Here as part of the Local Living experience hosted by G Adventures, a wine tasting stop here is viewed as a vital portion of the package.
Like many families the three brothers specialise in different disciplines; one brother, Valerio, took us through a little olive oil tasting (regretting not buying a bottle to bring home to be honest) while another – Riccardo – handles the wine side of things.
Opening with the ‘basic’ wines he was almost apologetic at their simplicity. Personally I found them a delight; no idea of price at the time (the top of the range comes in at a very reasonable €20 cellar door) but to a bottle these ‘lesser’ wines were lovely, offering a balanced richness, a true regional acidic streak in the RI.VA.LE Chianti and a touch riper, softer palate to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
The ‘step-up’ gave us the Fontanelle Ri.Va.Le. Chianti Riserva 2007. Chianti being so ubiquitous I tend to overlook it, especially in light of the thin, sharp renditions I’ve experienced in the past. With the Riserva a resurgence of interest as this wine, that uses the same grapes as the standard Chianti, demonstrated what a little extra aging can do to a wine. There is still the underpinning luscious fruit but it is melded with a mellower shell and added complexity. Stunning with a plate of meats – made by the third brother Valerio – including fennel tinged salami, prosciutto and lardo.
The star though was Riccardo’s dalliance; the Fontanelle super-Tuscan the Stiglianses 2007. So good I came home with a bottle. The concentration and richness here is very compelling. A surprise though that the Agricola Fontanelle Stiglianses II 2007, to give the wine its full name, is a 100% Sangiovese wine, with not a touch of foreign interlopers to sully the pure Tuscan expression (or some such…).
Tasting over – the non-wine experts in the group having grown glassy eyed with my more technical enquiries – a return to the Agritourismo and a chance to relish the Stiglianese with some sizzling steak… locally reared, obviously.