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Hot Off The Press – The Gran Selezione That Is “Without Question One of the Great Reds of Italy.
August 20, 2020



Debut: “One of Italy’s Most Revered and Coveted Wines” You Might Not Really Know! It is a Pinnacle Expression of Sangiovese from Grand Cru-like Terroir and 50-Year-Old Vines. Plus 20 Years of Age from the Fabled Panzano Estate.

“Fontodi is best known for their 100% Sangiovese Flaccianello – one of Italy’s most revered and coveted wines –Readers who aren’t familiar with Vigna del Sorbo owe it to themselves to check out what is without question one of the great reds of Italy.” -Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni’s quote from a few years back holds even more truth today, and he certainly wouldn’t get much argument from Sergio Esposito or leading Italian wine critic Burton Anderson, who has ranked the Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo as the greatest single Chianti, as well as the sibling Flaccianello as one of the finest expressions of pure Sangiovese. We would be remiss if we did not add this note from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, “one of the finest wine estates in the world…connoisseurs of Sangiovese will be hard pressed to find a wine more authentic, elegant, complex and pristine than this.” Now add to this statement vintages like 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2015, and our personal favorites of 2010, 2013, and 2016 from Tuscany, and the Chianti region specifically, that Antonio Galloni further implores, “…has potential to ascend into the ranks of the truly epic.”

Well, today we are thrilled to add the underrated 2017 to the equation, and what we believe is one of the finest wines of the vintage - the 2017 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo. It is simple, the vines are older, and Giovanni Manetti is more selective on the fruit he is putting in the blend. For 2017, he told us, “we produced a very small quantity of wine (about 20% less than 2016) but it was a very good vintage, producing fine quality wines, capable to age, with solid but smooth tannins. They are nicely perfumed and well balanced with a surprising freshness.” And while all eyes are always on the darker and more masculine Fontodi Flaccianello, right there with it, dare we say surpassing it, is the more classic sibling, the Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo.

In 2017, Fontodi’s Chianti Vigna del Sorbo shows more purity, precision, and salinity from its 50-year-old vines, while its sibling 2017 Flaccianello shows a more expansive and structured profile. An argument for what is the better of the two wines can be made, and Antonio Galloni makes a good case here, “Although Fontodi is best known for their 100% Sangiovese Flaccianello – one of Italy’s most revered and coveted wines – over the years it is the estate’s Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo that has built the more distinguished track record. The takeaway from this historic tasting is obvious: the Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo is Fontodi’s flagship wine. It’s as simple as that.” We would add that what makes this wine so unique is its location in Panzano’s Conca d’Oro (Golden Bowl) – here the noblest Sangiovese enjoys high altitude with great exposure – one of the finest in the region and very similar to Montalcino. The 2017 is an awesome display of riper Sangiovese fruit that recalls vintages like 1997, 2007, and 2011 - a warm year that showed best with a little maturity.

The best tip we can provide is that the magic of Fontodi does occur with ten years of aging when the tertiary development of baked earth, leather, tobacco, cedar, and mushrooms nestle in with classic red cherry fruit. That is what makes today’s offer so special: we are including Vigna del Sorbo dating back twenty years with perfect provenance. We raided the Fontodi cellar once again, for another epic IWM offering of some of the finest expressions of the noble Sangiovese ever assembled.

Featured Wines: Raiding the Tuscan Cellar - Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo (1998-2017)




*Note: Wines arrive in September

Fontodi really needs no introduction, but it is a story we like to share. The Manetti family has been in the tile-making business for centuries – you will find their work on some of Italy’s most historic buildings – the Uffizi, Brunelleschi’s dome, among others. But the Manettis' most appreciated work comes from their vineyard’s unique location in Panzano’s Conca d’Oro (Golden Bowl). Here with the high altitude and the galestro soils, Tuscany’s finest Sangiovese is produced thanks to the guidance of the beloved Giovanni Manetti. The Manetti family has owned Fontodi since 1969 and Giovanni has managed the property since 1980, building a new cellar in 1998 and ensuring that the wines are as meticulously made as the vineyards and cellar are immaculately tended. Giovanni's 80 hectares of vineyard are situated in price real estate, giving wines of supreme elegance, intensity and longevity. Giovanni has converted to organic viticulture in the past decade or so, and is now following biodynamic principles in order to obtain the best quality fruit. In the winery, his approach is similarly non-interventionist and utilizes low-toast oak in order to ensure that the pristine quality of the fruit is preserved in the finished wine.

Additional Notes and Reviews:



2017 Fontodi Chianti Riserva Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “While all eyes are on Flaccianello, it is the Vigna del Sorbo that we are most anxious to taste. The IWM signature and prized single vineyard expression is the pinnacle expression of Chianti Classico Riserva. Once again tasting the wine side by side with the Flaccianello, it is the Vigna del Sorbo that is more vibrant and fresh, you really get more purity and red fruit, more earthy elements, more tea and herbal notes. There is ripe fruit from the vintage and you can expect to find black cherry rind, cranberry, a touch of plum, tobacco, graphite, minerality, even a touch of smoke, baked earth, and citrus add to the profile. This wine is about purity and while there is generous fruit, the signature firm and gripping tannins are present, and this is a wine that needs some air and Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This transporting wine simply screams Tuscany and is a benchmark for Sangiovese. This wine singularly gets you excited about what can be achieved with Tuscany’s noble varietal. A must buy to enjoy young as well as to age in the cellar.” 07/20

2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico Vigna Del Sorbo Gran Selezione
97+ Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is a wine of tremendous aromatic intensity, freshness and nuance. Sweet floral and spice notes meld into a core of blue/purplish fruit, lavender, licorice and leather, with veins of bright acids that perk things up nicely. Readers need to be patient with the 2016, as it is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. But I have seen this before with Vigna del Sorbo. Sometimes the more reticent vintages turn out to be the most complete and thrilling wines with cellaring. I imagine that will be the case here as well.”

2013 Fontodi Chianti Classico Vigna Del Sorbo Gran Selezione
98+ Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: "A vivid, expressive wine, Fontodi's 2013 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is tremendous. That is the good news. The not so good news, if I can say that, is that the 2013 is likely to require a number of years before it can be truly appreciated, much less enjoyed. Vertical and explosive on the palate, the 2013 is a huge wine. Black cherry, plum, graphite, licorice and dark spices emerge over time, but only with great reluctance. Readers will have to be very patient with the 2013. A host of violet, lavender, menthol and dark spices wrap around the huge, tightly wound finish."

2012 Fontodi Chianti Classico Vigna Del Sorbo Gran Selezione
98 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The 2012 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is stunningly beautiful. At the same time, I have to report that the window for tasting the 2012 as a young wine appears to be closing. The density of the fruit and creaminess of the tannins are still evident if somewhat less obvious than they were a year ago, while the aromatics aren't quite as explosive as they have been in the past. The wine's depth and intensity suggest the 2012 will be fabulous once it emerges from its current period of dormancy. In this tasting, the 2012 shows a more red fruit and lifted profile than the 2013, where the flavors are darker.”

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico Vigna Del Sorbo Gran Selezione
98+ Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: The 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo is fabulous, as it has always been. The most finessed, silky of tannins support a fabric of nearly indescribable elegance. Sweet red berries, rose petals, spices, new leather and graphite all take shape in the glass. Absolutely impeccable and graceful on the palate, the 2010 is a stunner. Stylistically, the 2010 comes across as a slightly richer version of the 2004. While superlatives are often overused in wine criticism, after tasting every vintage of Vigna del Sorbo, it is quite clear. The 2010 is the greatest Vigna del Sorbo ever made. Readers should note that in some markets (the US in particular), the 2010 was sold as Chianti Classico Riserva, but in Italy and other European markets, the 2010 will be sold as Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. The wines are identical. Readers will not want to miss the 2010. It is an epic, iconic wine from Fontodi and proprietor Giovanni Manetti.”

Cheers to the Tuscan icon who continue to reach new heights while remaining true to their roots! This is an email ONLY offer. Should you have any questions on these exciting wines, or would like to take advantage of this offer (that is only available until 11:59, Sunday 8/23, or while supplies last), we are asking that you email orders back to me at chris.deas@italianwinemerchants.com, connect with your Portfolio Manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation.

All my best,
Chris