Fontodi Chianti Classico 01-25-13By
Ever since I started in the wine industry I have been enamored with the wines from Fontodi. From my very first glass, I have thought their wines to be the benchmark of what Chianti could be, especially under the direction (at least in the early days) of superstar consultant Franco Bernabei.
The 130 acre estate (70 planted) is located just south of the town of Panzano, right in the heart of the Classico region with calcareous-clay-schist soils at higher elevation & today organically farmed.
It has taken over 30 years to finally get some of their wine (at least legally) to Hawaii.
2009 Chianti Classico
While the current website simply states the grape mix to be Sangiovese, I remember in the old days there was also some Canaiolo Nera & Colorino included. Regardless of what the grape mix actually is, this is a gorgeous, classy Chianti Classico, with dried cherries, autumn leaves, sandalwood nuances, a plentitude of Sangiovese fruit, a solid, stoic frame & wonderful perfume.
2009 Chianti Classico Riserva “Vigna del Sorbo”
In the past I have found many Chianti Riserva wines to be too dried out for my taste. That has changed over the years, but quite candidly too many still don’t really catch my fancy, especially for the price tag. I am one of those crazy people who thinks one of the most enjoyable characteristics of the Sangiovese grape variety is how wonderfully food friendly it can be. So, here is a wine which delivers on both levels……a fascinating, innately complex red, with an inner core of gorgeous, lively fruit, layering & structure (90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from a hilltop vineyard) which still is very food friendly. ( I, in fact, find this is a wonderful companion with the roast chicken with Tuscan beans we serve in VINO).
Produced from 100% Sangiovese from their best cuvees of the vintage, here is Fontodi’s flagship wine & one of Tuscany’s most prestigious Super-Tuscans, since the category emerged onto the world stage. It has taken me some time to really warm up to the Super-Tuscan schtick. Especially in the beginning, I found many of the wines to be overdone, often too pricey for what was actually in the bottle & in many cases quite UN-Italian. I, however, greatly applauded the supreme effort of trying to raise the over all quality in Tuscanywith this category spearheading the way. Judging by tasting the ’09, 07 & 06 Flaccianello on this day, let’s just say the wines are fabulous….elegant, refined, classy, sophisticated & thankfully still VERY Italian. Bravo!