Montevertine Pian del Ciampolo 2020
“The 2020 Pian del Ciampolo is racy, supple and textured, with lovely up front and plenty of charm. In this vintage, the Pian del Ciampolo is quite generous and forward. It’s a wine of substance that captures the intensity of the year. As a reminder, Pian del Ciampolo is essentially equal parts press wine Montevertine and Pergole Torte and fruit that does not make it into the top two wines. It’s a stellar Pian del Ciampolo. Drinking window: 2024-2035. 92 points
Martino Manetti’s 2019s and 2020s are magnificent. The Montevertine, which has long lived in the shadows of Le Pergole Torte, is quite impressive in both vintages. Because Montevertine is aged exclusively in cask (while Pergole Torte sees a year of barrel and a year in cask), it exudes a feeling of classicism that is especially distinctive. In 2020, Montevertine includes a new parcel on the other side of Radda that seems to add greater richness and weight. Manetti describes 2019 as a year with a regular summer and no excesses. Harvest started on October 5 and lasted 15 days, while picking began about a week earlier in 2020. In tasting, the 2020s show more density and opulence than the 2019s, but both vintages are strong across the board.”
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (07/22)
The first significant date in the history of this estate is 1967, when Martino’s father Sergio (a Milanese whose family had made money in steel) bought the Montevertine estate as a holiday home. At that time, estate was perhaps something of a misnomer, since Signor Manetti’s purchase basically consisted of a ramshackle farmhouse and sixty acres or so of neglected farmland. However, there was one other hidden asset in the form of Bruno Bini, who lived on the estate and who became, in those early days, the owner’s right hand man and cellarmaster. In 1968, about an acre with north/northeastern exposure was planted to Sangiovese. In 1971, the first vintage from this estate was shown at Vinitaly to much acclaim and the first vintage of Le Pergole Torte followed in 1977.
In those distant days, Le Pergole Torte was not 100% Sangiovese – in fact, it did not become so until the 1990 vintage. However, Signor Manetti was a devoted protagonist of Sangiovese and its unique power to express the qualities of its native terroir. This was not, of course, the prevailing wisdom: in fact, regulations forbade the making of 100% Sangiovese wines. Instead, they had to be blended with white grape varieties such as Trebbiano. These strictures led directly to the development of the so-called Supertuscans but Le Pergole Torte is a Super-Sangiovese rather than a Supertuscan. The trajectory of this estate had always been towards making an ever better and purer Sangiovese and one which would best express the individual attributes of Radda, which, at 425 metres above sea level, is one of the highest altitude spots in the Chianti Classico appellation.
Sergio’s philosophy of pure Sangiovese always put at him at odds with the regulatory authorities. In 1981, he stopped producing Chianti Classico and left the DOC. Even when the regulations changed in 1995 and the use of white grape varieties in Chianti was finally banned, he and his wines remained steadfastly outside the DOC. In the early days, Sergio was also helped by Giulio Gambelli, who became his consultant from 1971. Signor Gambelli was one of the main exponents of Sangiovese as a mono-varietal at a time when the rules required blending with white grape varieties. He was also a master taster rather than an oenologist, known in his lifetime as “il grande maestro di Sangiovese” or, more affectionately, as “Il Bicchierino” (Little Glass). Signor Gambelli passed away in January 2012, so the 2011 vintage was his last. Today, the total estate comprises roughly fifty acres, divided into nine parcels. There are three wines: Pian del Ciampolo, Montevertine and Le Pergole Torte.