The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

A Revelation in Three Decades of Montevertine Wines

Posted on | April 23, 2014 | Written by Robin Kelley OConnor | No Comments

Le Pergole Torte 1999Occasionally there are opportunities that arise where I have to pinch myself and say not only was I in the right place at the right time, but also acknowledge how lucky I am to be there. This was the occasion not long ago where I was invited for a Saturday afternoon tasting of one of Italy’s most prestige estates, Montevertine.

Located in the heart of Chianti in the commune of Radda at an altitude of 1400 feet, the lands of Montevertine have produced wine since the 11th century. The modern history of this great winery dates when Sergio Manetti bought Montevertine in 1967. Manetti was born in Milano but moved to Toscana when he was twenty to take over his father’s steel business in Poggibonsi. He sold the steel business when it was at the height of the market and purchased Montevertine, a property of 100 acres and some old rundown farmhouses, and dedicated himself to winemaking until his untimely death in 2000.

Le Pergole Torte 2001Manetti’s personal project was to make the best wines that Tuscany had to offer. From almost the beginning of his tenure of the estate, Manetti engaged the great oenologist Giulo Gambelli to assist in making the wine. In 1971 Manetti released his first Montevertine Chianti Classico and in 1975 a Chianti Classico Riserva. The pièce de résistance came in 1977 with the release of his 100% Sangiovese Super-Tuscan Le Pergole Torte. Upon Sergio Manetti’s death, he passed his wine estate on to his son Martino, his twin daughters Marta and Anna, and Klaus Reimitz, his son-in-law.

The estate is very much dedicated to the Sangiovese grape, with about 90% planted to Sangiovese with the other 10% planted to the indigenous varieties of Canaiolo and Colorino. The estate makes three wines: Montevertine, made of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino aged in Slavonian oak barrels; Le Pergole Torte, made from the best selection of Sangiovese grapes, aged for a year each in in Slavonian oak and in French Allier oak barriques; and the entry-level wine, Pian del Ciampolo, made with the same grapes as Montevertine and aged in Slavonian oak.

Le Pergole Torte 2007Thanks to a chance visit to New York by Klaus Reimitz and through the generosity of a wonderful mutual friend who went deep into his cellar to provide ten vintages of Le Pergole Torte and three of Montevertine Riserva, I had the opportunity to drink the wines with one of their makers. Tasting three decades of excellence side by side with Klaus was a revelation of the inner workings of a great estate. Our host provided the following vintages of Le Pergole Torte: Le Pergole Torte 2008,’07, ’04, ’01; Le Pergole Torte ’99, ’98 (including a ‘98 Montevertine Riserva), ’97, ’93,’92, ’90; and Montevertine 1983.

It was truly a wine lover’s dream to have had the opportunity taste, sip and drink through such a stellar line-up of superbly wonderful wines crafted around the Sangiovese grape. To sum up in a few words, the Le Pergole Torte wines are incredibly rich in flavor with intense fruit aromas, magnificent balance, perfect weight and scale with an indefinable purity. Antonio Galloni has called Le Pergole Torte “one of the world’s elite wines.” Having tasted through this series, it’s clear how right this wine writer is. The wines of Montevertine, particularly its iconic Le Pergole Torte, enshrine the greatness of Sangiovese and the glories of Toscana. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget.

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