What once was lost was found again!
Let me explain. In late 2017 I published a series of guest posts on my blog which were all on the theme of Xmas wines or. more exactly, the wines that some wine loving friends were looking forward to enjoying over the festive period. Effi Tsournova was one of those friends and she wrote this guest post on Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2014 (obviously a favourite of mine) and a really good Chianti…but on top of that she arranged for a bottle of the very same Chianti to be sent to me here in Dublin!
But then, I managed to lose the bottle. Misplace is probably a better word than lose, but I just didn’t know where it was, and assumed that it had probably been passed on as a gift to someone else (my wife is very generous with wine). I was relieved and delighted in equal measures when I found the Lord Lucan of bottles tucked away at the back of a wine fridge. Happy days!
Mazzei Castello Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 (14.0%, RRP £49.99 at Cambridge Wine Merchants, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Handford Wines, Whole Foods, Il Toscanaccio, The Vineking, Nickolls & Perks)
Over the past forty years Mazzei have proved that winemaking is a science as well as an art. Their Chianti Classico grapes are sourced from 120 parcels (50 owned) and number 36 different clones of Sangiovese, half of which are exclusive to Fonterutoli. In 2012 the vines ranged from 10 to 25 years old – obviously add 8 to both figures for 2020.
The final blend for 2012 was 92% Sangiovese plus 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino. Maturation was in 225 and 500 litre French oak barrels, 60% new and 40% used.
Compared to the 2015 I tasted recently (more on which soon), the 2012 is already a little lighter in the glass, with ruby tinges on the rim. The nose is complex: red and black cherries, raspberry and blackberry are wrapped in a light vanilla jacket, with highlights of exotic spice and garden herbs. Black fruits are more to the fore on the palate, though the red fruits still linger. The acidity (present, but in no way searing) and tannins (fine, not grippy) that were there on release have softened considerably. This is a fine wine that has entered its peak drinking window.