2016 Rosso di Montalcino, Scopetone, Tuscany, Italy
Monica Larner - 28/02/2019
About this WINE
This is one of Montalcino’s hidden treasures. Unknown to many, Ferruccio Biondi – credited with “inventing” Brunello – planted his first Sangiovese on the best location he could find in the region. That was not the now-famous Tenuta Greppo estate, however, but rather the Scarnacuoia cru – where we find Podere Scopetone’s vines today.
This tiny, hallowed site, replanted in 1978, gives a taste of the region’s origins. Its soils are some of the area’s oldest due to the exfoliating exposure of this treacherously steep slope. Since local couple Loredana Tanganelli and Antonio Brandi acquired it in 2009, they have given new life and new meaning to Brunello’s original vineyard. They’re building a reputation for making some of the region’s purest, most desirable wines. Their total production is a tiny 2.5 hectares. They farm organically, though you won’t find certification on the label.
Rosso di Montalcino
Rosso di Montalcino is a large Tuscan DOC, to the far south of the Chianti Classico region, which has been classified since 1983.
The wines are fruity, soft, light and forward-maturing. They come from Sangiovesse vines outside the finer Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, harvested at up to 62 hl/ha, or from declassified Brunello fruit (often from young vines) in which case the yield must be the same as Brunello wines, at 55 hl/ha.
A black grape widely grown in Central Italy and the main component of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as well as being the sole permitted grape for the famed Brunello di Montalcino.
It is a high yielding, late ripening grape that performs best on well-drained calcareous soils on south-facing hillsides. For years it was blighted by poor clonal selection and massive overcropping - however since the 1980s the quality of Sangiovese-based wines has rocketed upwards and they are now some of the most sought after in the world.
It produces wines with pronounced tannins and acidity, though not always with great depth of colour, and its character can vary from farmyard/leather nuances through to essence of red cherries and plums. In the 1960s the advent of Super Tuscans saw bottlings of 100% Sangiovese wines, as well as the introduction of Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blends, the most famous being Tignanello.
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Baby Brunello (coming from 17-year-old vines) shows its pedigree with its precision and intensity. Notes of bramble fruit, raspberry and kirsch lead on to a structured palate, but it’s deliciously crunchy thanks to its lively acidity. More approachable than Brunello, this is a lot of fun on the table.
Davy yw, Wine Buyer (winter 2018)
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