Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2020  £134.90

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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 2020 vintage saw a drop in the production of at least 10% compared to 2019: a natural reduction mainly linked to the cold nights in early April which impacted the budding stage of the vines. A cool spring was followed by a long, hot summer, with good day-night temperature variation alongside rain in June and September allowing the grapes to complete their maturation perfectly while maintaining crisp acidity. At the harvest the grapes were perfectly healthy and ripe producing wines with great structure, richness and balance.

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.

96 Points -

The 2020 Flaccianello della Pieve is the full package. This point is clear when you taste all the other wines in the Fontodi portfolio and conclude with this bottle. This organic Sangiovese shows beautiful intensity and remains balanced throughout with dark fruit, crushed stone, spice and wild rose. It borrows themes of elegance, depth and ripeness played across this vintage. The wine wraps smoothly over the palate with substantial fruit weight and sweet tannins. This warm-vintage expression can be aged or enjoyed straight out of the gate.

Monica Larner

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