Welcome to this special series of episodes. In this series we take a deep dive into a wine region that not only offers amazing value, some very special, terroir driven, dynamic wines. Chianti Classico has long suffered image problems. First, all Chianti is not Chianti Classico. In fact the two regions are quite different, even though the name Chianti is often considered synonymous for each of the regions. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you drive through Chianti Classico the hills are steeper and sharper than the gently rolling hills elsewhere in Tuscany, the slopes range from between 200 and 700 meters above sea level, and many grape growers in the region have converted to organic and sustainable farming techniques. All of this adds up to make wines of special quality.
The story of The Black Rooster
You know you have a true bottle of Chianti Classico when the bottle is labeled with the black rooster. It’s the symbol of Chianti Classico.
Back in the 13th century the region was in constant dispute between the cities of Florence and Sienna. In order to determine where the true border between the city states laid without war, it was decided that, on a certain day, when the cock crowed, riders from Florence and Sienna would set off along the road. When the met, that’s where the border would be drawn. The crafty Florentines however, decided to take an old angry black rooster, starve it for a few days, keep it awake for a few days and set it free long before dawn on the morning of the ride. Well, it was so agitated that it crowed immediately, long before the crack of dawn, so the Florentine rider set off. By the time dawn had come and the rider from Sienna had begun his ride the rider from the north had covered most of the distance to Sienna. When they met, they were within just 20 km of the walls of Sienna. Thus, the black rooster became the symbol of Chianti Classico.
In this episode I met with Giovanni Manetti, the current President of The Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and winemaker of Fontodi. The pride he takes in his vineyard is clear when he talks about his farming practices. You can hear the passion in his voice and it’s impossible to not be captured by it. And of course you can taste it in his wines.
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2016 Fontodi, Chianti Classico
Aromas of violets, fresh herbs and dark cherries. On the palate flavors of black cherry, cocoa, leather, cigar box and herbs. Quite youthful, grippy tannins and bright acidity. Enjoy now or age for ten or more years.
2015 Fontodi, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo
Perfect balance. Aromas of earth, violets and dark berry. Flavors of a complex blend of black plum, black cherry, and licorice. Sure you can drink it now but you’ll be rewarded greatly after a few years of cellaring.
2015 Fontodi, Flaccianello della Pieve
This is a big boy. On the nose dusty minerality leads the way followed by notes of black plum, black cherry, black licorice. On the palate this wine is full and rich. Plush fruit, Cherry, milk chocolate, baking spices, vanilla. This wine is worth cellaring for decades to come. A true classic, showing all of the bold characteristics typical of Greve and more particularly Panzano. You want this wine.