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Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2019 £129.81
Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve
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.
The Fontodi estate has 90 hectares of vineyards, all of which are farmed organically and found in the Conca d'Oro, an amphitheatre-shaped valley to the south of Panzano. This shape facilitates the full ripening of the grapes. Flaccianello is made from a selection of the best grapes from the best parts of the Fontodi vineyards, located on the top of a hill at 480 metres of altitude. The soil here is classic 'galestro', the schistous clay on which the Sangiovese grape produces its best results.
The 2019 vintage started off with a mild winter and spring, allowing for normal budburst. The rainfall towards the end of spring created strong water reserves for the summer. May and June were slightly cooler and drier than average, creating a slight delay in the vines vegetation cycle, compared to previous years. Summer was consistently hot, without any anomalies. The dry ripening period was followed by good weather in September with considerable diurnal range, resulting in grapes with perfectly ripe phenolics. Harvest started on September 25th and ended on October 17th.
After picking, the grapes were carried to the Fontodi winery and carefully selected on sorting tables. Fermentation and maceration lasted for two weeks in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. The cap was punched down twice a day during fermentation, which reached a maximum temperature of 30ºC. The wine was then racked into 80% new French oak barriques for 18 months before being blended and moved to a mixture of large oak casks for another six months prior to bottling.
This Sangiovese is bright, ruby red in colour. On the nose, aromas of ripe dark cherries, violets and plums, complemented by a hint of spice. This wine has wonderful structure and the palate is typically rich and full complemented by racy acidity and characteristically fine, supple tannins. The finish is flavourful and persistent.
98 Points - RobertParker.com
The 2019 Flaccianello della Pieve is another stunning wine that sums up the character of the vintage and reflects the sun-drenched beauty of its quintessentially Tuscan surroundings. Giovanni Manetti and his team have two new important wines in the works, but Flaccianello remains an old love and a wine that hits the highest marks for quality consistency vintage after vintage. I tasted this wine next to the 100-point 2016 vintage for friendly comparison, and perhaps the main difference is that the tannins are finer and more accessible in this bottle. It offers rich concentration and layers of dark fruit that wrap thickly over the senses. Tannin management is an active pursuit. Time in barrique has been reduced over the years in favor of a final six-month resting period in larger oak casks. In fact, the barrel room was recently enlarged to give more room to these bigger vessels. The 2019 vintage recalls the balance of 2001 with the freshness of 2013. However, 2019 is more profound.