Simply Superb 2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico!

May 17, 2019
A Note from Sergio

Now that Montevertine Le Pergole Torte and Fontodi Flaccianello, both pure Sangiovese wines, are big with collectors and critics, it's easy to forget Sangiovese's troubled past--or that of Chianti, the region where these wines are made. Historically, Chianti also was as much a region as a style of wine. While Chianti first was codified in 1716, historical slang called any vermillion or Florentine wine "Chianti," so in an effort to make it more uniform, nineteenth-century nobleman Baron Bettini Ricasoli advised that Chianti's formula use Sangiovese for its basis, along with added parts of Canaiolo and white grapes--in fact he mandated that the region's vineyards grow specific percentages of these grapes, and this led to the bad Chiantis from the 1970s--and it led inadvertently to the Super-Tuscan revolution, the time when renegade winemakers spurned DOC rules to make truly great wine.

Fifty-one years have passed since the Super-Tuscan revolution began with the 1968 Sassicaia, and in that time, there has been a quiet evolution in the quality of traditional Tuscan wines. See, the high quality of Super-Tuscan wines, both Bordeaux-style blends and mono-varietal Sangiovese wines, pushed makers in Chianti Classico up their game. Makers of Sangiovese and Chianti wines have been revamping their image for about three decades now, and the hard work of growers and winemakers has paid off--the standards of the region and the quality of the wines have skyrocketed.

Today, I'm very proud to shine a light on one of the great makers of Chianti Classico, Fontodi, and its classic, traditional and altogether delicious Chianti Classico. Fontodi sits on the crest of a hill above the Conca d'Oro, the golden basin in Panzano, and from its perch, you see a perfect patchwork of striated vines, fluffy dots of olive trees, and patches of grass, all punctuated by snaking streams, rock formations and the occasional road. It's a unique microclimate, and there's a pretty strong argument to be made that Panzano is the finest sub-zone in Chianti Classico. If you love a full-throttle Sangiovese that grabs you from the inside and warms with the beauty of the Tuscan sun, you need this wine in your life. The 2016 vintage, featured below, is a benchmark beauty, and as outstanding as this wine is now, it'll be even more glorious in a few years.

Chianti Classico doesn't get much finer than this Fontodi wine--enjoy!

Today's Featured Sections Include:

1. Spotlight on Excellence: $45 Full-Throttle Sangiovese from Fontodi
2. Wine Events: Upcoming May / June Wine Tasting Events

My Best,

Sergio Esposito

Few makers of Chianti Classico can date their estates back to 1398, the year when Chianti was first named as a wine, but Fontodi can. Fontodi's history is inextricable from that of Chianti Classico, and this shared past means that Fontodi's Chianti is very, very special. Owned by his family since the mid-1960s and operated by Giovanni Manetti since 1979, Fontodi stands as a leader of fine Tuscan wines, and this organic winemaker is an all-time favorite of IWM clients and staff. Whether you're drinking Fontodi's legendary Flaccianello (one of the original Sangiovese Super Tuscans), the estate's Sauvignon Blanc Meriggio, its amphora aged Dino, its stellar Pinot Nero, or one of the estate's Chianti Classico bottlings, Fontodi's beautiful, evocative wines sing with tradition, terroir, and transparency. Today, we're delighted to present Fontodi's 2016 Chianti Classico, an out-of-this-world wine that embodies the greatness of Fontodi.

Giovanni Manetti has called the 2015 vintage "flawless," but the greatness of 2016 has made him recalibrate his entire scale. While 2015 was warm throughout the growing cycle, 2016 cooled down just before harvest. "In these wines you cannot feel the heat," Manetti says, "but there is such freshness." Indeed, Fontodi is claiming that its 2016 Chianti Classico drinks like a "baby Flaccianello," and we have to agree: this wine reflects its banner vintage in its sheer finesse, its breathtaking balance between its juicy fruits and its savory earthiness, and its tensions between its copious dry extract and its keen acidity. Smokey minerals, warm earth, crushed violet petals, tobacco wrapper and licorice wrap the crisp red berries and lush blue fruits in this spellbinding Chianti Classico. Chewy tannins flesh out the wine's silky, energetic palate, while satisfying savory notes anchor the lingering, complex and textured finish--Fontodi's '16 Chianti Classico is simply superb.

Resting near Panzano in the epicenter of Toscana's viticulture, Fontodi's vines sit in the heart of the Conca d'Oro, the natural amphitheater in the heart of Chianti Classico. The ideal location of Fontodi's vineyards combined with the leadership of Giovanni Manetti, who was elected president of the Chianti Classico Consortium last year, create perfection in winemaking, and Fontodi's '16 Chianti Classico is a terrific, high-performing Sangiovese wine. While the newly released 2016 Chianti Classico is a fantastic forerunner to the estate's '16 Flaccianello and Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, it's also fantastic on its own terms, and this outstanding wine will drink gorgeously out of the gate (but it has the stuffing to cellar for mid-term enjoyment). Contact your portfolio manager to secure your bottles of Fontodi's excellent '16 Chianti Classico--it's a wine that Sangiovese fans will not want to miss!

Fontodi 2016 Chianti Classico
(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese)
$45.99 Regular Price/btl
$42.31 Case Price/btl

Saturday, May 18 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $109.00/person
Early Bird Price: $89.00/person

IWM Host: Michael Adler, Portfolio Manager

Summer is just around the corner, and with Labor Day hovering on the horizon, it's time to stock your cellar with the wines that you'll want to enjoy all summer long. Italy's warm weather, coastal regions, and easy living make for natural summertime pairings. A knowledgeable IWM sommelier will guide you through some of our very favorite warm weather wines, help you learn what pairs with summertime's trickier dishes, and show you how Italy's northern climes, Amalfi Coast, Tuscan hills, and off-the-beaten path wines make your summertime even more delicious. Pouring from a selection of red and white wines, this tasting event, complemented with regional meats and cheeses, will set you up to enjoy summer's heat--while keeping your cool with Italian style.

Featured Wines:

Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé 2018
Jean-Philippe Fichet Meursault Tesson 2016
Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc 2013
Giovanni Rosso Barbera d'Alba Donna Margherita 2015
René Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines 2016
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana DOC 2015
Clos Bellane Châteauneuf-du-Pape Urgonien 2016
Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 2014
Terriccio Castello del Terriccio 2007

*Wines may be subject to change.

Saturday, June 1 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $99.00/person
Early Bird Price: $79.00/person

IWM Host: Francesco Vigorito, Vice President of Sales

Not even summertime's heat will part some wine-lovers from their red wines--nor should it! Summer is the time of BBQs, grilling, and burgers, and these foods demand a red wine partner, but not all reds work well in summertime heat. How do you keep your hot weather cool while indulging in your favorite red wines? Join IWM for our Light Italian Reds tasting event and let Francesco Vigorito guide you in navigating summertime reds with Italian style and unquestionable taste. Francesco will guide you through a landscape of summer-worthy reds, from light, bubbly wines to zingy, go-for-the-gusto reds that will make your steak sing. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this sit-down tasting will keep you in the red--red wine, that is!

*Wines to be announced.

Saturday, June 8 | 1:00-4:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Lunch Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $149.00/person
Early Bird Price: $129.00/person

Guest Host: Francesca Paladin, Owner, Winemaker
IWM Host: Will Di Nunzio, President

Founded in 1962 by Valentino Paladin, the Casa Paladin Winery, headquartered in the Veneto, long held a vision of expansion--but the Paladins wanted to do it as a family. By 1977 Valentino's children, Carlo, Lucia and Roberto Paladin, had moved into Friuli with its Bosco del Veneto estate, and that satellite was followed by Castello Bonomi in Lombardia and Castelvecchi in Toscana. Together, these four Paladin family estates showcase some of Italy's most important winemaking regions, both renowned and obscure. IWM invites you to join us as we host Francesca Paladin, brand ambassador for the Casa Paladin family of estates, and celebrate this winemaking dynasty. Francesca will explore a range of Italian wine terroir, traditions, and regions with evocative wines made by her family, and each Paladin wine will be accompanied by a delicious dish, specially prepared by IWM's own Chef Michael Marcelli and his in-house kitchen staff. Pouring a selection of wines that span Lombardia's Franciacorta, Italy's answer to Champagne, to Toscana's Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, this special winemaker lunch will feel like a trip to Italy's wine country--without leaving glamorous Union Square. It'll be a delicious, intimate, and joyful education in one family's passion for fine Italian wine!

*Wines and menu to be announced.
IWM will do our best to accommodate guests' dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

Monday, June 10 | 7:00-10:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Dinner Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $229.00/person
Early Bird Price: $189.00/person

Guest Host: Alessia Antinori, Owner, Winemaker
IWM Host: Will Di Nunzio, President

This dinner is a wine event that was centuries in the making, featuring wines so rare they're unavailable anywhere else! Join IWM as we host Alessia Antinori, winemaker and daughter of Marchese Piero Antinori, for a special five-course dinner featuring the extraordinary wines of Alberico. Once called Fiorano, Alberico is an estate with a long, storied past and a history of making some of Italy's most important, most collectable wines. In 1995, Prince Alberico Boncampagni Ludovisi, Alessia's grandfather, made his last vintage at Fiorano, pulling up all the vines except for a few rows of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and some white grape vines left on a caretaker's property. After inheriting a portion of the Prince's land following his death in 2005, Alessia took on the project of nursing these vines back to health, intent on making wine as her grandfather did--organically and with minimal intervention. This unique evening will present old vintages of Fiorano, both its fabled whites and its excruciatingly rare Rosso, as well as offer a taste of Alessia's new Alberico bottlings from the estate's restored vineyards, all paired with handcrafted dishes designed by IWM's own Chef Michael Marcelli and his in-house kitchen staff. It's a unique, extraordinary opportunity to experience Italian winemaking history with the winemaker herself, and it's only available at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.

*Wines and menu to be announced.
IWM will do our best to accommodate guests' dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

Saturday, June 15 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $129.00/person
Early Bird Price: $99.00/person

IWM Host: Francesco Vigorito, Vice President of Sales

From grape varietals to winemaking techniques, Italy and France have a serious relationship. As much as Italy and France compete for the attention of the wine world, the two neighboring countries also influence one another. Join IWM's own Francesco Vigorito for this special event that lets you compare the wines of France and Italy side by side, the makings of an entirely delightful Saturday afternoon. In this Studio del Gusto tasting, we'll be matching wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and beyond with Italian Barolo, Brunello and more. Pairing wines from some of our favorite producers, regions, grapes and traditions, this event will give you an unparalleled opportunity to compare and contrast the wines of the world's two greatest winemaking countries. Spend a Saturday sipping wines from iconic and emblematic producers, nibbling on French and Italian cheeses and meats, and learning how the fine wines of Italy and France make each other great!

*Wines to be announced.

Wednesday, June 19 | 7:00-10:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Dinner Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $209.00/person
Early Bird Price: $179.00/person

Guest Host: Gianluca Putzolu, Brand Ambassador
IWM Host: Will Di Nunzio, President

Founded by hometown Bolgheri winemaker Eugenio Campolmi, Le Macchiole was Campolmi's passion project, and since Eugenio's passing more than a decade ago, Le Macchiole has rested in the hands of his wife, Cinzia Merli, who makes wines that speak eloquently of their unique Bolgheri terroir. Le Macchiole's wines--its marvelous Merlot Messorio, seductive Syrah Scrio, and its wild Cabernet Franc Paleo Rosso, among others--have long been IWM favorites, so we're excited to announce our first-ever winemaker dinner with Gianluca Putzolu, the estate's brand ambassador. Dine on handcrafted dishes designed by IWM's own Chef Michael Marcelli and his in-house staff while chatting with a Le Macchiole insider, and get the delicious dirt on Le Macchiole's full range of spellbinding wines. Featuring new releases along with some perfectly aged wines, this intimate Le Macchiole dinner will be an ideal opportunity for Super-Tuscan fans to get to know their favorite bottlings a little better--and to come to love them even more. Spaces are limited, and we expect this event to sell out very, very quickly!

*Wines and menu to be announced.
IWM will do our best to accommodate guests' dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

Saturday, June 22 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $89.00/person
Early Bird Price: $69.00/person

IWM Host: Michael Adler, Portfolio Manager

Like linen in summer, crisp, cool, refreshing wines will never go out of style. But how do you decide on the perfect summertime wine? IWM wants you to keep your cool this summer, both literally and figuratively; join us as we show you the ins, the outs, and the whens of summertime whites and rosés. Our own Michael Adler will pour some of our most favorite white and rosé wines, and give you an insider's guide to pairing summer dishes with ease. From mineral-laden Chablis to flowery Fiano, creamy white Burgundies to bright Riviera whites, and fruity Bandol rosés to steely rosatos to sturdy Meursaults, this tasting will give you a panoramic view of summertime's coolest wines. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this tasting will let you explore the wonderful world of summertime wines in IWM's rustic, elegant Studio del Gusto. It's the ideal way to toast midsummer with sophistication and class!

*Wines to be announced.

Tuesday , June 25 | 7:00-10:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Dinner Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $299.00/person
Early Bird Price: $249.00/person

IWM Host: Will Di Nunzio, President

IWM loves black truffles, a signature ingredient in fine Italian dining, and we're delighted to celebrate black truffles in a special five-course dinner this June. If you love the earthy beauty of Italy's black truffles, you won't want to miss this event that pairs truffles with wines from some of the great masters of Italy and France. Black truffles will serve as the centerpiece of this special dinner crafted by Chef Michael Marcelli and our in-house kitchen staff, who will create with world-class dishes that make the most of black truffles' heady, umami, earthy, and mushroomy glory. Skilled IWM sommeliers will pour Champagne, Barolo, Brunello, Super Tuscans--and more--to create perfect wine pairings for your truffle-loving enjoyment. This will be a memorable evening of delicious food, outrageously good wines, and excellent conversation. All it needs is you!

*Wines and menu to be announced.
IWM will do our best to accommodate guests' dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

Saturday, June 29 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Walk-Around Tasting

Regular Ticket Price: $99.00/person
Early Bird Price: $49.00/person

Sometimes, too many is just enough, and IWM's Mini-Grand celebrates the luxury of too many choices with twenty wines from around the world. Featuring great global wines, June's mini-grand tasting presents bottles from our best-loved countries, including Italy, France and Spain--as well as a few surprises. Join IWM as our team of knowledgeable sommeliers fill your glass with wines and your mind with knowledge. Sample wines from some of the finest producers on the face of the planet, and learn about new grapes, producers, styles and regions. Complemented by meats and cheeses, and sweetened by preferential pricing on the featured wines, this tasting is a rare treat. Join us and travel the world of wine, without ever leaving glamorous New York City.

*Wines to be announced.

For more information, please visit our website Wine Events Page.

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