Montevertine Pian del Ciampolo 2021

£48.95

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“The 2021 Pian del Ciampolo is silky, elegant and gracious, all of which make it a fine choice for drinking now and over the next 10-15 years. Despite the warm vintage, the 2021 captures the finesse and elegance of Radda in spades. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s natural richness. The 2021 will be very appealing to drink early, but it has the stuffing to age. Drinking window: 2026-2036. 92 points

Martino Manetti excelled in both 2020 and 2021. The 2020s are shaping up to be modern-day classics. They offer a stunning mix of precision and power, tempered by a more moderate growing season. The 2021s are a bit richer but also show tremendous harmony. I tasted all the 2021s from cask after a first blending of all the lots.

As has been the case for a number of years, I continue to be impressed by the Montevertine, a wine that sometimes gets less attention than the flagship Pergole Torte. This is the first year that benefits from the inclusion of a new vineyard at the other end of town that was previously leased by Istine. Not much has changed here in terms of winemaking. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in cement, using indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation follows, also in cement. The wines are racked off their lees and racked into oak in the early part of the following year. Montevertine spends two years in cask, whereas Pergole Torte sees a year in French oak barrique followed by a year in cask.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (08/23)

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.

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