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February 17, 2014

Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2010

Fontodi

‘Fontodi’s Giovanni Manetti has released one of the top Italian wines of 2010. His Flaccianello della Pieve (assembled from the best parcels of Sangiovese) is an expression of profound beauty and elegance.’Monica Larner.

Fontodi is a Tuscan powerhouse! Its famous Flaccianello is one of the most central and important single varietal Super Tuscans, a standout wine that vies with Le Pergole Torte. The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese, eponymously named after the vineyard Flaccianello della Pieve. In 2010 they made possibly their greatest ever wine, trumping their superlative 2006 which scored 97 points and already costs £470 for a six bottle case! Their Chianti Classico provides unflinching consistency and one of the most reliable Chianti’s on the market, generally scoring above 90 points and releasing at £12.50 per bottle in bond. As such Fontodi is one of Chianti’s masters at each end of the fine wine spectrum and we are delighted to release both wines of the truly great 2010 vintage.

Their vineyards are located near Panzano, the viticulural epicentre of Chianti and a place close to my heart for its staggering beauty. The vineyards benefit from their position in a naturally occuring amphitheatre, known locally as Conca d‘Oro (the golden shell), with a southern facing aspect and superb marl soil, which aids in water retention throughout the warm summers. Taken together these conditions fashion grapes with wonderful sugar and tannin potential. The marl soil, elevation and great drainage allow the owners Marco and Giovanni Manetti along with the winemaker Franco Bernabei to harvest grapes with almost perfect ripeness and balance. Marco and Giovanni are brothers and cousins of the original visionaries of the Manetti family who founded Fontodi in 1969, a vineyard that heralds back to the 8th century.

Fontodi’s Flaccianello is assembled from their very best parcels of Sangiovese and like Querciabella is known for adhering to biodynamic principles in order to maximise fruit vigour. Fermentation and maceration is undertaken for 25 days in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. They use the punching down method, with the temperature reaching 30° in order to extract natural power, finesse and tannic structure. Once they are happy with the extraction, the wines are racked in 100% new French oak, leaving no expense spared, where the wine remains for 24 months.

Simply Flacianello is one of the greatest wines to come out of Tuscany and has achieved the status as a leading light in Italy. The wine is recognised for its supreme elegance, intensity and capacity for bottle age. In its youth it displays dark cherry, plums, violets, and intoxicating sweet spice flavours of cinnamon with a delightful savoury character, enveloping chocolate, tobacco and almond. With age it resonates the very best of Sagniovese, taking on notes of liquorice, smokiness, rosemary and flavours that turn my head; porcini mushroom and truffle.

The advantage of an estate investing in the very best technology and winemaking practices to achieve a great wine is that these habits pass down into their other wines and this paradigm is certainly true with the Chianti Classico. The grapes are taken from the same Conca d‘Oro vineyard and achieve similar ripeness. Following the aforementioned viniculture techniques the Classico is then racked in 225 litre French oak barrels, using a percentage of the barrels taken from the Flaccianello, where they remain for 12 months.  If you buy a Chianti Classico this year our advice is that it should be Fontodi, at £17.40 with duty and Vat paid, one could challenge anyone to find a better example of the world famous DOCG Chianti Classico!