now uses amphorae to vinify a small percentage of all his red wines, including his Sauvignon Blanc, ‘Meriggio’. The Vin Santo is voluptuous and nutty, as beautifully made as to their outstanding olive oils. Following years of work on quality olive oil production, Giovanni Manetti has released a new monovarietal olive oil to enhance the quality of Corregiolo.

Fontodi's 90 hectares of south-facing vineyards sit at 450 metres above sea level in the Conca d'Oro (the 'golden shell'), an amphitheatre-shaped valley to the south of Panzano. Well-draining 'Scaglia Toscana' soils are made up of a mixture of Galestro (clay schist) and Alberese (limestone) and encourage the vines to grow deep roots. The Sangiovese used for the Fontodi Chianti Classico come predominantly from 10-year-old, guyot-trained vines, with a proportion of fruit from the same 25-year-old vines which produce the 'Flaccianello'. The quality of the Sangiovese grapes from the Fontodi vineyards obviates the need for Merlot or other varieties as a remedial blender.

2019 winter was mild, with cold temperatures between January and February. Spring started with rainfall and a sharp drop in temperature until the end of May, putting a strain on vegetative growth. The climate improved with the beginning of summer and therefore flowering, fruit set and veraison were good, and light rainfall helped the vines to deal with the water shortage. August was characterised by cool nights, good daytime breezes and some light showers. By harvest time, the temperatures had risen, but only for a few days: September was marked by dry, breezy, mild days which brought the grapes to full and balanced ripeness.

After picking, the grapes were carried to the Fontodi winery and carefully selected on sorting tables. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts and lasted for around two weeks. After fermentation, the wine was racked into 225-litre French oak barriques, a mixture of Tronçais and Allier, where it underwent malolactic fermentation and remained for 18 months. It then spent an additional six months in second-use barriques before bottling. Finally, the wine matured in bottles in the Fontodi cellars for six months before release.

This wine is a deep ruby red in colour. On the nose, it has aromas of sour cherry and plums leading to notes of leather and tobacco. On the palate, it has great depth of flavour, with juicy fruit and supple tannins giving way to a silky-smooth texture. This Chianti Classico has a superb structure and finishes with a fine mineral note.

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