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Chianti Classico, Fontodi 2018

Red Wine from Italy - Central Italy -Tuscany, Umbria
Stunning textbook Chianti Classico from an excellent vintage for this part of Italy and top producer. This has cherry, cranberry, cedar and spice notes, firm but balanced tannins and excellent lift and freshness on the medium body. Decanting is recommended to really allow the perfume to open up to show this wine's charm and evident class.
Price: £21.00 Bottle
Price: £252.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: IT32801

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Sangiovese
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2028
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Central Italy

The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot...
The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot which are now permitted.

Other great wines from Tuscany are Brunello di Montalcino (‘brunello’ being a very localised clone of sangiovese, and the only permitted grape), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (from the town of Montepulciano and nothing to do with the montepulciano grape; Vino Nobile is again made from sangiovese) and the so-called Supertuscan blends of several grape varieties, some of which are not permitted under DOC rules in areas such as Brunello. The most famous of these Supertuscans are Sassicaia and Ornellaia, both of which are essentially Bordeaux -style blends from Bolgheri close to the Tuscan coast in the west. The region, partly with the impetus of these regulation bucking blends, has been a driving force in improving quality in the region and consequently across Italy.

Umbria to the south of Tuscany has developed an impressive reputation for its wines, such as the aromatic, tannic but delicious sagrantino from vineyards around Montefalco. Here too sangiovese is widely grown, making impressive Torgiano and blends together with varieties like merlot and cabernet. Higher ground in the north is cooler than the southern zone. Orvieto lies almost between the two in the west of Umbria. The wines of Orvieto are beginning to find their feet once more after decades of underperformance now that many growers are focussing on the grechetto grape that had once been ubiquitous but which had been pushed aside by the higher cropping but far less interesting procanico (aka trebbiano Toscano).

Lazio is the region around Rome which is struggling to creep out from the shadow of the dull wines that historically fed the thirst of a ready market in the Eternal City. Basically, there was too little incentive to change. Now there are a number of producers working hard to make Frascati of real character by improving their clones and their methods and by lowering yields.

Across the Apennines from Umbria is Le Marche with its mountainous national parks and sunny Adriatic coast. The best white wines are the two verdicchios, dei Castelli di Jesi and di Matelica, with the latter making the more characterful examples from its higher altitudes. Pecorino grapes from zones to the south produce fruity, interesting white wines with real potential to rival the best verdicchio. Reds are improving all the time, including Rosso Piceno (sangiovese with montepulciano) and Rosso Conero (montepulciano).

North of Le Marche is the region around foodie Bologna, Emilia-Romagna. Home to Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar, the region has not developed a similarly impressive canon of wines to rival its reputation for fine foods. Much is unimpressive but the best sangiovese di Romagna from south-east of Bologna can be excellent, and as with elsewhere in Italy there are a growing number of growers and winemakers intent on improvement. The wine best known to British consumers is Lambrusco. Sadly the association many will have is with sweetened characterless froth from the 1970s and 1980s but the Lambrusco drunk by the Bolognese is very different and we are starting to see its appetising acidity and bracing bite, designed to accompany the salty hams, tangy cheeses and rich meat sauces of its home region, reach the UK.

As with Le Marche the vineyards of Abruzzo are squeezed between the great mass of the Apennines and the Adriatic, and the mountains have influenced the character of the Abruzzese and their food. To match their hearty dishes they drink montepulciano d’Abruzzo, invariably gutsy and full of lively red fruits and a Society wine of many years standing. Rosés such as Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo are also becoming increasingly well known for their value and constantly improving quality when growers lower yields and winemakers take them seriously. Further south is the little known Molise region where montepulciano, aglianico and trebbiano grapes make characterful, rustic reds and whites. The Biferno DOC was created in the 1980s and there are producers here who are making some very promising examples.
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Fontodi

The Fontodi estate is found in Panzano in the heart of the Chianti Classico region where vines have been cultivated since Roman times. Its owners since 1968, the Manetti family also have many centuries of history here, not as wine producers but as manufacturers of the terracotta tiles for which the region is also famous. Since they bought this great estate they have invested much time, effort and money in making it one of the most highly regarded of all Chianti Classico producers.

The Fontodi vineyards, now fully mature, are centred on the magnificently placed conca d’oro (golden shell), an amphitheatre of sun-soaked vineyards to the south-west of the village of Panzano. Lying at 400m above sea level, which is relatively high for Chianti, they are well placed to ensure that that the fruit has fresh, balancing acidity to balance its richness. The grapes are all organically grown, as is increasingly the case with neighbouring growers in Panzano, thanks to the pioneering Manettis’ powers of persuasion.

Currently in charge is Giovanni Manetti helped by his cousin Marco and respected oenologist Franco Bernabei who was hired by the family to assist with winemaking. Together the trio has been active in upgrading many practices at Fontodi including the construction of an ultra-modern winery and barrel cellar. All the wines are aged in French oak for between 12-24 months with the best cuvées aged in a high percentage of new oak and the second wines going into the older barrels.
The Fontodi estate is found in Panzano in the heart of the Chianti Classico region where vines have been cultivated since Roman times. Its owners since 1968, the Manetti family also have many centuries of history here, not as wine producers but as manufacturers of the terracotta tiles for which the region is also famous. Since they bought this great estate they have invested much time, effort and money in making it one of the most highly regarded of all Chianti Classico producers.

The Fontodi vineyards, now fully mature, are centred on the magnificently placed conca d’oro (golden shell), an amphitheatre of sun-soaked vineyards to the south-west of the village of Panzano. Lying at 400m above sea level, which is relatively high for Chianti, they are well placed to ensure that that the fruit has fresh, balancing acidity to balance its richness. The grapes are all organically grown, as is increasingly the case with neighbouring growers in Panzano, thanks to the pioneering Manettis’ powers of persuasion.

Currently in charge is Giovanni Manetti helped by his cousin Marco and respected oenologist Franco Bernabei who was hired by the family to assist with winemaking. Together the trio has been active in upgrading many practices at Fontodi including the construction of an ultra-modern winery and barrel cellar. All the wines are aged in French oak for between 12-24 months with the best cuvées aged in a high percentage of new oak and the second wines going into the older barrels.

Whilst always looking forward and modernising Giovanni Manetti is a respecter of tradition, evident in a portfolio of stylish wines that unmistakably reflect their sense of place. They include Chianti Classico, the Riserva bottling Vigna del Sorbo has now been designated as Gran Selezione, Chianti's recent classification above Riserva, and is predominantly old-vine sangiovese with around 10% cabernet sauvignon, and Flaccianello della Pieve, made from pure sangiovese, rigorously selected.
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