Fontodi "Flaccianello Della Pieve" 2010

$259.99

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Alcohol: 15%

Grape(s): 100% Sangiovese

Localization: Colli Toscana Centrale IGT, Chianti, Italy

Tasting Notes: From an iconic vintage that gave generously to all grape varieties across almost all of Tuscany, this wine ranks high on the Fontodi billboard of greatest hits. The 2010 Flaccianello della Pieve is a rock solid wine that sits firm and begins to peel slowly, each delicate layer at a time. It puts on quite a show with a solid core of dark fruit followed by smoke, spice, tar, licorice and delicate blue flower. On previous tastings of this vintage, I had scored it 97 and 97+ points, respectively. I'm going down one point at this sitting because the wine's fiber has unraveled, ever so slightly, at the edges. It still maintains that solid core, but the wine has taken an important jump forward in its evolution these past three years. Evidently, it is currently in a phase of relaxation and unwinding. Beautifully polished notes of Mediterranean herb and dried mint appear on the long, glossy finish. Giovanni Manetti compares the 2010 vintage to 2006 but considers this vintage slightly more approachable overall.

98 Points James Suckling: Incredible depth and power to this with a solid core of ripe fruit and chewy tannins. Greatness in the making.

Food pairing: Beef and venison.

The Domain: Fontodi is a wine producer in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. It is known particularly for its Super Tuscan wine, Flaccianello delle Pieve, a full-bodied varietal Sangiovese, and its range of classic Tuscan wines, including Chianti and Vin Santo.

The estate is located in the heart of the Classico zone, south of Panzano, in the valley known as the Conca d'Oro, (or golden shell) due to its sun-catching amphitheatre shape. The climate in this part of Tuscany is warm and dry with a marked difference between day and night temperatures, and the soils in the 70-hectare (173-acre) vineyard are a combination of chalk, clay and schist. The Flaccianello della Pieve wine comes from a selection of the best plots of Sangiovese, but other varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are planted in the vineyards.

Fontodi ferments all of its red wines in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, except for the Pinot Nero which uses conical wooden vats. French oak from the Troncais and Allier forests is used for aging, the top wines in 225-litre barriques.

As well as the Flaccianello della Pieve, the Fontodi portfolio includes the Chianti Classico Riserva wine Vigna del Sorbo, which is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. The generic Chianti Classico represents the core of production, and there are a range of varietal wines made from Syrah, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) and Sauvignon Blanc. A Vin Santo rounds out the range.