Experience the everyday greatness of Montevertine
When most people think of a Super Tuscan, they envision grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot growing across Tuscan hillsides. What you may be surprised to learn, however, is that these international grapes are not necessary in order for a wine to be deemed a Super Tuscan. The term itself relates to any wine does or did not meet the blending criteria or process of the DOC or DOCG region in Tuscany it comes from; therefore it is required to take on a broader designation. This explanation brings us to Montevertine.
In 1971 Sergio Manetti produced the first vintage at Montevertine. Chianti, however, at the time had rulings requiring certain processes and certain grapes in order to receive the designation. But Sergio’s heart had only room for Sangiovese at the time, and his wines could not be designated as Chianti. What followed was the birth of his wine “Le Pergole Torte,” one of the finest examples of Sangiovese to be produced, year in and year out.
That being said, Le Pergole Torte usually runs about $100 a bottle—not what most would consider an everyday wine. This is why I was so excited last week to see that we received Monteverinte 2011 Pian del Ciampolo. I immediately signed myself up for a bottle of this new release, hoping that the excellence of the flagship bottling would remain in the everyday selection.
I was not disappointed. The Pian del Ciampolo was wonderfully vibrant and showed incredible character for a wine that’s just over $30. The wine itself is mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Canaiolo and Colorino (two local grapes) mixed in for good measure. This wine had backbone, yet it managed not to be overly acidic. Bright cherries were prolific on the nose and carried over to the palate as well with lively zip.
Needless to say, I was impressed and I wanted to share my experience with all of you. This is an everyday bottle that you should own oodles—yes, oodles—of to enjoy today, tomorrow and years down the road.
Putting together a four-wine horizontal for under $130.00
One of the satisfying things about working the showroom is that it allows me to connect with clients and to get to know their palates well. A lot of times clients will come in or call and say, “Hey, Camacho, tonight I’m cooking this or that, you know my palate. What do you think I should pair with it?” Knowing that I have built a relationship where they trust me enough to take my recommendations or even just ask me my thoughts makes me feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Sometimes, though, the questions are a little more intricate than what to serve with their favorite artichoke recipe. The other day a client who has just been bitten by the wine bug came in and told me she wanted to do a vertical tasting but was on a tight budget.
Knowing that she has been doing research on the producers and wine styles she likes, I asked her if she knew exactly what a vertical tasting was. I explained that a vertical tasting involves tasting wine from the same producer but from multiple vintages, for example Bartolo Mascarello 2005, 2006, 2007. This is a great way to learn about wine and it helps in identifying a few things like differences in vintages and how they express themselves in the wine, to give an idea of how long a wine will last or, more importantly, to see how a wine has evolved.
Vertical tasting can be costly, and we couldn’t find consecutive vintages of producers she wanted to taste that were in her budget. Then it came to me and I asked her if she had ever attended a horizontal tasting. A horizontal tasting simply means tasting different wines of the same variety and vintage—they can also be from the same wine region. This is a great way to acquire broad-based wine knowledge. Unlike a vertical, a horizontal tasting allows you to explore the similarities and differences within wines of the same year but from different producers or terrior, allowing the exploration of a range of winemaking styles. Most importantly, it’s a great way to identify what styles you personally prefer.
The first thing we needed to do to get started was decide if she wanted to focus on a particular region or on a particular grape variety or blend, as well as settle on the vintage. Choosing the vintage was easy, as we went with what was available, and we decided to stay in the Tuscany region and with the Sangiovesse Grosso, so we put together a nice assortment of Rosso di Montalcino from the 2010 vintage.
Going with the Rossos allowed us to stay well within her budget. My client left to return home with her bottles, very excited to figure out which of the winemakers would suit her personal tastes. She promised to provide me with her tasting notes and thoughts.
Whether you choose to do a vertical or horizontal tasting, whether simple for your enjoyment or sophisticated to impress your friends, we at the IWM showroom can help you put anything together with the budget you have to work with. I love sharing the love of wine.
Two expert selections from Brian Maurice
Today I have chosen two 2011White Burgundies from Domaine Leflaive, a producer who probably needs no introduction as it represents the apex of its category. The thing that most people don’t realize is that, aside from their stellar Grand Crus, they produce wines that are outstanding values and some of the best examples of their appellations. Also a quick note on the 2011 vintage: some have deemed it to be a little difficult, but most of the wines that I have tasted from 2011 suggest that it’s a vintage for wine-lovers who prefer elegance and purity to power and saturation. The wines across the board have been spectacular, and Domaine Leflaive is no exception!
2011 marked the seventh year since Domaine Leflaive implemented biodynamic viticulture in their Macon Verze vineyards, and the results are absolutely stunning. The wine offers supple aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossom, citrus fruits and sweet apricot. It is intense with a somewhat rich palate for a Macon that gives very lively acidity harmonious balance and incredible length. This is a wine that can be enjoyed now in its youth or over the next 5-7 years.
An absolutely explosive nose that needs to be smelled to be believed, this Batard Montrachet offers layers and layers of aromas that unfold in your nose; mind-boggling scents of honey, pineapple, orange marmalade, and ripe apricot intertwine with crushed stone and hibiscus flowers. On the palate, it grips you with its almost oily opulent texture, liquid minerality, beautiful acidity and overall harmony. This is a mind-bending wine that is a joy to taste now, but will age effortlessly and gracefully and will bring many years of enjoyment
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Le Volte 2011
This wine is absolutely stunning in 2011, probably the best I have had since I first drank Le Volte. The Le Volte is the “business card” of Ornellaia, and it will open up your eyes to how strongly committed the estate is to producing high quality, delicious wines year after year. The 2011 is seamless from start to finish: the entry is rich and soft while the mid and back palate are fresh, complex yet forward and stylish, making for a tasty drink that I would imagine myself drinking this for the next 5 to 6 years, with steaks, chops, chicken and anything else that you can put on a grill!
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, located in Bolgheri, the hotbed for fine Super Tuscans, is an estate we know and love for the likes of Merlot sensation Masseto and the estate’s namesake Ornellaia. It is also an estate that can make a value wine of exceptional quality, as Le Volte demonstrates (under $30!). A blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, Le Volte is friendly and inviting, silky-smooth and delightful. All business cards should be as excellent as Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 2011 Le Volte.
A look back at the week that was
We began this week with a look at extra virgin olive oil: what’s special about it, why we love it and how it makes us cough. It’s an EVOO investigation and celebration, in short.
Tuesday, David Klay experimented with a Nebbiolo from Italy’s north, and in the process, discovered a lithe, medium-bodied wine that’s perfect for summer fare and less than $30!
Piqued by our eLetter offer of Pinot Grigios, Emma endeavors to find a Pinot Grigio she likes. Will this self-avowed Red wine lover learn to embrace Italy’s most emblematic White?
And yesterday, Garrett returned from France to share his food with us–in picture form. Four words: hazelnut crusted foie gras.
Our resident experts were busy as well. Perry tried to recapture the magic of his Dominican Republic winter vacation this spring in New York City with Billecart-Salmon and Paolo Bea.
Will looked forward to lunch at the pool and BBQ dinners with two warm-weather wines from Italy, a value Verdicchio and Super-Tuscan great Fontodi Flaccianello.
A pair of unique Italian sparkling wines, both from Lombardia, were at the top of Brian Maurice’s list; he sings the praises of Barone Pizzini and Ca’ del Bosco.
And in our sole Expert departure from Italy, Francesco looks at the many shades of Pinot, chooses the road that leads to Burgundy, and selects two value wines, one from Michel Lafarge and the other from Francois Gaunoux.
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