Very little can go wrong when you start with organic grapes sourced from Tuscany’s illustrious Val d’Orica region, add in a dedicated proprietor in Giovanni Manetti and then give the reins to the likes of Franco Bernabei.  It’s a winning formula, and for this venerable Tuscan estate in Panzano, success almost seems a foregone conclusion.
Despite having tasted most of Fontodi’s offerings over the past few years at various press and trade events,  I hadn’t had the chance to fully enjoy a bottle of red from this estate in a relaxing atmosphere.  It was good to catch up. 
The 2009 Fontodi Chianti Classico is a wonderful bottle of red wine.  It’s classy, elegant and although it displays a medium body, it comes off as somewhat restrained.  In the glass it’s a deep blackish red with almost purple highlights. Decanted for 60 minutes, this Chianti displays aromas of red cherry, soft earth, herb and vanilla notes.  Maybe these are just slightly muted.  On the palate, the wine is juicy and ripe with a solid, medium bodied core of berry laced fruit. In the background are notes of earth, mushroom and old barrels.  This is very good Chianti Classico and toes a fine line between traditional and modern.  The 2009 is made from 100% Sangiovese and barrique aged for 18 months in French oak. The wine ages for at least 6 months in bottle before release.  91 points.  $35.

~ Giovanni Manetti ~
My complaint here – and this will be up to the reader and their own value judgements as to whether such pause is valid – is that this wine is simply not a good value.  I’ve tasted dozens of 2009 Chianti Classico at press and trade events and enjoyed many more bottles at home with meals.  I’ve reported on many here and none of them come close to $35 retail.  The quality is there in many cases:  Monteraponi, Fontalpino, Castello di Bossi,  Felsina, Villa Cafaggio, Isole e Olena… there is nothing “cheap” or second rate about these producers, yet there wine is priced within the $15-$20 range.  It simply isn’t necessary to spend $35 on a delicious Chianti Classico.  The Fontodi is delicious.  But I can’t agree that it’s twice as good as some other comparable wines.  That’s my gripe. 

~ The delicious 2009 Chianti Classico from Fontodi.  100% Sangiovese ~


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