At an elevation of 400 metres, Vigna del Sorbo boasts Chianti Classico’s classic Galestro soil. The warm southwest-facing vineyard typically yields a powerful, intense wine in need of ageing. The 2019 demonstrates all the wild, penetrating characteristics of this site but it comes into harmony quickly, revealing its balance and precision. Wood-driven top notes of smoke and vanilla meld into pressed violets, rosemary and liquorice. Luscious red cherry and dark plum flesh are wrapped in long, layered chalky tannins. Across the palate there's an energetic beam of unwavering acidity, giving the wine a linear feel. The finish reverberates with fennel and crushed stone.
This iconic wine has all new energy as it is now part of an exciting set of potential Gran Selezione wines made at Fontodi. Two new portfolio additions (Pastrolo from cool climate Lamole and Terrazze San Leonlino from Panzano) help to give greater context to the organic 2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo. This wine of course benefits from many years of experience and the Vigna del Sorbo identity is well established. But soil geeks will absolutely enjoy comparing Vigna del Sorbo from schistous galestro soils to the limestone alternative found in Terrazze San Leonlino. I tend to lean toward Vigna del Sorbo thanks to those etched mineral notes of pencil shaving and iron ore that I find so appealing. Those dusty notes are amply rounded off by sweet cherry fruit plum and spice. Rising alcohol can be a problem in sun-drenched Panzano and the winey team is leaving taller growth on the vines in the summer to cast shade and taking other active measures to combat this issue. Call it a "lockdown illumination" the COVID-19 pandemic years were especially fruitful for Fontodi's Giovanni Manetti. Given time to reflect and walk through his vineyard rows in the amphitheater of postcard-perfect vines known as the Conca d'Oro in Panzano in Chianti Manetti decided it was time to enlarge his portfolio. Specifically he sought an opportunity to better articulate the concept of Chianti Classico Gran Selezione which is in essence a perfect vehicle for a grand cru winemaking philosophy. His existing Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is a flagship for this highest category of the appellation but alas it represents just one vineyard site. Fruit is sourced from an area with a greater presence of schistous galestro for dark fruit etched mineral notes and pencil shavings. Now that wine can be seen in context. Two new wines the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Terrazze San Leonlino and the Chianti Classico Pastrolo are now in production. They come from radically different sites and soils. "We now have three wines to match three soils" says Giovanni Manetti from his spacious tasting room while morning sun streams in from the windows. The Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Terrazze San Leonlino comes from a site in Panzano not too far from Vigna del Sorbo. However this little parcel near the San Leonlino country chapel is characterized by limestone alberese that makes fresh wines that are not as dark in character. Equally exciting is the Chianti Classico Pastrolo from old vines in terraced vineyards in high-elevation Lamole. This areas tends to have Macigno Toscano or sandstone. The Conca d'Oro vineyard in Panzano in Chianti has both galestro and alberese with pietraforte (the same hard stone used to build Palazzo Pitti in nearby Florence) at the higher rim of the vineyard. Flaccianello della Pieve is a selection of fruit from various sites with much of it coming from the areas with pietraforte. Giovanni Manetti is pushing the boundaries of Chianti Classico Gran Selezione and he is interested in capturing the freshness and transparency of wines identified by their soils. These efforts are timed to the announcement of the new Chianti Classico UGAs or subzones. I also think this post?COVID era represents an exciting new start for Lamole one of the most remote and untouched villages in the wider Chianti Classico appellation. Cooler growing sites are ideal for wineries looking for alternatives in a warmer climate. If a powerhouse estate such as Fontodi continues to invest in Lamole we will certainly see more interest in the area in the years to come.
The 2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is a potent virile wine endowed with tremendous depth and equally imposing tannins. A blast of dark fruit herbs chocolate menthol and spice races out of the glass. Large-scaled tannins and hints of rusticity suggest the 2019 won?t be one of the most finessed Sorbos but it is a fine effort for the year. - By Antonio Galloni on June 2022 Proprietor Giovanni Manetti continues to push his estate into new directions. Readers will note the addition of a new wine the 2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Terrazze San Leolino which emerges from vineyards in Panzano near the San Leolino church. It will be followed next year by the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Pastrolo Manetti?s first estate wine from terraced vineyard in Lamole at 640 meters in elevation. Naturally those wines are works in progress so it will be a few years before they reach the level of the other wines in the range. The dual flagships Vigna del Sorbo and Flaccianello are quite good in 2019 although they don?t reach the level of the finest years. The Chianti Classico always a super-Chianti Classico here is a standout. A reduction of time in small oak along with a final phase of aging in cask and a greater emphasis in freshness overall are the key drives to the Fontodi style these days.d
This is elegant delivering floral cherry raspberry and mineral flavors. A touch of earth peeks through as this plays out gracefully on the finish. Drink now through 2030. 1800 cases made 700 cases imported. ? BS