The Wine: Le Pergole Torte 2018
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte 2018 is a red natural wine made from 100% Sangiovese grapes from Radda in Chianti, Tuscany, Central Italy. It is produced primarily from a two hectare vineyard planted in 1968 exclusively to Sangiovese vines with a north-northeast exposure. The wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 18 months and then racked into small French oak (Allier) barrels for the final six month stage of its elevage.
The Producer: Montevertine
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, Signor 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 Signor Manetti was 1971 and was received with great praise for its quality. Shortly thereafter, Signor Manetti abandoned his principal activity to devote himself to producing wine at his magnificent estate.
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.
Indeed, walking along the ridge which bisects their vineyards like a spinal column, it is easy to inhabit the ancients’ conception of Pācina as a holy place, so unmarked are these sensuously rolling hills by obvious signs of modern life. In true polycultural fashion, only 11 of the estate’s 65 hectares are planted to vines; the rest comprise olive trees, various crops such as chickpeas and spelt, uncultivated fields, and unadulterated woodlands. Vines are tended without any chemical interference, and Giovanna and Stefano use exclusively massal selection for new plantings, which are done vine by vine rather than in large swaths. There is, of course, plenty of Sangiovese; there is also Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo, Trebbiano, Malvasia di Chianti, and a touch of Syrah. Vegetation is allowed to freely flourish everywhere on the property.
All movement of the wine is by gravity and the wine is never pumped, in accordance with the traditional methods of the region. The wines are bottled without filtration and then held in bottle for at least six months prior to release.
The Region: Tuscany
Tuscany, Toscana in Italian, even more so than Piedmont, is the Italian region that has become a synonym with Italian wine worldwide. Its signature rolling hills, cypress trees, winding country roads, and medieval hilltop hamlets have been glamorized by countless films, TV shows, and publications, making Tuscany one of the most famous wine regions in the world.
Tuscany is situated in central Italy, delimitated to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Apennine Mountains – more specifically the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano. It borders with Liguria and Emilia-Romagna (north), Umbria and Marche (east), and with Lazio (south). The capital of Tuscany is Florence.
The Terroir of Tuscany
In Tuscany, there are several microclimates which contribute to different terroirs. This is particularly evident if we look at the different styles of Sangiovese: cooler areas Sangiovese such as in Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino to, and warmer area Morellino di Scansano.
Generally speaking, the climate varies from temperate and generally warm on the coast to cooler, with significant temperature variations between day and night inland, getting progressively warmer as we move south.
The Red Wines of Tuscany
Tuscany is home of the most widely planted red grape varietal in Italy, Sangiovese, which is present in a variety of clones with different names based on location. Classic Tuscan red wines Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Morellino di Scansano are made respectively with Sangiovese Grosso or Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino.
Chianti is also made with Sangiovese, grown all over the Chianti region, traditionally blended with indigenous red grapes Colorino and Canaiolo – although in recent years Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have also been used.
The coastal area around the town of Bolgheri, and more recently the southwestern area called Maremma Toscana, is where Super Tuscans find their home. Super Tuscan wines are blends including non-indigenous varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Syrah.
These French grape varietals are often blended with local Sangiovese, but we also have several examples of non-blended Super Tuscans.
The White Wines of Tuscany
In Tuscany we can also find great examples of white wines, Vernaccia di San Giminiano being the most characteristic, and sweet wines – Vin Santo, Aleatico Passito dell’Elba.
Trebbiano Toscano is the most widely planted white grape varietal but in recent years we have seen an increase in popularity of Vermentino and in some areas Chardonnay.