Fontodi, 'Vigna del Sorbo' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2017
The Manetti family has owned Fontodi since 1968 but has been in Chianti for centuries. Though they have always made wine, their primary business is still the production of Chianti's finest terracotta at their factory in Ferrone. Giovanni Manetti has run the property since 1980 and ensures the wines are as meticulously made as the vineyards are immaculately tended. Their 90 hectares of vineyard, 90% of which are Sangiovese, are situated in the prime 'Conca d'Oro' (golden shell) of Panzano, and have been converted to organic viticulture. Giovanni is now following biodynamic principles to obtain the best quality fruit.
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.
The 2017 vintage was one of quality over quantity, with yields on average 20% lower than in 2016. An unusual late spring frost caused the reduction in yield. However, these lower yields proved advantageous during the summer when the vines were better able to cope with the hot and dry conditions and didn't suffer water stress. Rain in the first few weeks of September gave the vines the necessary boost to get through the final stages of the grape ripening process and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality, with great concentration of flavour and fine tannins.
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 bottle in the Fontodi cellars for six months before release.
The wine is deep ruby red in colour, with perfumes of sour cherry and plums leading to notes of leather and tobacco. It has great depth of flavour, with juicy fruit and supple tannins, giving way to a silky-smooth texture. It has a great structure and finishes with a fine mineral note.