Fattorie Giannozzi Wines, Marcialla, Tuscany (22/9/2011)

Fattorie Giannozzi is a small family-owned and run Fattorie that can trace winemaking in a direct line since 1710.  Situated about halfway between Siena and Florence their vineyards lie in the district of Barberino Val d’Elsa which itself is just 2km from the edge of the Chianti Classico region.  The grapes here are grown without the use of fertilizers etc though they (sensibly) reserve the right to intervene when absolutely necessary.  There are 180 hectares in total with 35 hectares being vineyards. 
The ancient farmhouse (you can stay there is you wish) dates from the 16th century, though Marcialla has grown to the extent that it now sits on the edge of the main square!  Two ancient olive presses lurk in the cellar alongside a selection of old agricultural tools displayed on the wall like instruments of torture. 
Instruments of torture?
Hidden in the corner is a small door leading to a treasure trove of old historic vintages on which several generations of spiders had woven their protective silky blanket; there are bottles here dating back several generations!
The "Library" at Fattorie Giannozzi
Our tasting here was done as part of a Tuscan meal and commenced with, unusually for Tuscany, a Chardonnay.  The 2010 Chardonnay from Fattorie Giannozzi is clean and fresh with a note of lemon and pear on its easy, attractive nose.  In the mouth it is apple-fresh and crisp with citrus acidity.  It’s not available in the UK however, and one can understand why when it would sell for around £11 – after all, you can buy decent Macon for that sort of money.
The 2009 Chianti Colli Fiorentini Villa Marcialla is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.  It is fermented in stainless steel and sees no oak.  The nose is all ripe cherry and damson with the damson and an attractive hint of grape skin astringency following through to the palate.  It really needs food to show it at its best.  The selection of proscuitto, salami, olives, breads and salads we ate with it certainly did the job well!
These wines worked better with food....
The 2007 Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva Villa Marcialla is also a 90/10 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot and sees 24-30 months in French oak (18, 20 and 25hl barrels though – not barriques).  Certainly there is evident oak on the nose though the ripe cherry and damson fruit still shows through.  The palate is rounder, fuller and more savoury than the 2009 straight Chianti, and the finish longer with lingering notes of vanilla.
Fattorie Giannozzi also make a straight Merlot and a straight Cabernet Sauvignon neither of which are brought into the UK; presumably for the same reason as the Chardonnay.  Both are sound wines though.  The 2006 Merlot has gentle round chocolate notes and is ripely fruity in the mouth.  It’s something of an international wine and, whilst sound enough, could almost come from anywhere which sort of misses the point when you’re in the middle of Italy.  The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is very minty on the nose and actually tasted of spearmint leaves with fleshy blackcurrant fruit.  Again, it is sound enough and perfectly enjoyable, but something of a homeless wine.
Giannozzi’s Vin Santo di Chianti was super though.  Very intense and almost sherry-like in flavour it has a sweet nuttiness on the palate and a long powerful finish.
We can obtain the following wines from Fattorie Giannozzi should you be interested – please contact us for details:
2006 Villa Marcialla Chianti Colli Fiorentini  £9.95
2005 Villa Marcialla Chianti Colli Fiorentini  Riserva  £12.95
Vintages and prices correct as at 12th October 2011 

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