There are some occasions when it is problematic to tell a winery without falling into the obvious that, inevitably, brings a fame of the caliber of the one that, with good reason, can boast of Fontodi. Actually this story begins several generations ago for the fame of the Manetti family (owner of the winery) in the production of terracotta, to the point of providing it also for the recoating of the Florence Duomo dome and for the reconstruction of Uffizi Gallery flooring. As often happens, however, the time comes to differentiate investments and so, in 1968, the family buys the farm Fontodi in the area of Panzano in Chianti, about halfway between Florence and Siena.
The land belonging to the winery develops in the so-called “conca d’oro” (golden valleyhh), a south-facing plateau, between 350 and 500 meters above sea level, perfectly illuminated, which allows, within the warm microclimate, an important temperature range. Here Giovanni Manetti, true deus ex machina of the winery, begins to experiment the production of Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, in search of an expressive excellence well present in his mind but still far from its practical achievement. It will be Giovanni’s meeting in 1979 with a young wine maker, Franco Bernabei, driven by the same desire to dream big, to constitute the turning point of the winery, starting from an intense work of improvement of the vineyards.
While the winery, in fact, was being modernized to be able to conduct efficient and updated winemaking processes, in the fields there were two directions: protection of the pre-existing wine heritage and implementation of new vineyards with high plant density, all following, starting from the 90s, biological disciplinary. Since then, synthetic chemicals have been abandoned in the vineyard and fertilization is based on the integral recycling of waste products, being composed of pruning residues and manure produced by the vaccine farm in the cellar. The winery is also attentive to the low environmental impact, with the passage between the various phases of vinification exclusively by gravitational force.
Between almost 170 hectares of land owned, 80 of which destined for vineyards, under the Pieve di San Leonino, near an ancient Roman village known as “pagus Flaccianus” (the “little Flacciano”= “Flaccianello”) there is the vineyard with the best exposure of the entire winery, the one from which, in 1981, was born one of the most famous Supertuscans: the Flaccianello della Pieve. It is a pure Sangiovese, planted at a density of 6000 vines per hectare, whose grapes, once selected and harvested manually, arrive in the cellar where they carry out a controlled temperature fermentation, by means of indigenous yeasts. The wine will then age for two years in barriques of Allier and Tronçais, before bottling without filtration, and marketing.
The 2010 vintage shows a ruby color without the slightest loss of concentration, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of pyric powder, baked plum, marasca cherry and blackberry, followed by pot pourri, vanilla, carob and roasted coffee, with final echoes of undergrowth, dark leather and goudron. The palate is incredibly multifaceted and powerful, without giving up a centimeter in terms of tension and verticality, with deliciously incisive tannins and a hint of black pepper; all enriched by the return of red fruit and dark spices that accompany the sip until an almost endless closure.