I distinctly remember visiting the Tuscan wine country back in the early 1980’s when Cabernet, Merlot or Franch barrique were not politically correct to talk about. Many vintners had them planted & made wines using all of the above…..they just did not talk about it so much publically. Fortunately for me…..on that particular trip…….our “tour guide”……..was superstar oenologist Vittorio Fiore, who gave us very practical, highly informative insight into this “quiet” wine revolution that was perculating down in the cellars underneath the otherwise peaceful, serene Tuscan countryside.
When the Cabernets & other Super Tuscans finally came out of the closet….too many were overdone, over oaked & too internationalized to say the least. While some proved to be hits…….the question became….”how many of these taste Italian?”
If that same question was asked today, it would be a very different answer. Yes, the pendulum has thankfully swung back in many cases.
1997 Montevertine “Le Pergole Torte”
Montevertine is undoubtedly one of the iconic wineries out of Tuscany. Located in Radda at roughly 1300 feet elevation, this beautiful estate was purchased by owner Sergio Manetti in 1967. Le Pergola Torte is a 2 hectare parcel planted in 1968, facing north by northeast….& only a selection of the best Sangioveto grapes is used to make this wine. It is then aged 12 months in Slavonian oak & then 12 months in barrique. I have been a HUGE fan after my first taste back in the 1980’s. Why? Because it smells & feels Italian…..with great class & sophistication…BUT definitely…Italian!!! Bravo
1997 Castello di Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo”
Here is another superstar Tuscan…this time from an estate located in Panzano & Conca d’Oro (& its calcareous-marl, rocky soils, with south to southeast exposure at 1140 feet elevation)). 1996 was the debut of this special wine, which was made under the watchful eye of superstar consultant Giacomo Tachis (of Sassicaia & Tignanello fame). The 1997 was 85% Cabernet Sauvignon & 15% Petite Verdot…..aged 12 months in barrique. If I were to taste this wine blind, I would have said it was Bordeaux….with the lead pencil/graphite smells of Pauillac…with deep, resounding, masculine character, great breed & sophistication. VERY impressive!!!