Situated in the very heart of Chianti, the history of the hilltop hamlet of Montevertine dates back to the 11th century, when it was first inhabited as a rural fortress. Traces of the original construction remained when Sergio Manetti acquired the estate in 1967 as a vacation home for his family. Wanting to make wine for family and friends, Signor planted two hectares of vineyards and built a small cantina. Releasing his first vintage in 1971 to great praise, Signor soon decided to expand production and devote himself to producing wine at his magnificent estate.
Recognizing the significance of Sangiovese, Signor Manetti focused his production almost exclusively on the grape. Upon the Chianti Classico consortium's incorporation of Trebbiano in 1981, Montevertine left the consortium, thereby forgoing the Chianti Classico denomination. While in time the powers that be recognized the wisdom of Manetti’s stance, Montevertine remains to this day outside the consortium, simply labeling its wines “Rosso di Toscana.” Because of these circumstances, Montevertine is frequently, but erroneously, included in the category of Super Tuscan wine. In fact, Montevertine’s policy of strict reliance on Sangiovese with a small complement of Colorino and Canaiolo is in direct contradiction to the approach of the Super Tuscan group of wines which purposely include non-local grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot in their blends. Despite the formal lack of the appellation, Montevertine is one of the rare examples of a true Chianti Classico.
Recent years have seen a generational shift at the Montevertine estate with the passing of Sergio Manetti, Giulio Gambelli (the estate’s oenologist for many years, and a fierce proponent of the Sangiovese grape), and most recently Bruno Bini (the cellarmaster). Montevertine is now in the hands of Martino Manetti, son of Sergio, and Paolo Salvi, Gambelli’s protégée, both of whom remain dedicated to the style and philosophy of their forebears. This seamless transition has ensured that Montevertine’s tradition of excellence will be carried far into the future.
There are 18 hectares of vineyards at Montevertine, 90% of which are planted to the Sangiovese grape with the remaining vineyards dedicated to Colorino and Canaiolo. The vineyards are divided into nine separate parcels with the oldest vines planted in the Pergole Torte Vineyard in 1968. After a manual harvest, the wines are fermented in large (150hl) cement tanks for at least 25 days. The wine is pumped over and the cap submerged daily to create optimum conditions for a long and slow extraction. The malolactic fermentation also occurs in large volume cement tanks before it is racked into Slavonian oak barrels that range in size from 5 ½ to 18 hectoliters capacity. The wines are bottled without filtration and then held in bottle for at least six months prior to release.
"Martino Manetti is riding a string of very good to exceptional vintages. They [the wines] are positively thrilling. The 2017 growing season brought with it significant challenges. Frost on the lower hillsides, and therefore reduced yields in the field were compounded by grapes with very little juice for a net loss of 40% of the potential crop. 2016 was a much more balanced and classic year. Harvest started on October 6, as opposed to September 25 in 2017, and produced some of the most viscerally thrilling, breathtaking wines I [Antonio Galloni] have ever tasted here, or anywhere, for that matter."
"I was quite taken with the wines I tasted at Montevertine this year. The 2014 Montevertine and Le Pergole Torte have turned out beautifully. Harvest took place between October 8 and 19, which is very late even by the standards of this traditionally late-ripening sector in Chianti Classico. The 2015 Pian del Ciampolo is one of many overachieving wines in this vintage, while the 2015 and 2016 Montevertine and Pergole Torte are wines that captivate all the senses with their sheer beauty and promise for the future."
"Do you want the good news or the less than good news first? Starting with the positive, 2013 is shaping up to be a magnificent, perhaps even epic, vintage at Montevertine. The 2013s are sublime. Warm days and cool nights were ideal for the gradual ripening of Sangiovese that can produce truly magical wines at this small property in Radda. Vintage 2012 was another story entirely. Late season weather was hot, humid and damp. Far from ideal, to say the least. Rain during harvest was the proverbial nail in the coffin for what has turned out to be an average vintage at Montevertine. In response to the delicate grapes, proprietor Martino Manetti opted for shorter maceration times. Production is down, most notably for the Pergole Torte, where rigorous selection took with it 30% of the potential yield. Still, there is no denying that an average vintage at Montevertine is the equivalent of a top year at so many properties."
Gambero Rosso 2012
"A veritable stylistic paradigm for an entire area, distinguishing themselves for what is probably one of the finest interpretations of Sangiovese in the whole of Tuscany. The Montevertine style is unmistakable in its effortless originality and balance. This is a cellar that stands at the absolute summit of Italian winemaking."