Fontodi Vineyards

~ The Fontodi Vineyards enjoy some of the best exposure in Panzano. Here they run up the slopes of the Conca d’Oro ~

There are few producers as dedicated to quality as Fontodi.  From severe grape selection to bottling by the phases of the moon, nothing goes unnoticed by Giovanni Manetti’s team.  The resulting wines consistently bear this out and the subject of today’s article is no exception.

I chronicled a few of these principles in an earlier article that I should have titled “Battling the Wench” but nevertheless, the commitment to quality is unmistakable.

Fontodi is both fully organic and biodynamic. Since 1968, the Manetti family has run this exceptional property which extends for over 130 hectares; 80 of which are planeted to vineyards.  Manetti is devoted to Sangiovese. Almost 95% of his vineyards are covered by the quintessential Tuscan grape.  Giovanni cherishes his corner of Panzano. He told me believes that the “land is a gift, from God and nature and that he has a moral obligation, a duty, to cherish and honor what the land provides.

Fontodi wine cellars

~ Fontodi employs many different size barrels in producing their iconic wines. In recent years, Manetti has begun experimenting with Amphora. ~

For today’s article, we dug deeply into the cellar to retrieve a wonderfully mature Riserva.  The 2008 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Riserva is an exceptional Sangiovese.   Produced from vines that average 40 years of age and benefit from optimal south-west exposure, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and then transferred to French barriques for 24 months; 50% of which are new.

Despite its age, the wine is a youthful deep garnet color with violet reflections.  There is virtually no lightening at the rim of the bowl.  We did not decant the wine and although it did not need it “aromatically”,  I would do so next time because the wine contains a substantial sediment.

On the nose, the aromas are simply gorgeous.  Roses, lavender, crushed berry, leather, tobacco and toast are complex and intricately woven together. I adore this!  On the palate, the wine is equally impressive.  Elegantly framed with toast, leather and cured meats, the core of bright and lively cherry fruit is medium to full bodied.  Smooth and velvety across the mid-palate, this glides with wonderful freshness and aristocratic finesse.  There is nothing not to like here.  95 points.  About $75 if you search.   Find this wine.

2008 was an underrated but not a weak vintage.  Yet still, choosing “producer over vintage” is a wise catch-phrase to remember here.  While this wine is expensive, it is substantially less than Vigna del Sorbos from better regarded vintages.  I would happily drink this wine over and over and frankly, you can continue cellaring this if you like.

Fontodi wine in a glass

~ Vigna del Sorbo, then a Chianti Classico Riserva, is now a Gran Selezione but it has always been 100% Sangiovese ~

We paired the wine with my latest pasta recipe: Boscaiola and needless to say, the combination was wonderful.


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