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Die komplette Vertikale Flaccianello 1981 bis 2016


Traumhafte Bewertungen für alle Weine von Fontodi in mehreren Publikationen deutscher und internationaler Medien gipfelten am 31. Juli in der Höchstnote von 100 Punkten für den Flaccianello von Parkers Wine Advocate (siehe Bericht unten). Dies war für Giovanni Manetti, den charismatischen Eigentümer und Leiter des Vorzeige-Weinguts Fontodi im Herzen der Toskana, eine Retrospektive aller je produzierter Jahrgänge seines Super-Toskana Weines durchzuführen. Seit 1981 gibt es diesen reinsortigen Sangiovese, der schon in den Anfangsjahren für Furore sorgte und dessen Qualitätskurve seitdem nur eine Richtung kennt: Steil nach oben! Nur in den Jahren 1984, 1989, 1992 und 2002 wurde er aus Qualitätsgründen nicht produziert. Hier nun der Bericht der Retrospektive und die  Bewertungen aller 32 Jahrgänge Flaccianello.

Doch lassen Sie mich zuvor noch auf die Bewertungen der anderen 2016er Weine von Fontodi kommen, denn diese verdienen mindetsens genauso Beachtung und Wertschätzung wie der großartige Flaccianello. Sie kosten allerdings deutlich weniger: Der Chianti Classico Gran Selezione aus der Einzellage Vigna del Sorbo kostet nur die Hälfte, bei 98 Punkten für den 2016er und 96+ Punkten für den 2015er, sowie je 94 Punkte für den 2014er und den 2011er (jetzt ein Traum!):

2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo: Ein Wein, der keine Fragen offen lässt, sondern einfach nur zum Zurücklehnen und Geniessen einlädt. Alles wirkt glasklar und transparent definiert, die Frucht steht im Wechselspiel zur Eleganz und cremigen Saftigkeit, kraftvoller Auftritt, rundum gelungen. Siehe auch WW 07/18, wo Chefredakteur Giuseppe Lauria sie vorab schon probieren und bewerten konnte. 18.5 Punkte Höchstbewerteter Chianti! 2020 – 2035 Weinwisser Juli2019

2016 Chianti Classico: Fontodi's 2016 Chianti Classico is an expertly administered and measured wine that shows bright fruit intensity backed by Sangiovese's characteristic acidity, primary freshness and integrated structure. This wine is perfectly engineered to pair with Tuscan dishes such as pappardelle ribbon pasta with rabbit or wild boar ragù. The wine will not only cleanse the palate from those flavors, but it will enhance the savory flavors. 92+ Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2016 Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole: The 2016 Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole is a beautifully intense and direct expression that delivers a full bouquet of rich primary fruit with direct confidence and extreme precision. The wine is tight and streamlined with cooling fruit flavors of wild berry, cassis and sour cherry backed by linear mineral notes of crushed stone and flint. It is lightweight in terms of consistency with a fine and elegant close. Filetta di Lamole shows a slightly wild or untamed character within the greater Fontodi house style. The fruit comes from the cool-climate, high-altitude Lamole subregion (with vines planted at 600 meters above sea level), and this explains the wine's fragile and finely knit approach. 91 Punkte 2019-2026 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo: The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is another benchmark wine from Tuscany that shows the incredible potential of this iconic vintage. This beautiful single-vineyard Sangiovese reveals a graceful side with dark fruit intensity, cherry, plum, fresh violets and tilled earth. Tar, tobacco and licorice appear as delicate background tones, giving more volume and texture to the wine's sensorial impact. Vigna del Sorbo shows its own precise identity that is fiercely faithful to Sangiovese, but that also pushes the boundaries to go beyond our highest expectations of the grape in terms of color, concentration, aromatic complexity and staying power. That's the Panzano magic in a nutshell. 98 Punkte 2022-2050 Wine Advocate 31July2019

Retrospektive Flaccianello


One the morning of this retrospective I awoke with a tight knot in my stomach. I had been looking forward to this complete vertical tasting of Fontodi’s Flaccianello della Pieve for a very long time. My expectations for the highly anticipated 2016 vintage hitting the market now were set impossibly high, and I was at the height of the most hectic part of my annual tasting schedule. I arrived from Matera, Basilicata the day before and would sleep in Alba, Piedmont, the following day. Here I was starting a new day in Tuscany, the mid-way point in my tasting travels that would take me up the entire length of the Italian peninsula in a rented Fiat 500X.

My sleepy eyes caught a flicker of golden sunlight that had broken through a crack in the curtains. I had arrived the night before in darkness, and although I know this landscape well, there was something dazzling and magical about the Panzano panorama on this morning.

I peered through the window and was greeted by an enormous vista of sheer Tuscan perfection: golden light, rolling hills, cypress-lined pathways and a patchwork of vineyards for as far as the eye can see. Quick passing clouds made for pools of shifting light and shadow. 
My view was of the celebrated Conca d’Oro, a spectacular amphitheater of vines that ranks at the top of a list of Italy’s most important grape-growing sites. This view is an icon of the Italian winescape. 
Like that, my anxiety suddenly lifted. It was replaced by awe, desire and excitement. I was honored to have the opportunity to taste all existing vintages of Flaccianello della Pieve from the first 1981 to current 2016 vintages. I couldn’t wait for the day to get started.

Conca d'oro - Die goldene Grube

The Conca d’Oro, in all its Tuscan glory, is one of the best-performing vineyard sites in the Chianti Classico appellation. The “golden basin” is a giant amphitheater of vines (ranging from 350 to 500 meters above sea level) that captures the sunlight with glorious brilliance. Prevailing winds that blow from Greve in Chianti in the north subside into gentle breezes at Panzano, and temperatures are always a bit warmer here as a result. The soils see a unique blend of clay schist Galestro and white Alberese limestone rock that both contribute to the aromatic complexity of the wines made here, with their distinctive freshness and balanced structure.

My guess is that Fontodi proprietor Giovanni Manetti awoke with a similar knot in his stomach that day. I arrived at his property with a little troop of people, including the brilliant videographer Alessandro Maestrini, who filmed the video you see above, and my writer friend John Moretti, who coordinated all the other moving pieces in what would be an action-packed day. Giovanni had set out the 32 vintages of Flaccianello della Pieve reviewed in this retrospective on a long wooden table in the middle of his new tasting room above the winery. After opening all the older library wines with extreme care, Giovanni, Alessandro and John set out to film in the vineyards, while I was left alone to focus on this extraordinary flight of wines.

Flaccianello Vertikale

The 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve earned a perfect 100-point score and represents a crowning achievement for a Tuscan benchmark that was first produced in 1981.

Named after the little Pieve di San Leolino church that lies under the town of Panzano, Flaccianello della Pieve is a pure expression of Sangiovese. Giovanni Manetti and his longtime consulting enologist Franco Bernabei created the wine during the era of the great Italian super Tuscans. This groundbreaking group of wines would succeed in shattering the outdated rules for local wine production (which saw the red Sangiovese grape blended with white grapes for mediocre results), thus ushering in a new era of excellence in Italy. 
During the first two decades of production, from 1981 to 2000, Flaccianello della Pieve would see fruit sourced from a single vineyard site near the little church. Starting with the 2001 vintage, the wine would instead become a special selection of fruit from as many as five of the estate’s best parcels, spanning a variety of soil types and different exposures from the upper parts of the Conca d’Oro. The youngest vines are all more than 20 years old, and because fruit selection is so detailed, often just the smallest and darkest clusters are chosen. 
The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled steel tanks with indigenous yeasts and sees up to three weeks of maceration with delicate punch-downs. Malolactic fermentation and aging occurs in barrel. Until the 2013 vintage, the standard aging for the wine was 24 months in Tronçais and Allier barrique. Following that vintage, Giovanni Manetti opted to put the wine into larger botte for six of those 24 months. That shift has resulted in a more finessed and elegant Flaccianello della Pieve. Starting with the 2016 vintage (the wine currently on the market now), a tiny percent of amphorae is also used during the aging process.

Amphoren nun auch für den Flaccianello

Giovanni Manetti took charge of the family wine estate in the early 1980s. His father Dino moved his family from Florence to Panzano when Giovanni was just 16 years old. Today the estate totals 190 hectares of land with 90 hectares of organically farmed vines. A careful ecosystem has been created to favor sustainability. For example, some 60 Chianina cows (a Tuscan breed of cattle raised mainly for beef) live on the property and produce the fertilizer needed for farming. For centuries, the Manetti family name has been tied to the production of terracotta amphorae handcrafted with Tuscan clay. Manetti wine amphorae, called “orci” in Italian, are used at Fontodi and at an ever-growing number of important wine estates across Italy and abroad.

This retrospective reveals a continuous progression of great quality with relatively few stylistic changes along the way. Looking back at the 32 wines tasted, there is of course an important delineation between the pre-2001 vintages and those that come after 2001. That year marks a few key changes, the most important of which is the fact that the wine went from being a single-vineyard expression to a blend of top cru sites representing different soils, exposures and plant ages. Giovanni Manetti tells me that he had “grown up” by this point and had a better understanding of the potential of individual parcels within the Conca d’Oro. By the year 2000, Fontodi was committed to organic farming. 
The highlight of the day was the 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve. Yes, my expectations were impossibly high, but the wine met and exceeded those expectations on every level. There are 100-point scores that you think about for a long time and 100-points scores that feel instinctively right on first impact. They fill you with confidence and assurance because you recognize that your palate has been tested with rare and unique beauty, and you gain an emotional response to the wine not just an intellectual one. This special wine falls into that second category. 
The 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve borrows many of the most beautiful attributes of past vintages, fitting them expertly together into a single bottle. It shows the dark fruit exuberance of 2015 and the crisp acidic and tannic backbone you get in 2013. The 2016 vintage is similar to 2010 in terms of its classic lines and the soaring sense of power delivered to the palate. I am reminded of the tight firmness I saw in the 1999, but also of the opulence and richness of the 1997 edition. 
Some of the difficult vintages also stood out during this retrospective. I was happily impressed by the 1993 vintage, which is linked to a notoriously difficult growing season that saw torrential rains during harvest. The often-overlooked 2008 vintage impresses for its silky nature and lasting momentum. It was very difficult to assign drinking windows to many of these older vintages that show no sign of slowing down. Flaccianello della Pieve was not made in the 1984, 1989, 1992 and 2002 vintages. 
My individual wine reviews are a bit longer than normal in this article because I wanted to make sure I squeezed in as many details as possible. I also wanted to build an
accurate timeline for understanding the 100-point 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve, a true capstone to more than three decades of winemaking at Fontodi. 
I hope you enjoy my expanded reviews.

You can’t visit Panzano in Chianti without a lunch stop at Dario Cecchini’s Solociccia restaurant. The celebrity butcher serves up encyclopedia-sized T-bone steaks, or bistecca alla Fiorentina, made with beef from Giovanni Manetti’s Fontodi farm. During lunch, Dario Cecchini surprised me with an impromptu naturalization ceremony confirming my induction into his Repubblica Gastronomica di Panzano, complete with my own red passport. I am proud citizen number 87 of the Gastronomic Republic of Panzano and hereby declare under oath to uphold the ideals of my fictitious nation—mangia, bevi ed ama forte (“eat, drink and love strong”)—so help me God.


2016 Flaccianello: Fontodi's 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve is a masterpiece. This review represents a composite of notes from two separate tasting sessions, one at the winery and a second bottle tasted repeatedly over the course of 24 hours at my own pace. In the case of the second sample, it ended up in a blind flight next to the 2016 Masseto, and as beautiful as that Merlot-based wine is, this wine paints an even more beautiful portrait of a perfect Tuscan landscape, thanks to that tangy Sangiovese typicity. This vintage shows amazing depth and poise, with a sheer sense of elegance that comes from the undisputed quality of fruit achieved in this balanced vintage. The bouquet opens to dark cherry, blue flower and tilled earth. The tannins are taut, almost crunchy, and the wine offers profound pedigree and persistence that is driven by the evident acidity. That depth is what stands out most. Until the 2013 vintage, Flaccianello was aged in barrique for 24 months. After that vintage, six months of the total aging time is spent in botte instead. This 2016 vintage includes a small part from clay amphorae for the first time. This slight change in the relationship of wine to barrel size has resulted in a more elegant and finessed wine. That point is especially underlined in this vintage. Because of cool spring temperatures during the flowering, yields were reduced by 20% in 2016 compared to 2015. Some 65,000 bottles were made. 100 Punkte 2020-2050 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2015 Flaccianello: This retrospective gave me the opportunity to taste the excellent 2015 vintage side by side with the highly anticipated 2016 vintage. These two years are famously in a tight race across Tuscany for supremacy. I'm ready to tip my hat at 2016. In comparison, the 2015 Flaccianello della Pieve is slightly broader in the shoulders and heavier in the gait. There is more meat on these bones, and the 2015 vintage presented vintners with near-perfect growing conditions in which one textbook part of the vegetative cycle transitioned directly to the next. The wine is dark, exuberant and profound, and the quality of the tannins is superb, fine and firm. One difference with the 2016 vintage is that the 2015 is a tad more accessible and ready. You can wait and cellar it for thirty years, or pop the cork sooner if you don't have the patience to wait. 98 Punkte 2020-2050 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2014 Flaccianello: As we know, this was not an easy vintage. But Fontodi has a strong track record when it comes to turning out excellent wines, especially in the cold and soggy vintages such as this. The 2014 Flaccianello della Pieve is definitely thinner and more compact than the recent past editions that were largely driven by much warmer growing conditions and thicker concentration. This wine is instead ethereal and almost fragile with aromas that veer toward forest berry, wild cherry and rose hip. Giovanni Manetti says this challenging vintage gave Fontodi a chance to prove its mettle. The 2014 vintage aged in oak a bit longer than usual in order to give the wine more time to flesh out and gain in volume. Yields were down considerably in 2014, and there is 30% less Flaccianello in this vintage compared to average. What saves the day is the wine's fresh acidity. It acts like a glue, connecting all the various parts of this wine and infusing them tightly together to form a complete and compelling whole. 95 Punkte 2019-2038 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2013 Flaccianello: The gorgeous 2013 Flaccianello della Pieve is going through a closed phase at the moment. Let's give the wine a few more years to sort itself out. This window of momentary shyness is a very encouraging sign when you consider how far this wine will travel to complete its evolutionary path. This vintage saw a cool spring that got the season off to a late start. Mild summer temperatures meant that the harvest also came later, with fruit picked the first week of October. The natural characteristics of this vintage include higher total acidity, increased tannic structure and slightly lower alcohol content. The 2013 Flaccianello hits the trifecta of positive potential aging attributes. Indeed, the wine is almost rigid and nervous at this early stage in its adolescence. Like proud parents, we will wait and watch this bottle blossom over time. 97 Punkte 2019-2045 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2012 Flaccianello: Whereas the 2011 vintage is overtly ripe, the 2012 Flaccianello della Pieve is slightly more evolved. Instead of sweet ripeness, you get savory ripeness with dried fruit, prune, black licorice, balsam herb, rosemary essence and scorched earth. The 2012 season produced fewer flowers, and yields in this vintage were naturally reduced as a result. Like 2011, however, this vintage saw an early harvest thanks to hot and dry conditions during the summer that increased the speed of ripening. This edition reveals more thickness and dense concentration as well, something you notice in the intensity of the mouthfeel and the firmness of the wine's tannic structure. 94+ Punkte 2019-2033 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2011 Flaccianello: The 2011 and 2012 vintages are close cousins, with the 2011 Flaccianello della Pieve appearing a bit softer and plumper around the midsection. This was a notoriously warm vintage that saw sugar and phenolic ripeness shoot up very quickly at the end of the growing season. Indeed, this wine produces a noticeable level of sweetness on the finish, all surrounded by jammy flavors of cherry confit and blackberry marmalade. My observation is that this 2011 vintage feels more overtly ripe, whereas the 2012 vintage is able to hide some of its ripeness within the general fleshiness and succulence of the fruit. Giovanni Manetti says that 2011 resulted in some dried berries on the clusters that had to be removed by hand on the sorting table. This problem did not occur in 2012. 94 Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2010 Flaccianello: 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. 96 Punkte 2019-2035 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2009 Flaccianello: The 2009 Flaccianello della Pieve is now hitting that very specific point in a wine's evolution in which you still identity some of the fruit, but you also get a supporting chorus of evolved aromas that enhance the overall finesse and depth of the bouquet. This wine is coming along beautifully and seems right on point in terms of its forward moving aging trajectory. Dried blackberry, cherry confit and plum are rounded out by spice, toast and bitter chocolate. The bouquet fires out on multiple sides, thus increasing the perceived complexity on hand. This vintage is very open and frank, and this is another endearing quality to admire. Interestingly, this vintage saw naturally high yields. Giovanni Manetti tells me they had to work very carefully in terms of green harvest and fruit selection in order to achieve this impeccable level of balance. 95 Punkte 2019-2035 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2008 Flaccianello: Here's a vintage that came out of left field and knocked me flat with delight. The 2008 Flaccianello della Pieve is just my kind of Sangiovese with a gorgeous level of silkiness and smoothness, all followed by tangy menthol freshness and balsam herb that give so much momentum to the vertical lift and drive of the bouquet. The wine's complexity is enhanced by drying mineral notes with barbecue smoke and mesquite. There is a slight hint of ripeness here that you taste in the sweetness of the tannins and the satiny nature of the finish. I love the balance between the wine's natural acidity and the softer side of its fruit. This vintage is drinking beautifully at the moment. Don't miss this exciting window. 96+ Punkte 2019-2035 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2007 Flaccianello: The 2007 Flaccianello della Pieve is showing signs of decline, and I have shortened the suggested drinking window here as a result. In fact, I have recently had the opportunity to taste this vintage in other contexts, and I came away with a similar impression. This was a hot vintage, and the various phases of phenolic ripening moved quickly along. The grapes were beautiful at harvest time, showing naturally rich concentration, succulence and structure. Today, some 12 years after the harvest, the wine has loosened up and flattened out. There are slightly oxidized notes on the bouquet, with dried prune and fig followed by spice, old tobacco and leather. This wine is open and mature, so if you have a bottle, I suggest you pull it out from the cellar soon. 91 Punkte 2019-2025 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2006 Flaccianello: The two bottles of the 2006 Flaccianello della Pieve opened during this retrospective were both below my admittedly high expectations. I had bad luck with a vintage that has every reason to impress, seriously impress, and for that reason, I am putting a question mark next to my score. There is a vegetal note that is out of place, and although it appears only in brief and contained pluses, I kept finding it each time I returned my nose to the glass. It reminded me of green olive or dried garden herb. The bouquet delivers dark plum, prune, earthy notes, menthol freshness, camphor ash and pronounced minerality. The wine shows beautiful elegance, freshness and silkiness in terms of mouthfeel. This vintage was characterized by extreme diurnal shifts that reached as high as 30 degrees Celsius during the days toward the end of August, and dropped down to ten degrees Celsius at night. On the positive side, that green note recalls balsam herb, and on the negative side, it feels a tad stringy and astringent. The wine may just be in an awkward phase, requiring extra time to iron out those rough spots. 94? Punkte 2019-2033 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2005 Flaccianello: The 2005 vintage is remembered as a warm one, but in truth, it saw a very cold and snowy winter with brief, but intense, heat spikes during the hottest months of summer. In conclusion, 2005 was a vintage of extremes (a trend due to climate change that continues in more frequent intervals as we move forward in time). The resulting 2005 Flaccianello della Pieve is solid and sturdy as a result, with a tight bouquet characterized by dark plum, dried blackberry, smoke, tar, licorice and crushed granite. In truth, the aromas are slow to open at first, and when they finally do, they appear in quickly contained pulses. This gives the wine an air of seductive mystery or of the unexpected. The mouthfeel is rich and generous followed by a tight tannic backbone. 93 Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2004 Flaccianello: On first inspection, the 2004 and 2005 vintages were neck in next in terms of immediate appeal, but following further inspection, the 2004 Flaccianello della Pieve came out ahead as my favorite of the two. This vintage shows a greater sense of depth and dimension with a more pronounced point of sharp acidity down deep at the core. This makes a lasting difference. This growing season saw a late harvest (with fruit coming off the vines starting October 5th), and as has been so well documented in this retrospective, Sangiovese loves the longest growing seasons. The bouquet shows fading primary aromas, but the wine still holds strong and still resists any signs of flattening oxidation. Spicy notes of cured meat and bresaola cede to toasted nuts, tar and barbecue smoke. That savory signature is stronger in this vintage (compared to 2005), but it never feels too heavy or thick. In fact, this wine is still tightly wound at the center. It is humming along very nicely. 94 Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2003 Flaccianello: Flaccianello was not produced in 2002 and that's a shame because, as this retrospective shows, the wine shows impressive results in the difficult vintages marked by cool and soggy weather conditions. The 1993 vintage is a great example to cite. However, the wine fares less favorably in the scorching hot vintages, such as the 2003 Flaccianello della Pieve teaches us. This is one of my least favorite wines presented in this retrospective. We opened two bottles to check our impressions, and although there was some noticeable variation between the two samples, my overall review remains the same. The wine is weighed down by heavy and syrupy tones of crème de cassis, dried prune and raisin box. You also get tar, cured meat and smoked bacon. The bouquet shows oxidization and is flat in places with aromas of scorched earth. The wine is not faulted by any measure, but this vintage has matured quickly. 87 Punkte 2019-2023 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2002 Flaccianello: nicht produziert

2001 Flaccianello: Of all the wines presented in this beautiful retrospective, the 2001 Flaccianello della Pieve is the wine I was most curious to taste. This vintage marks the starting point from which the modern incarnation of Flaccianello has since evolved, and I was curious to see how much of its current DNA can be traced back to this watershed vintage. What I encountered is a somewhat enigmatic wine that was not initially easy to read. Indeed, the wine reveals itself slowly in the glass, starting off a bit closed but ultimately opening after considerable coxing. Within the progression of this retrospective, this is the oldest vintage that was not immediately open and accessible. It feels as if the wine still has additional road to cover in terms of its aging potential. This is remembered as an iconic vintage in Tuscany, with plenty of spring showers to fill ground water reserves. Budding started early, sparking a long growing season that saw healthy diurnal shifts with cool nights and warm days through the summer until harvest. Sangiovese grapes were given the perfect conditions for optimal ripeness. This edition offers thick layering with dark fruit, smoke and spice. The wine shows some fruit-driven succulence that adds to the heft and dimension on display. With time, those aromas lift more delicately, uncovering hidden background tones of licorice, pressed violets and crushed stone. The 2001 vintage is the first edition of Flaccianello made with fruit sourced across various sites. Giovanni Manetti says Fontodi had "grown up" by this point—both as winery and collection of single vineyards. Creating a cru blend was the next logical step for what would soon become one of Tuscany's most important wines. 94 Punkte 2019-2035 Wine Advocate 31July2019

2000 Flaccianello: The 2000 Flaccianello della Pieve was made with fruit from a single vineyard after which the wine is named. This vintage (and all the vintages before it) sees fruit sourced from the Flaccianello della Pieve site located under the town of Panzano not far from the little chapel, la Pieve di San Leolino. The vintages after this starting with 2001 represent a selection of the best fruit across various sites. Many changes were underway in 2000, including a definitive shift to organic farming. By 2000, at the dawn of the new millennium, the Manetti family had dedicated much of its efforts to understanding the potential and individual characteristics of each parcel they farmed in the greater Conca d'Oro area. Giovanni Manetti tells me that he felt inspired by fruit coming from other sites, with vines of varying ages. The family had gained the confidence to tweak the formula used to make their top-shelf wine, so in effect, this vintage represents as close to the wine's first incarnation that started with the inaugural 1981 vintage. Despite the symbolic importance of this vintage on the Flaccianello timeline, the actual wine remains subdued and understated. Chalky mineral notes appear at the back of smoke, tar and dried violets. The tannins are delicate and softly polished with a touch of sweetness. This was a very hot growing season, and the acidity is less pronounced as a result. 89 Punkte 2019-2026 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1999 Flaccianello: What a stunner. The 1999 Flaccianello della Pieve is a tight and well-constructed wine with traces of that bright and tangy acidity that are so unique to the beautiful Conca d'Oro subzone of Panzano in Chianti. The wine is drinking beautifully right now, so if you are lucky enough to have a bottle in your cellar, you might want to move it up to the front of the line. This vintage saw cool conditions during the first part of the growing season, and much warmer temperatures later in the summer lasting through to harvest time. Compared to the 1997 vintage that is more muscular and concentrated, this pretty expression is lighter on its feet, more delicate and even looser in terms of its texture and fiber. It shows grace and poise, with the specific aging profile that is guided by the natural acidity that defines the Sangiovese grape. Over time, the mighty Tuscan grape loses much of its weight, much like a rocket shedding its boosters as it flies into space. What's left is steely, tight and firm, and ultimately, that is the engine that drives the grape over its aging evolution. 95+ Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1998 Flaccianello: Following on the heels of the excellent 1997 vintage, the 1998 Flaccianello della Pieve has greater difficulty leaving its mark. This was a warm growing season, and although the fruit marches forward in steady and consistent strides, the wine lacks the overall complexity and depth of other vintages. The bouquet is broad and long, showing one-dimensional tones of dried cassis, smoke and spice. The mouthfeel is subdued and flat. I prefer the bookend 1997 and 1999 vintages to the 1998 vintage sandwiched in between. 89 Punkte 2019-2024 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1997 Flaccianello: This wine marks its own set of milestones. The 1997 Flaccianello della Pieve is one of my favorite bottles in this retrospective. This bottle is just singing at the moment and shows no sign of lowering its voice. Come listen while you can. At a beautiful moment in its drinking window, the wine is plentiful, exuberant and bright. This vintage marks the pinnacle of a stylistic movement prizing increased extraction that has since been abandoned. However, there's a lot to be said of what was achieved here regardless. The bouquet offers a compelling ensemble of dried fruit aromas with barbecue spice, tilled earth and blackberry preserves. The 1997 vintage produced very small, dark and compact berries spurred by cold temperatures in April that blocked development of the buds and caused a significant decrease in yields. The 1997 vintage is unique in the context of this vertical tasting. 95 Punkte 2019-2027 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1996 Flaccianello: The 1996 Flaccianello della Pieve might show a tiny hint of Brettanomyces, but I am prepared to let it slide. The bouquet reveals mature aromas of cured meat, spice, dried orange peel and a fleeting tingle of Band-Aid. It appears to me that when you taste a wine this far along in its evolution (a wine that for all practical purposes has held up very nicely nonetheless), those slightly animal-like aromas are bound to appear in one shape or another. This wine is more broad and far-reaching in terms of mouthfeel, and this sensation adds to the horizontal approach the wine makes in terms of mouthfeel. It finishes with dusty mineral notes of crushed granite and flint. 91 Punkte 2019-2026 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1995 Flaccianello: This is an interesting but challenging vintage that started off with cool and below-average temperatures that delayed the entire growing cycle. The temperatures picked up during the sunny summer months, but the harvest remained delayed throughout, with fruit coming off the vines at the end of October. This makes for a risky proposition for vintners who are faced with waiting, but great rewards were paid to those who did in terms of complexity, depth and acidic backbone. When Sangiovese grapes are given this long to mature on the vines, the results are always spectacular. The 1995 Flaccianello della Pieve opens to a lean and fragile bouquet with bright accents of dried mint, balsam herb, dried rose and tilled earth. That balsamic signature, with cola, dried ginger and rosemary oil, is very well defined in this beautiful expression. The mouthfeel is slender and thin, but everything is in the right place in terms of acidity, fiber and structure. This is the oldest vintage to be labeled with the IGT Colli della Toscana Centrale appellation. 93+ Punkte 2019-2027 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1994 Flaccianello: I have labeled all the vintages younger than this with the Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT appellation, but vintages including this wine and older have been labeled as IGT Toscana (even though they are technically Vino da Tavolo, or in other words, without an appellation). The 1994 Flaccianello della Pieve comes from a vintage that saw lots of rain, with similarities that recall the more recent 2014 vintage. What the two vintages (1994 and 2014) share is a unique lightness or ephemeral quality in terms of mouthfeel. The effect is thin and compact, and yes even watery, but the wine shows finesse and good length nonetheless. It is thin and svelte but not unimportant. This is because its basic tannic structure remains intact and firmly in place. The wine's bouquet is characterized by mature aromas of dried plum, smoke, tar, peat or moss. The wine trails off on the finish but not before leaving its delicate mark. 89 Punkte 2019-2025 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1993 Flaccianello: What a happy surprise. The 1993 Flaccianello della Pieve is one of the most memorable and unexpected wines in this historic retrospective. This was a notoriously difficult vintage that saw late budding due to heavy rain in spring, followed by more torrential rain during the harvest (after what was considered to be a positive summer season). Giovanni Manetti tells me this vintage remained shut down and closed for many years after its release. At some point in the recent past, the 1993 took a surprise turn during its development and began to display the elegance and profound nature that you grasp so clearly today. This vintage also strikes me as more contemporary or international, and by that I mean we can start to make out some of the winery choices that evidently resulted in more extraction and textural richness. These trends seem very much in line with the times. The mouthfeel is succulent and rich with dried plum and black currant followed by a smooth, long-lasting finish. 92 Punkte 2019-2025 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1992 Flaccianello: nicht produziert

1991 Flaccianello: The 1991 Flaccianello della Pieve was a little more problematic in this tasting, showing a flat side with more pronounced oxidation that has overtaken the authenticity of this wine's true character. The bouquet delivers mature aromas of cured meat, dried fig and dusty spice. The wine's texture is loose, and the mouthfeel measures at a lower threshold both in terms of focus and freshness. Flaccianello was not made in the 1992 vintage. 86 Punkte 2019 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1990 Flaccianello: This vintage marks the year current proprietor Giovanni Manetti took on his managerial role at Fontodi (with his brother and uncle by his side). This wine was tasted from magnum, because only magnums are left in the winery library at this point (although total production in 1990 was about 30,000 bottles across both small and large formats). The 1990 Flaccianello della Pieve represents a new chapter in this historic retrospective. Starting with this wine, we begin to comprehend the completeness of Flaccianello and the direction this wine would take in the vintages to follow this one. Remember, back in those days, grapes were sourced from a single vineyard (today, they represent a selection across many sites in the Conca d'Oro of Panzano). This beautiful edition from 1990 shows great balance and texture, completed by smoke, spice and black olive. The wine exhibits gorgeous freshness and a tonic character that should carry it through more time in the bottle. In fact, I can give this magnum a longer drinking window with a greater level of confidence. This vintage saw a rather hot summer and an early harvest (grapes came off the vines at the end of September) with clusters that were smaller, denser and darker than average. 94 Punkte 2019-2030 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1989 Flaccianello: nicht produziert

1988 Flaccianello: This is remembered as a beautiful growing season with a very cold spring, with lower than average temperatures, followed by a very hot and dry summer season. The 1988 Flaccianello della Pieve has shed all of its fruit and today delivers textbook aromas of mature Sangiovese. Those tertiary aromas include smoke, road pavement, tar, licorice and campfire ash. Again, the natural acidity of the grape saves the day, and the wine feels fresh, almost piquant, in terms of mouthfeel. The wine's firmness or inner fiber also remains intact. It offers a uniquely glossy or polished quality that emerges with particular emphasis on the finish. Flaccianello was not produced in 1989 because that vintage saw constant rain showers and Fontodi sold off its fruit in bulk. 89 Punkte 2019-2024 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1987 Flaccianello: The 1987 Flaccianello della Pieve makes a strong showing, but it is ultimately a wine that proves easier to read (compared to some of the more intricate and labyrinthine vintages before it). It is also more monolithic and inflexible at this stage in its life, and this points to the challenges of the vintage. Giovanni Manetti remembers 1987 as difficult vintage to manage because of badly timed rain showers that made harvest difficult to navigate. The results are very interesting because the wine offers more immediate firmness and structural fiber that becomes more tightly coiled at the mid-way point and ultimately culminates in a feather light and compact finish. In other words, it goes from thick to thin in a quick shuffle. Bolstered by that ever-present acidity, it also delivers dusty flavors of dried fruit, smoke, crushed mineral and camphor ash. I am charmed by this 1987 Flaccianello. 91+ Punkte 2019-2024 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1986 Flaccianello: Although the 1986 vintage is also remembered for its warm and dry summer (similar to 1985), this season experienced a more regular winter and spring that led to excellent flowering, fruit set and higher yields. The 1986 Flaccianello della Pieve is a unique wine in the context of this tasting in that it shows a more pronounced vein of acidity that remains fresh and almost menthol-like to this day. This is a wine to watch, and if you have a bottle that has been cellared correctly, you could be holding onto a little piece of magic. In fact, over the years as the 1986 vintage was revisited by Giovanni Manetti and his team, this edition of Flaccianello repeatedly delivered some of the most impressive aging potential. But it's hit or miss, as the wine is also characterized by mature flavors of spice, leather and dried roses. The acidity is just high enough to lift those aromas, but if it were any less, the wine would undoubtedly fall flat. At this point in its drinking window, it walks a very fine line, and that's what makes it so exciting. 91 Punkte 2019-2024 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1985 Flaccianello: Flaccianello della Pieve was not produced in 1984 because of difficult vintage conditions, but 1985 was no walk in the park either. Winter 1985 will forever be remembered as the year of the great frost that killed entire olive groves by the hundreds across Tuscany due to a prolonged freeze. Old-timer farmers still talk about the damage to the olive trees to this day. However, that cold spell was followed by an early spring and a well-balanced summer season that was hot and dry. The olive trees suffered permanent destruction, but versatile grapevines flourished and burgeoned instead, leading one of the first icon vintages to put Italian wine on the world wine map. Getting back to the precious 1985 Flaccianello della Pieve, our first sample was corked, lightly I would add. In absolute confirmation of his fanatic passion, Giovanni Manetti opened a second bottle, and I mention this only because I know that only a handful of bottles from 1985, 1990 and 1993 vintages currently remain in the winery library. He opened it anyway without a flinch. The wine is well matured, but it also shows a perceptible level of dryness, especially in terms of the tannic astringency, that points to the lack of moisture during the summer season. The mouthfeel has subsided over time, becoming silky and fine in texture, with earthy tones of baked brick, powdered licorice and espresso grinds. 89 Punkte 2019-2022 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1984 Flaccainello: nicht produziert

1983 Flaccianello: Despite its 36 years of age, the 1983 Flaccianello della Pieve opens a little window, a tiny one, of decipherable primary fruit, and this comes as a total surprise. The wine is well evolved for sure (look at its amber-crimson color), but there is a momentary flash of dried cherry or plum that points to a glimmer of life or a distant heartbeat somewhere deep inside its core. It's like seeing an unexpected sliver of sunlight at the end of a pitch black subterranean cave, and its discovery fills you with joy and hope. Although subtle, this wine shows a point of brightness or buoyancy with dark fruit, cured meat and tobacco. If it were not for the fresh acidity that still shines bright, this wine would have flatlined many years ago. Luckily for us, its pulse continues to persevere. 90+ Punkte 2019-2022 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1982 Flaccianello: The 1982 Flaccianello della Pieve offers a fascinating glimpse of the aging patterns of Sangiovese. This vintage saw above average temperatures throughout the summer season, and an extra level of concentration and tannic firmness is quite evident as a result. The wine's tannic signature shows more bluster or edginess that becomes increasingly apparent as you contemplate and analyze the way the wine enters and remains on the palate. It's almost guttural or husky. Indeed, I would say this vintage is characterized by the unique intensity and staying power of its mouthfeel. In terms of bouquet, it offers a steady stream of aged aromas from dried plum to licorice and ash. It's almost impossible to assign a drinking window to a wine that has held up well thus far; however, I would give the 1982 vintage more holding potential than the 1981 for sure. 89 Punkte 2019-2022 Wine Advocate 31July2019

1981 Flaccianello: Going back in time to the very first vintage produced, the 1981 Flaccianello della Pieve is evolved, mature and definitely on the downward trajectory of its aging arch. This inaugural vintage represents Fontodi's adherence to the so-called super Tuscan movement that was in full swing during the early 1980s. In fact, the label reads Vino da Tavola, which back then was a battle cry for quality-minded vintners, particularly in this area of Tuscany. (I am recording this wine as an IGT Toscana wine in our database for the sake of convenience, but to be clear, that appellation did not exist back then). This 38-year-old wine shows oxidized aromas of dried fruit, saddle leather and cured meat. In the mouth, the wine has surrendered to time, offering a very thin, fragile and fine impression. It feels wafer thin, but that tenacious acidity still serves to hold this first vintage of Flaccianello firmly together. The great take-away here is the wine's lasting freshness, and this is a theme to be continued in all the marvelous vintages to follow this one. 87 Punkte 2019 Wine Advocate 31July2019

Einleitungstext: Frank Roeder MW

Bewertungen: The Wine Advocate 31.July 2019

Fotos: The Wine Advocate & Fontodi & Frank Roeder

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