Tasting the Wines of Castello di Fonterutoli, 2020 Releases
Castello di Fonterutoli is a venerable producer in Chianti Classico, with vineyard holdings throughout the small region. In 2017, the Mazzei family changed the way it was producing its wines, focusing more on microterroirs and single vineyards within the Chianti Classico area. In an effort to highlight the biodiversity of the region, it now markets three different Gran Selezione Chianti Classico wines — the highest quality level — each drawn from a different district in the area.
We tasted all of these wines with the head of Fonterutoli, Giovanni Mazzei, who led a collection of media through a quartet of wines — three Chianti Classicos along with a SuperTuscan — by Zooming in from Tuscany (of course).
Let’s give them a whirl.
2017 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – This is the winery’s flagship Gran Selezione wine, “made from a selection of the best vineyard plots surrounding the hamlet of Fonterutoli.” This is immediately an elegant and expressive wine, bursting with cherries and some raspberry notes. A light level of tannin, a gorgeous mushroom note, and a silky edge of vanilla all run throughout, deftly balancing the wine’s bittersweet palate and paving the way to a beautiful, fruity, and vaguely floral finish. This one’s the flagship for good reason. A / $74
2017 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Vicoregio 36 Gran Selezione – A blend of 36 different Sangiovese biotypes deriving from 50 years of research, from the Vicoregio vineyard. (This was formerly known as Mix 36 and bottled as an IGT wine; now it’s 100% sangiovese.) This is a surprisingly austere and mature wine given its age, and it hits the palate with a significant note of oxidation. Notes of green herbs, heavy on rosemary dominate well into the earthy, balsamic finish. B / $85
2017 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Badiola Gran Selezione – A new wine, made from grapes grown in the estate’s highest altitude vineyards, located below the 12th century church of La Badiola. Rich and seductive, this has some of the oxidative qualities of the Vicoregio, but not to the same level of extremity. Rich black cherry notes, tea leaf, cola, and a layer of spice all come into focus as the wine develops in the glass. It’s less effusive than the flagship bottling, but its gravity and intensity of soul merits particular attention. A- / $99
2018 Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi Toscana IGT – A 50/50 blend of sangiovese and merlot that was first produced in 1992; this bottle has not yet been released to the market. Intense and rich, this make those oxidative notes in the Vicoregio look like kids’ juice. Brooding and quite tannic with notes of bittersweet, dark chocolate, currants, blackberry cordial, and layers of spices that lean toward rosemary and sage. Gently balsamic on the back end, this is a wine that will benefit — greatly — from time in bottle and lots of it. One to serve in 2028. A- / $130
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