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MWG August 16th tasting: report (4/5)

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It’s funny how wines you enjoy can drop off your radar for several years. That was the case for me and Fontodi, whose wines I’d always admired but hadn’t tasted for a decade. In planning this flight, I wondered whether in the intervening years the wines, especially the Flacianello, might have gone over to the Parkerized dark side like certain other Supertuscans. I needn’t have worried.

Chianti Classico 2008, Fontodi ($27.00, 00879841)
100% organically farmed Sangiovese from various Fontodi vineyards. Fermented with native yeasts in temperature-controlled tanks, then aged in French oak barrels (not many new, I’d guess) for 12 months. Average annual production: 170,000 bottles. 13.5% ABV.
The bottle at the tasting was corked. A replacement bottle wasn’t.
Heady nose of black cherry, turned earth, old wood and kirschy alcohol. Medium-bodied, smooth and velvety. The ripe fruit gives an initial impression of sweetness, yet the wine is very dry, a sensation only enhanced by the light, prevailing astringency. Structure is provided by acidity as much as tannins. Long finish: earth, tobacco and that lingering core of sweet fruit. Not a deep wine but elegant and satisfying all the same. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, Vigna del Sorbo, Fontodi ($52.75, 00742072)
Organically farmed Sangiovese (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) from 30-year-old vines in the Vinga del Sorbo vineyard. Fermented with native yeasts in temperature-controlled tanks, then aged in French oak barrels (half new) for 24 months. Average annual production: 30,000 bottles. 14% ABV.
Textbook Sangiovese nose of great depth: tobacco, black cherry, terra cotta and only a hint of oak. Medium- to full-bodied. Astoundingly pure fruit. Finely structured: the balance between ripe tannins and lightening acidity is well nigh perfect. Deep, long and possessed of the estimable quality that Paul de Cassagnac described as “fluid savour.” Impeccable. (Buy again? My Labour Day weekend 10%-off-sale purchase.)

IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2008, Flaccianello della Pieve, Fontodi ($82.00, 11364571)
Selected lots of organically farmed Sangiovese from the estate’s top vineyards. Fermented with native yeasts in temperature-controlled tanks, then transferred to barrels for malolactic fermentation. Aged in new French oak barrels for a minimum of 18 months. Average annual production: 60,000 bottles. 14.5% ABV.
Complex albeit closed nose of leather, mint, red fruit, black pepper and precision-dosed oak with tar and herb notes. Medium- to full-bodied. Primary but approachable. The sweet fruit is tethered by a mineral astringency. The texture is fluid despite the taut tannins and deep-running acidity. Beautiful structure and layers of flavour that reveal themselves as the wine breathes. A whiff of ash on the long, long finish. The tension – between power and restraint, between superficial allure and hinted-at depth – is something to behold. (Buy again? If I had the budget, yes.)

Written by carswell

September 9, 2012 at 09:57

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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