Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti Classico, Gran Selezione DOCG 2017 | Tuscany, Italy

By Dirk Smits

Wine of the Week – November 16, 2020

Castello di Fonterutoli is a historic property embracing an entire tranquil, centuries-old hamlet just south of Castellina in Chianti, Italy. The estate has been in the hands of the Mazzei family since 1435, covering 26 generations. This dynamic family has carefully safeguarded the inherent beauty and rich history of Fonterutoli, while implementing measures to ensure cutting-edge quality in the vineyards and cellars.

The Mazzeis believe that the name Fonterutoli derives from Latin origin, “Fons Rutolae” or “Fons Rutilant” meaning clear spring. The area was chosen by the Etruscans to build villages near the water springs. An incredibly diverse area, Fonterutoli covers five main vineyard sites of different terroirs: Fonterutoli, Siepi, Le Ripe, Caggio and Belvedere.

Sangiovese finds itself particularly at home in these areas, which are planted at altitudes varying between 750 and 1,800 feet, at south and southwest exposure. The rocky limestone and sandstone soil structure, high density planting and low yields of less than 40 hectoliters per hectare result in the production of complex, elegant and powerful wines.

“Gran Selezione,” the newest designation in Chianti and above “Riserva” status, requires for the wine to be produced from exclusively estate-grown grapes. As well as possessing the necessary chemical and sensory features for a high quality wine, before release, Gran Selezione must be aged for at least 30 months including a minimum of three months of aging in the bottle. Gran Selezione is also credited with enhancing the various characteristic aspects of a vast and varied territory divided into nine municipalities, which differ greatly in climatic and geographic features, but are united by the unique signature of Sangiovese grapes.

Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti Classico, Gran Selezione DOCG 2017

Origin: Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, Tuscany, Italy
Varietals: 100% Sangiovese
Sustainability: Sustainable practices and a climate positive footprint
Suggested retail price: $53.00
ABV: 13.8%

Six types of Sangiovese clones and eight estate massal selection plantings are used for this blend. Handpicked grapes undergo fermentation in stainless steel, conical trunk vats. Grapes macerate for 15-16 days prior to ageing. The wine is aged 18 months in French oak barrels (50% new) and kept an additional four months in concrete vats before bottling.

The wine shows aromas of blackcurrant, cherry, orange peel, licorice and a tiny hint of spicy oak. Juicy dark fruit flavors, a touch of toasted nuts, fine tannins and pleasant acidity carry this wine into a long, rich finish.

Suggested food pairings: Pasta with meat sauce, savory game dishes, stews, truffles and aged, strong-tasting cheeses.

> For more information, visit the Castello di Fonterutoli official website.