Fontodi's Flaccianello s - The Wine Independent

Italy, Tuscany

Fontodi's Flaccianello

Giovanni Manetti, co-owner of the Fontodi estate in Chianti Classico’s Panzano, has managed the family’s iconic property since 1986. President of the Chianti Classico Consorzio, Manetti also oversees significant changes, increasing the development of the Gran Selezione category and proposing 11 new Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive, allowing producers to add the name of these sub-zones to their Gran Selezione labels. Ever the innovator, Manetti is not one to stand still.

The Golden Shell

Giovanni Manetti is, with his brother Marco, co-owner of the Fontodi estate in Panzano in Chianti Classico. He is also the president of the Chianti Classico Consorzio. His father, Dino, who already ran the family’s centuries-old terracotta business, bought the property in 1968 in a rather dilapidated state. In 1986, the brothers decided that Giovanni would run the wine side of the business while Marco ran the terracotta side. Yet there is an increasing synergy between the two businesses as the demand for terracotta amphorae has grown, not just at Fontodi but across Italy. Aging, maturing, and fermenting wine in amphorae has become very fashionable among winemakers in the last few years.

Giovanni Manetti standing in the original Flaccianello vineyard, where they sourced the grapes for their flagship wine Flaccianello delle Piave, a 100% Sangiovese wine and one of the original Super Tuscans. These days Flaccianello is not a single vineyard wine but a selection of the best Sangiovese grapes from several vineyards, often from the top of the hillsides.


The Fontodi estate is in the Panzano zone of Chianti Classico, which is also known as the “Conca d’ Oro” (golden shell) because the vineyards are in a bowl or shell-shaped valley that tends to get very hot during the summer. In the 1980s and 1990s, when vintages were generally much cooler, this was a big boon. Now, with the effects of climate change and much hotter and drier vintages, it is much less so, but both the galestro and albarese soils and the cooling breezes help. Looking to the future, Manetti recently bought an old, terraced vineyard in Lamole, which has an average altitude of over 500 meters, making it one of the highest and one of the coolest parts of Chianti Classico.

"When I was a child, there were always cows around, so in 2000 I bought four female cows so that they could produce manure to fertilize the soil."

Fontodi also farms organically and uses some biodynamic methods to help nurture and support the land. The special Tuscan breed of white cows called Chianina help to reinforce the sense of place while underlining Fontodi’s holistic approach.

As president of the Chianti Classico Consorzio, Manetti has overseen some big changes, with the increasing development of the Gran Selezione category and the introduction of 11 new proposed Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (additional geographical units or UGAs), which will allow producers to add the name of one of 11 sub-zones to the label of their Gran Selezione wines. It seems Manetti, ever the innovator, never stands still. 

Article & Reviews by Susan Hulme MW
Photos by Svante Örnberg

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