The estate purchased and developed by the brothers Domiziano and Dino Manetti was once literally dirt cheap, but has now blossomed into an area worthy of a special trip. If not for the scenic views and rolling hills of vineyards, you might go just to try the wine.
Dirt Cheap Vineyard
In 1968, the two Manetti brothers found a terrific bargain on a 220-acre estate Chianti region of Italy. For the equivalent of $22,000 today, the brothers purchased an existing vineyard that had fallen into disrepair and was greatly in need of work. This particular region of Italy had grown in disfavor with wine drinkers primarily because of the poor wines served in bottles more useful for candleholders in cheap restaurants.
However, with hard work and dedication, these two brothers sought to change all that.
The 220 acre estate is located in a prime location. It is situated in the heart of the Chianti Classico region along the Chianti Road south of Siena. The Fontodi vineyards had a superior elevation providing plenty of rain as well as a western facing exposure bringing cool sea breezes. These factors both contribute to the flavor of the wine today.
But in 1968, despite the terrific location and the vision for the future, there was a tremendous amount of work to do. To bring the vineyards up to production level, everything from the farm buildings to the plants themselves had to be restored. Between 1969 and 1974, the vineyard was completely replanted and all buildings and machinery were improved or restored. This was the beginning of today’s world-class winery.
In 1968, Chianti wines might have had a bad reputation, but today they are known the world over for their traditional character and great flavor both young and aged. Just one of many wineries in the area, Fontodi wines have a wide range of styles and flavors.
With four red wines, including a Super Tuscan, white wine, a limited production dessert wine and excellent olive oil as well, there is great reason to visit the vineyard. Of course, you might have to write and request a private tour as the estate isn’t open for visitors, but that is a small matter to stand in your way of some of Italy’s most affordable, yet delicious wines.