FOGLIA TONDA is an ancient red Tuscan wine grape variety related to Sangiovese and apparently native to Chianti Classico, having first been described in the vineyards of Castello di Brolio in the township (‘comune’) of Gaiole in Chianti in 1877 by Di Rovasenda (D’Agata, 2014). In 1964, Breviglieri and Casini described Foglia Tonda vines they found in the extreme east of the neighbouring (to Gaiole) township of Castelnuovo Berardenga, in a locality there called Arceno (D’Agata, 2014). A parent-offspring relationship between Foglia Tonda and Sangiovese was suggested by Crespan et. al (D’Agata, 2014).

National registry code number | 82.

Not to be confused with Fojo Tonda, another round-leafed grape.

Characteristics | Maurizio Castelli (2014) describes Foglia Tonda as ‘very late ripening, with a wide, round leaf [or ‘foglia tonda’ in Italian] and round, small berries, a good coloring capacity and captivating aromas.’ Ian D’Agata (2014) says Foglia Tonda’s bunch is medium-sized, pyramidal, with round berries and ‘plenty of bloom’ but as the internode spacings are wide it means there are few leaves, hence deleafing must be undertaken with care. Autumn rain can make the berries rupture, according to Stefano Dini (D’Agata, 2014). In addition, bunches are compact which makes ignoble rot (Botrytis cinera) ‘a real problem in wet autumns’ (D’Agata, 2014, p290). The source of clonal selections made by the Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo (VCR) was budwood collected from Fattoria del Colle in the Orcia DOC (D’Agata, 2014). See also the Mannucci Droandi estate in Chianti Classico. 

Where grown | Permitted in the Tuscan provinces of Pisa, Firenze (Florence), and Siena.

Wine style | Compared to Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda is said to have similar if darker colours, softer acidity and smoother tannins, making it potentially useful as both a stand-alone varietal wine or as part of a blend (D’Agata, 2014). Typical flavours are red currant, dried plums, cinnamon, and tobacco (D’Agata, 2014).

WINERIES

Certified organic | Fattoria del Colle. | Mannucci Droandi.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Crespan, M., A. Calò, S. Giannetto, A. Sparachio, P. Storchi, and A. Costacurta. 2008. ‘Sangiovese and Garganega are two key varieties of the Italian grapevine assortment evolution’, in Vitis 47 (2).

Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014), p298-291.

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p175-6.

Maurizio Castelli 2014, Enogea, ‘Maurizio Castelli, il sangiovese e il Chianti Classico. Intevista vintage,’ interview 21 January 2014 by Francesco Falcone for Enogea (enogea.it).

Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).