- Tasting Notes & Technical Details
The Manetti family has owned Fontodi since 1968 but has been in Chianti for centuries, producing the finest terracotta at their factory in Ferrone. The same attention to detail on their terracotta has been brought to bear on Fontodi over the past 50 years, transforming a crumbling farmhouse with a few hectares of vineyard into one of Chianti Classico’s most impressive estates.
Giovanni Manetti has run the property since 1980 and ensures the wines are as meticulously made as the vineyards and cellar are both immaculately tended. Giovanni’s 90 hectares of vineyard, 90% of which are Sangiovese, are situated in the prime ‘conca d‘oro’ (golden shell) of Panzano, giving wines of supreme elegance, intensity and longevity. The south-facing vineyards and natural amphitheatre allow the grapes to ripen fully, while the altitude ensures cool nights for good acidity retention and lovely aromatics. Soils here allow for excellent drainage, encouraging the vines to reach deep with their roots. Giovanni has converted to organic viticulture and is now following biodynamic principles to obtain the best quality fruit.
In the winery, his approach is similarly non-interventionist (very low toast oak, for example) to ensure that the quality of the fruit is preserved in the finished wine. Giovanni’s Chianti Classico always shows great depth and intensity, while maintaining balance. The ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ Gran Selezione is intensely concentrated. Previously containing a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, in 2012 Giovanni decided the Sangiovese needed no further supplement. ‘Flaccianello’, made with the estate’s best Sangiovese, is fast becoming one of Italy’s most sought-after wines. It is powerful, fleshy and ages beautifully. ‘Terrazze San Leolino’, Fontodi’s latest Gran Selezione, is produced from a five hectare terraced single vineyard. The limestone soil gives a wine with great vibrancy and freshness, and one that is quite different in style to Sorbo. The ‘Dino’ is made with 100% Sangiovese and remains for 12 months on its skins without sulphites in orci (amphorae) made at the Manetti terracotta factory. The orci rest in the cellar at the ambient temperature of 14°C and 80% humidity, perfect conditions for a very slow evolution. Giovanni now uses amphorae to vinify a small percentage of all his red wines, including his Sauvignon Blanc, ‘Meriggio’. The Vin Santo is voluptuous and nutty, as beautifully made as their outstanding olive oils. Following years of work on quality olive oil production, Giovanni Manetti have released a new monovarietal olive oil to enhance the quality of Corregiolo.
The Fontodi estate comprises of 90 hectares of vineyards, all of which are found in an amphitheatre-shaped valley in the south of Panzano. This shape facilitates the full ripening of the grapes. The north-facing vineyard for `Meriggio` is called La Rota and vines here are 20 years old. The stony galestro soils allow excellent drainage and help to develop a deep root system. Vines are planted at 4,000 and 6,000 per hectare.
2021 can be characterised as a fairly tumultuous year with a particularly mild and rainy winter. The onset of frost in spring was followed by the persistent drought in summer. Luckily, the weather was ideal during harvest. The winemaker was able to reap the benefits of acute weather patterns, with the potential consequences of drought lessened by the groundwater reserves accumulated in winter and the dry conditions subsequently reducing the pressure of disease over the summer months. Overall, 2021 produced some excellent quality wines with intricate complexity.
After picking, the grapes were carried to the Fontodi winery and carefully selected on sorting tables. After pressing using a pneumatic press, the fruit was fermented in a combination of stainless-steel vats (60%), amphora (30%) and untoasted tonnaux (10%). No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place. The wine remained in stainless steel for six months before release to preserve the freshness and fruit purity of the wine.
`Meriggio` is pale lemon in colour with youthful hints. The nose displays fresh, grassy perfumes leading to a lively, lifted palate with a mineral undertone. A fragrant example of Sauvignon Blanc showing the characteristic high quality of all the Fontodi wines, it finishes on a long, elegant note.