Fattoria Le Fonti
2006 Fontissimo Super Tuscan
Red Blend •Toscano Rosso IGT
What We Say
EXCEPTIONAL WINE ALERT:
Today’s Super Tuscan is one of the best Italians that we’ve tasted this year. An exceptional wine that has all the rustic and lively Sangiovese fruit that you’d expect and the addition of some Cabernet Sauvignon balances everything out perfectly.
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Mission Codename: Papa’s Best!
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire an exclusive allocation of an exceptional Tre Bicchiere Super Tuscan
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Fattoria Le Fonti
Wine Subject: 2006 Fontissimo Toscano IGT Super Tuscan
Winemaker: Vicky Schmitt-Vitali
In just the last decade, Super Tuscans became the latest rage in Italian wine in the United States, however, their story goes back to the late 1940s when the famed Sassicaia wine was reportedly made by Incisa della Rochetta using Cabernet Sauvignon vines from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, or so the legend goes. Now Super Tuscans are the ‘Bordeaux’ of West-Central Italy, expertly blended with Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and often Merlot, Colorino and other local grape varietals.
Today’s selection was awarded the Tre Bicchiere, one of the highest honors given to fine Italian wine. The 2006 vintage was also an exceptional year. This selection of 65% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for that special occasion, gift or to enjoy with the best of friends and family.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and dark ruby with garnet hues and a dark and dense but clear heart. Dark ruby and garnet along the meniscus and when swirled this slightly more viscous wine leaves widely spaced legs that streak down the edge of the glass and are followed by slower legs that hang before creeping down the glass.
Smell – Rich aromas of zesty red and black fruit including Italian cherry, blackberry and red plum are balanced over a complex toasted oak component that shows creamy vanilla. Black licorice, hot spice a touch of smoke and dusty earthy notes blends with a hint of green herbaceousness.
Feel – Very smooth but also study, this well developed full-bodied wine is dry, expansive and warm in its attack, finely etched but firm tannins, vibrant zesty acidity and dusty textured minerality to add to its complexity.
Taste – Great balance between its tangy and zesty red (cherry and ripe plum) and ripe black fruits (blackberry) with toasted and smokey oak that is still present but doesn’t overpower along with a touch of hot exotic spice. Layers of vanilla, black licorice along with herbal and mineral components linger.
Finish – Extremely long and smooth and clean with its tannins, minerality and acidity tightly woven grasping the fruit, oak and spice for several minutes.
Conclusion – The 2006 Fattoria Le Fonti Fontissimo Toscano IGT Super Tuscan is an exceptionally delicious wine with great muscular structure and all the classic Italian aromas and flavors that you’d expect from a top shelf Super Tuscan. Sturdy but with great finesse, this is the kind of wine that can make any meal a special and elegant occasion. Pair with pan grilled ribeye seasoned with rosemary, garlic, seasalt and olive oil. Enjoy now (after decanting or letting open for at least 30 minutes) or cellar for ten years, perhaps longer.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Vicky Schmitt-Vitali, born in Germany in June 1973, education in Switzerland, England and France before moving to Italy.
WINE EDUCATION: Mostly “learning by doing” paired with many courses on various subjects of winemaking & vineyards in different European countries and wine regions. – and a lot of tasting and listening to others.
WINE JOB BRIEF: Everything – we are a small family winery. And everything needs to be done by ourselves (and by everything I mean everything – office, cellar, vineyard, bottling, tasting with tourists…)
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Winemaking needs passion and love and some room for trial and error to find out exactly what you want and how you are going to get there.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Life is too short to drink bad wine”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: March 2001
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Vicky. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Fontissimo Toscano IGT Super Tuscan today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
VICKY: My pleasure – it is always wonderful for a tiny winery like ours to get noticed abroad.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your
love of wine?
VICKY: My father was and still is greatly passionate about wines and taught all of us children from an early age about wines from all over the world, but I did not quite understand how difficult it could be in fact to make really good wine. Winemaking I only really started to understand and learn about when my father started living out his dream of making his own wine in the early 90s’ here in Italy. At first I only joined him for harvest and wine fairs, but then something clicked and the puzzle fell into place.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
VICKY: There is a collection of wines from different countries that really move me and get me excited every time I try them. But I also know that I never will be able to make a great Pinot Noir or white wine here in my area with this soil, so I stick to those that grow best on my terrain. Sangiovese can be quite difficult and at the same time can give you so much satisfaction and different tastes that it is quite wonderful to work with. For Sangiovese I like the opposites one can get from this great grape – the hint of spices to the fruity blackberries and cherries all paired with the necessary acidity to make you ask for more. For Sangiovese wines from our area I admire many styles like the almost pale, elegant Chianti Classico of Paolo de Marchi (Isole Olena) compared to the still elegant but powerful big Sangiovese in Giovanni Mannetti’s Flaccianello (Fontodi).
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
VICKY: My family & friends – and anyone who loves great Chianti’s.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
VICKY: The wine you feature today, Fontissimo 2006, we (my husband Guido and I) make especially for my father who started the winery and in the beginning only made Fontissimo and Riserva Chianti Classico. Anything under that quality level he did not bottle but sold in bulk – he really followed his dream of making HIS wine and the style he wanted. Fontissimo we call “Papa’s Best” and in fact over the years that title has stuck with clients and many come back or email asking for Papa’s Best instead of Fontissimo. It is an elegant Supertuscan blend made with our best Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot all grown sustainable in our own vineyards. The Fontissimo ages for nearly 2 years in french oak barriques before being bottled and left for another year to age in the bottle and then finally released to the market. It is full bodied, balanced with elegance and finesse and with ripe dark fruit in the taste. Perfect for a special evening or to meditate over.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
VICKY: Personally I love a good roast or steak with the Fontissimo. Wild boar stew and many game dishes also taste incredibly well with it. If you like cheeses, try a selection of young and aged Pecorino cheeses or some Gorgonzola with it – quite delicious.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Fontissimoso from the Chianti region special?
VICKY: The Chianti Classico region is one of the oldest winemaking regions in Italy but for a long time had been neglected and degraded to low quality wines. In the past 20 years, the region has seen a huge revival and new plantings and better winemaking have brought the wines back from the dead. Still there is a huge variety of wines even in my own neighborhood, but nowhere else does Sangiovese taste like in Tuscany and especially Super Tuscans and Chianti Classico.
We are about 300 Chianti Classico wineries, big and small, in this region all making a wine based on Sangiovese. But each of us makes it slightly different, if 100% Sangiovese or with other grapes added (be it Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or one of the old indigenous ones like Canaiolo, Ciliegino, etc) or using different barrels for the aging. – there is such a wide variety out there that there is a wine for everyone and it is always exciting to taste the new vintages again the year afterwards since no year is ever the same. And no matter what style or quality – you will always be able to tell that it is a Sangiovese from the Chianti Classico area.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
VICKY: We just finished all our 2010 blends which are getting their aging spots now in the various barrels. And we are preparing for the bottling of our Rosato 2010 which is being released at the end of the month in Europe.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in
VICKY: There is no right or wrong – just drink what you like! The saying “Life is too short to drink bad wine” is so true but most people don’t adhere to it. They don’t eat food they don’t like, but with wine most people are scared or think they don’t know enough and often drink something they don’t really like just because they bought it or got influenced by scores. As with food tastes vary and so be bold and try as much as you possibly can and enjoy those that you really like and don’t drink up the ones you did not like – life is really too short for bad stuff.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
VICKY: :-) just enjoy wine – don’t make it a stressful enterprise with which vintage is right or wrong, just try and enjoy when you find something you like. And don’t always wait for a special occasion – every day is special in itself!
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fattoria Le Fonti can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Tre Bicchiere – Gambero Rosso
3 Stars – Veronelli’s Italian Wine Guide
About This Wine:
Le Fonti Fontissimo was born out of Conrad Schmitt’s passion for oak structured and fruity wines. ‘Papa’s Best,’ as they call it, is characterized by a deep purple and ruby red color and a blackcurrant aroma, with hints of vanilla, black cherry, chocolate, and licorice. The taste is juicy, with ripe black fruit, black cherry, currants, and a creamy finish.
About The Winery:
Halfway between Florence and Siena, in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, lies the small village of Panzano. Just below the village church, at 450 m above sea level, is the Fattoria Le Fonti. Since 1994, the Schmitt-Vitali family has replanted all of the vineyards, taking great care in selecting the right type of plant with the correct root stock; and renovated the cellars, incorporating the latest technology to help them make better and longer lasting wines. The fattoria is small and completely family-run, employing only a couple of outside workers, and they depend on family manpower and taste from the harvest to the final blend. For expert consultation and knowledge, they call on the consultant enologist Dr. Stefano Chioccioli. Le Fonti’s small size and dedicated family involvement allow for meticulous care of the vineyard, ensuring that only the best fruits reach the cellar and only the finest blends get bottled in the end.
About The Vineyards:
Le Fonti’s vineyards are situated just below the village of Panzano, resembling a horseshoe-shape around the winery. Since 1994 all the vineyards have been replanted with selected rootstocks and plants adapted to our area, elevation and soil type.
The vineyards are farmed sustainably to save the integrity of the environment. We strongly believe that a great wine starts in the vineyard and thus take meticulous care of our vines and select only the best grapes for the cellar.
The vineyards are planted on a mixed soil of gravel, schist, limestone, sand and clay – a soil mixture also known as Galestro. The composition of soil differs throughout the property and our vines are planted to use this to their best advantage.
The Merlot vineyard, for example, is in a place where we used to have Sangiovese but due to the high content of clay and sand this soil made the growing of Sangiovese often difficult and the grapes suffered especially after heavy rains. For the Merlot in the same spot these problems are almost non-existent and it proved to be an excellent choice to let nature help itself.
Overall we have almost 85% Sangiovese vines, with the remainder equally divided between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Appelation: Toscana I.G.T.
Varietals: 65% Sangiovese 35% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: Aged in new French oak barriques for up to 20 months.