Oscar del Vino for Best Winery of the Year 2012, awarded by the Italian Association of Sommeliers.
Giovanni's family was once in the terracotte tile business and Giovanni's father was passionate about wine. In 1968, his father purchased the Fontodi estate, having known the previous owner. The estate is located in what is known as the Conca d'Oro ("Golden Bowl"), because the area's shape resembles an amphitheater. The Manetti family residence is situated in the middle of the estate, and Giovanni loves to walk through the vineyards.
The estate also includes about 25 hectares of olive trees, from which they produce an extra virgin olive oil, a blend of Correggilo and Moraiolo olives. The overall estate has an average altitude of 450 meters, while most of the vineyards have a southern exposure, providing lots of sun during the day and cool nights, perfect growing weather.
They also perform many biodynamic practices, though they do not use any of the preparations so they will never be certified as biodynamic. The phases of the moon are very important to Giovanni and certain vineyard and cellar practices are guided by those moon phases. For example, they feel that the moon's elliptical orbit changes gravity and thus affects liquids so the descending moon is considered best for removing sediment and bottling. On the other hand, the ascending moon is considered best for replanting vineyards.
previously discussed the Chianina cows that Giovanni raises on his estate, another element of that closed farm system as well as continuing a practice which had been done by his father.
Giovanni also stated that the winery had not seen an overall increase in expenses because they went organic, as though they needed more labor, they saved money from not needing to purchase products such as pesticides. He admits that organic will not work everywhere, but that those areas where it can be done are quality regions. Giovanni also feels that it is easy to make good wine anywhere if you use chemicals. In the Chianti Classico region, you will find very few biodynamic producers and only a small portion, maybe 20%, of organic producers. But that may be changing.
Osteria Le Panzanelle, a more traditional Tuscan restaurant which also uses many seasonal ingredients. During lunch, we tasted through a few Fontodi wines as some of their olive oil, which was fresh, clean, and fruity. The food at this restaurant was quite tasty and we shared a number of appetizers before each having our own entree.
The 2007 Flaccianello is very dark red in color, almost purple, with a muted aroma of spice and black fruit. On the palate, it is dark and brooding, with plenty of ripe fruit flavors, strong spice, a hint of eucalyptus, fine grain tannins, good acidity and a lengthy finish. It may possess a bit more power than elegance but that will likely balance out with a bit of aging. It is an excellent wine though I would prefer it with more maturity.
The 1982 Flaccianello, which was only its second vintage, was an even lighter red color with much more brown, and a bit of a musty aroma. But with a little time in the glass, the mustiness vanished. It was an interesting wine, that was pure elegance with intriguing flavors of earth, black truffle, licorice, and dried fruit. There was almost a smokiness to it as well. I loved how the Flaccianello evolved over time, and it is evidence of the great potential of Sangiovese.
50% Sangiovese and 50% Malvasia de Chianti, the grapes which have dried out for 5-6 months. It had a minimum of 7 years of aging and has 300 grams of residual sugar and 12.5% alcohol. This wine had a dark amber color and was rich with a nice melange of apricots, dates, orange peel, dried fruit, and mild spicer. It is sweet but with a good acidity that balances much of it. A great choice for a dessert wine.