July 9, 2020
US Debut: 100% Pure, Unadulterated Sangiovese from Tuscany’s Finest Terroir! “One of the Finest Wine Estates in the World” and their Super Tuscan That Drinks Like a Brunello. Buyer Beware — Yields Down 20%!
“In 2017 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"…” - Giovanni Manetti, Fontodi
“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.” - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate on Flaccianello
First, the 2017 Sassicaia sold out in record time. Then, the 2017 Ornellaia followed suit, selling out in just 48 hours. Then, with yields down a whopping 30%, the boundless Tignanello vanished before its arrival. But it doesn’t end there for the iconic First Growths of Tuscany, for there is still more wine to share and be released. In fact, the Italian Wine Merchants team just uncorked the highly anticipated releases from Giovanni Manetti and his fabled Fontodi estate. You should know Tignanello is not alone in producing a captivating expression of Sangiovese in the ripe and accessible 2017 vintage. In fact, Tignanello and now Flaccianello surpass their 2016 performance with approachability! The immortal 2016s will require years to become drinkable, whereas the 2017s will impress today.
Next to the arrival of our early sample bottles from Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Fontodi’s Flaccianello is the most exciting sample that we receive from Tuscany each year. While Sassicaia provides a preview of what we can expect from Cabernet in Bolgheri, Flaccianello, along with sibling Gran Selezione Vigna Del Sorbo, that provides us with an idea of what we can expect from 100% pure, unadulterated Sangiovese from the Tuscan hills. We always say that Flaccianello is the Super Tuscan that drinks like a Brunello. What makes this wine so unique is its location in Panzano’s Conca d’Oro (Golden Bowl). Here, the noble Sangiovese enjoys high altitude with great exposure in one of the best microclimates in the region and very similar to Montalcino. The 2017 is an awesome display of ripe, dense Sangiovese fruit that makes us think back to the more “flamboyant” and “exotic” interpretations from 1997, 2007, and 2011 — ripe vintages that showed best with a little maturity. The magic here occurs with ten years of aging, when the tertiary development of baked earth, leather, and mushrooms nestle with classic red cherry fruit. We saw it in the bottle of 2017 Sassicaia we had last month, and it remains true with Tignanello; this is a delicious release that can be enjoyed in the short term while we wait for the 2016s to mature.
All eyes are on the rich and expansive 2017 Fontodi Flaccianello, but right there with it is its more rustic sibling, Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo, which shows a little more finesse and vibrancy from 50-year-old vines. An argument for which is the better of these two wines can be made, and Antonio Galloni is correct when he says, “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 Gran Riserva Vigna del Sorbo is Fontodi’s flagship wine. It’s as simple as that.” We agree — and 2017 might just be the year of Vigna del Sorbo!
Featured Wine: Debut of Fontodi Flaccianello and Vigna del Sorbo (Click to Order)
Note: Wines begin to arrive end of August and September. Special pre-sale pricing ends Sunday, July 12, 2020.
Fontodi needs no introduction, but it is a story we like to share. The Manetti family has been in the tile-making business for centuries, and you will find their work on some of Italy’s most historic buildings — the Uffizi and Brunelleschi’s dome, among others. But the Manettis' most appreciated work comes from their vineyards' unique location in Panzano’s Conca d’Oro (Golden Bowl). Here, a combination of high altitude and galestro soils help to produce Tuscany’s finest Sangiovese, 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 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. The upshot is that Giovanni's prime 80 hectares of vineyards consistently give wines of supreme elegance, intensity and longevity.
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 Reserva 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 get you excited about what can be achieved with Tuscany’s noble varietal. A must buy to enjoy young as well as age in the cellar.” 07/20
2017 Fontodi Flaccianello
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: "The IWM team tasted this beside the more upright, 2017 Vigna del Sorbo. Without a doubt, Flaccianello is the more concentrated and richer of the two Sangiovese expressions. Where the Sorbo showcases more freshness and vibrancy, the Flaccianello turns up the volume with a little more of everything — ripe and flamboyant, texturally dominating the palate. Sappy, red and black fruit, black cherries marry with plum, cocoa, violets, licorice, grilled herbs, and spicy oak. This is going to be one of the more approachable Flaccianello expressions we have tasted, but it is going to be exciting to watch this 2017 with age—it’s amazing how well the ripe 1997 performed at fourteen years of age at an IWM tasting event with Giovanni Manetti a few years back. It should be noted that where the Vigna del Sorbo is Sangiovese from one prized single vineyard, Flaccianello has, since the 2001 vintage, been a cuvée of the estate’s best fruit from across Panzano’s historic vineyards in the Conca. While it is splitting hairs, we slightly prefer the Vigna del Sorbo.” 07/20
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, July 12, 2020, or while supplies last, we are asking that you email orders back to me at email@example.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,