We are delighted to offer one of our most perennially popular new releases, the spectacular wines of Fontodi. Fontodi is a Tuscan powerhouse, its famous Flaccianello is one of the most central and important single varietal Super Tuscans, a stand out wine that vies with Le Pergole Torte and Tignanello. Today we are offering first tranche allocations of Flaccianello 2011 and the Estate’s Chianti Classico 2011. I tasted at the Estate earlier this summer and the wines are truly magnificent. Flaccianello is a gem, if you ask the leading winemakers of the region which is their favourite other producer/wine, the answer is Fontodi Flaccianello, in turn their Chianti Classico is held in such high esteem that they order it in restaurants and consume it at home. In my opinion, despite its renown, it is one of the most undervalued wines the world over.  Flaccianello is made from 100% Sangiovese, eponymously named after the vineyard Flaccianello della Pieve. The combination of the terrior and attention to detail throughout the wine making process has led to accolades such as three appearances in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the Year in seven years and aggregate critic scores that compete with Bordeaux’s First Growths. Flacianello has a maximum output of 5,000 cases a year and allocations are highly sought after.

The 2011 Tuscan vintage has been evaluated by the world’s leading critics and they are in agreement that it is another triumph for the globally sought after Super Tuscans and top Chianti Classicos. A heatwave in August led to the harvest beginning three weeks earlier than normal. The diligence and state of the art facilities at Fontodi led to wines of astounding concentration and classic structure. We have tasted the Flaccianello and Chianti Classico 2011 a few times over recent months, Flaccianello 2011 is a triumph, awarded 94 and 95 points from Antonio Galloni and James Suckling respectively, while the Chianti Classico proliferates and abounds the senses.

Their vineyards are located near Panzano, the viticulural epicentre of Chianti and a place close to my heart for its staggering beauty. The vineyards benefit from their position in a naturally occurring amphitheatre, known locally as Conca d‘Oro (the golden shell), with a southern facing aspect and superb marl soil, which aids in water retention throughout the warm summers. Taken together, these conditions fashion grapes with wonderful sugar and tannin potential. The marl soil, elevation and great drainage allow the owners Marco and Giovanni Manetti along with the winemaker Franco Bernabei to harvest grapes with almost perfect ripeness and balance. Marco and Giovanni are brothers and cousins of the original visionaries of the Manetti family who founded Fontodi in 1969, a vineyard that heralds back to the 8th century.

Fontodi’s Flaccianello is assembled from their very best parcels of Sangiovese and like Querciabella is known for adhering to biodynamic principles in order to maximise fruit vigour. Fermentation and maceration are undertaken for 25 days in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. They use the punching down method, with the temperature reaching 30° in order to extract natural power, finesse and tannic structure. Once they are happy with the extraction, the wines are racked in 100% new French oak, leaving no expense spared, where it wine remains for 24 months.

Simply Flacianello is one of the greatest wines to come out of Tuscany and has achieved the status as a leading light in Italy. The wine is recognised for its supreme elegance, intensity and capacity for bottle age. In its youth it displays dark cherry, plums, violets, and intoxicating sweet spice flavours of cinnamon with a delightful savoury character, enveloping chocolate, tobacco and almond. With age it resonates the very best of Sangniovese, taking on notes of liquorice, smokiness, rosemary and flavours that turn my head; porcini mushroom and truffle.

The advantage of an estate investing in the very best technology and winemaking practices to achieve a great wine is that these habits pass down into their other wines and this paradigm is certainly true with the Chianti Classico. The grapes are taken from the same Conca d‘Oro vineyard and achieve similar ripeness. Following the aforementioned viniculture techniques, the Classico is then racked in 225 litre French oak barrels, using a percentage of the barrels taken from the Flaccianello, where they remain for 12 months.  If you buy a Chianti Classico this year our advice is that it should be Fontodi, at £16.46 with duty and Vat paid, one could challenge anyone to find a better example of the world famous DOCG Chianti Classico!

Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve 2011 – 6×75 – £225 IB or £284.76 including duty and VAT

James Suckling – 95 points
The blackberry, currant, nutmeg and chocolate aromas follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and lots of savory fruit. Some balsamic and citrus fruit underneath it all. Needs a little time to soften. Pure sangiovese. From organically grown grapes. Better in 2016.

Antonio Galloni – 94 points
Violets, crushed flowers, licorice, cloves and menthol wrap around the palate in the 2011 Flaccianello. A soft, seamless wine, the 2011 retains gorgeous freshness within the context of the year. Today, the Flaccianello is more expressive than the Sorbo, but it was also bottled two months earlier. This is another wine with off the charts levels of both polyphenols and acidity.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011 – 6×75 – £70 IB or £98.76 including duty and VAT 

Antonio Galloni – 90points
Dark red cherry, stone fruits, smoke, tobacco and cloves meld together in the 2011 Chianti Classico. Rich, ample and broad on the palate, the 2011 captures the ripeness of the year, yet still retains a good measure of freshness. Unlike most vintages, the 2011 will drink well pretty much right out of the gate. The style is dark, brooding and imposing.

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