Montevertine is situated in the heart of the Chianti district about halfway between Florence and Siena, specifically 3 kilometers or so south of Radda in Chianti. Documents attest to the fact that the hilltop hamlet of Montevertine was first inhabited in the 11th century as a rural defensive fortress. There are traces of the original construction on the site today. Sergio Manetti acquired Montevertine in 1967 as a vacation home for his family. Once there, Manetti planted two hectares of vineyards and built a small cantina with the idea of producing some wine for family and friends. The first vintage produced and bottled under the supervision of Manetti was 1971 and was received with great praise for its quality.
Shortly thereafter, Manetti devoted himself to producing wine at his magnificent estate. Having recognized the importance of the Sangiovese grape, Manetti crafted his wines with an almost exclusive reliance on that grape variety. By 1981, due to Manetti’s refusal to incorporate Trebbiano into the Montevertine blend, Montevertine left the Chianti Classico consorzio, thereby forgoing the Chianti Classico denomination. In time the consorzio recognized the wisdom of Manetti’s stance, but Montevertine remains outside the consorzio, 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.
The Montevertine estate is now in the hands of Martino Manetti, son of Sergio, who remains dedicated to the style and philosophy of his father. Martino continues to utilize the wise counsel of Bruno Bini, who was born at Montevertine and whose depth of knowledge of the climate and soil of this unique and formidable estate is unparalleled. The estate sits at an elevation of 425 meters. 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 cuves 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 cuves before it is racked into Slavonian oak barrels that range in size from 5 ½ to 18 hectoliters capacity. The Pergole Torte is ultimately racked into smaller French (Alliers) oak barrels for final six months of its elevage.
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