Chianti Classico Built for the Long Haul

Today’s Story: Fontodi

Fontodi is a historical wine estate located in Panzano in the heart of Chianti Classico. Though vines have been cultivated there dating to the Roman Empire and vinification history at the estate traces its roots to at least the 16th century, the Manetti family who currently operates the estate acquired it more recently in 1968. Prior to purchasing Fontodi, the Manettis produced terracotta tiles for several centuries which, alongside winemaking, is another activity the Chianti region is famous for. The Manetti family poured a large amount of resources into the estate, which today consists of around 130 hectares with 70 hectares planted to vine and certified organic. The great quality of their tiles crossed over into the wines, which come from vineyards that are sustainably-farmed where the family eschews chemical use. Vinification takes place in Fontodi’s incredibly modern cellar built across multiple levels to make use of gravity flow and the wines age in French oak barrels.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Chianti Classico

100% Sangiovese; 15% ABV

The 2015 Chianti Classico is opaque deep ruby in color. I decanted this for 3 hours and drank it over the following hour. The nose showcases aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant, black plum, red licorice, rose and violet, tobacco, truffle, scorched earth, mocha, white pepper, and sage. There is also some heat which throws off the balance and needs time to integrate. Once in the mouth, the wine displays notes of blackberry, jammy blueberry, rich black plum, black cherry, cigar box, graphite, dried chalky soil, ground green herbs, black pepper, and espresso. This is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, grippy medium (+) tannins, and a long finish dominated by black and blue fruit. Needs at minimum another 5 years, as it’s kind of a kick in the teeth right now, but the quality is certainly there.

Price: $42. A very solid QPR with this one, but there are other Chianti Classicos that are cheaper, more approachable now, offer similar complexity, AND have the structure to go the distance like this bottle. But don’t get me wrong, this is certainly worth a try if it’s in your price range and you have the patience to lay it down. Pair this with lasagna, chicken parm, or pizza.

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