Suvereto, one of the warmer micro-climates on the Tuscan coast just south of Bolgheri, is an area that is relatively new to many. Despite its long winemaking and farming history going back as far as 1000 AD, the Suvereto DOC was only officially recognized in 2000. Set in the fertile Val di Cornia, clay soils and proximity to the sea give an intensity to the flavors, producing ripe and direct wines typically made from Cabernet, Merlot, and the local Sangiovese.
In 1998, Fabio Chiarelotto purchased the Montepeloso estate. Though the vineyard was already well-renowned, Chiarelotto saw the potential of the site and chose to take the necessary steps to make the vineyard even better. Retraining, pruning, and even re-grafting many vines, Fabio was committed to perfection, pulling up thousands of low quality vines and replacing them with varietals more suited to the windy warmth of Suvereto.
Chiarelotto admits that it’s “easy to produce concentrated wines in such a hot climate but it’s much harder to achieve elegance and finesse.” Experimenting with blending every vintage, Montepeloso wines are made with many of the common varieties found in Tuscany. The Gabbro is composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Nardo, Eneo and A Quo include many local and rare varietals such as Montepulciano(an indigenous Italian grape), Alicante Bouschet(a dark-red grape cultivated from Grenache and Petit Bouschet), and Marselan(a Southern France varietal cultivated from Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache). With these blends, offered here today, Chairelotto has found a mix of varieties that he feels express the spirit of Suvereto and Montepeloso.
Montepeloso A Quo Suvereto Toscana 2011 ($24.95) $17.70 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “Once again, Montepeloso’s entry-level A Quo is fabulous. I expected to find a rich, powerful wine given the year, instead the 2011 A Quo is fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. Hints of raspberry jam, rose petals and sweet spices literally jump from the glass. The 2011 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is a terrific showing from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($44.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2008 Eneo literally sparkles on the palate with vibrant red fruit, freshly cut flowers and spices. It shows remarkable tension and delineation all the way through to the resonant finish. This is a striking wine in every way. Floral notes reappear on the finish, along with iron, smoke and ferrous notes, all of which add considerable complexity. This is a dazzling effort from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto. It is composed of 40% Montepulciano, 35% Sangiovese, 15% Marselan and 10% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($49.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 95 points ”The 2009 Eneo is impressive for its sensual personality and overall finesse. Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice, tobacco and flowers all come together beautifully in the glass as this refined, elegant wine shows off its pedigree. Layers of flavor build to the textured, suave finish. This Sangiovese-based red has maintained considerable freshness and vibrancy. Sweet floral and spiced notes linger on the understated finish. The blend is 45% Sangiovese, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Marselan and 5% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points ”One of the great wines of this vintage, the 2010 Eneo is dazzling. Subtle hints of earthiness, new leather, smoke, bacon fat, tobacco and savory herbs meld into a core of expressive dark red/black fruit. Nuanced and delicate, yet immensely powerful, the 2010 Eneo has it all. The 2010 keeps getting better and better in the glass. I imagine it will be spectacular in another few years. Actually, it already is. Eneo is the largest production of Montepeloso’s three top reds, which will make it easier to find. Readers will not want to miss the superb wine. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the core of Eneo, while dollops of Alicante and Marsellan round out the blend.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($179.95) $139 special
Wine Advocate 94 points ”The 2009 Gabbro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is impeccable and refined from start to finish. This isn’t a vintage built on structure, as has been the case in the recent past, but rather a wine that impresses for its silky tannins, expressive aromatics, and overall finesse. The 2009 is quite feminine and gracious in style, but there is plenty of underlying tannin and fruit. In exchange, the 2009 should drink well earlier than some of the other, more important vintages that precede it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($199.95) $149 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Gabbro, Montepeloso’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is all about texture. Today the flavors are completely unevolved, instead it is the wine’s towering presence and sheer personality that stand out most. With time in the glass hints of melted road tar, graphite, smoke and incense gradually being to emerge. An exotic melange of savory herb nuances melt into veins of salinity frame the finish. Readers will have to be patient with the 2010, but it is a jewel of a wine.”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($139.95) $109 special
Wine Advocate 96 points ”The 2008 Nardo explodes on the palate with wild dark cherries, spices, licorice, cassis and leather. Dark and powerful, yet supremely elegant, the Nardo impresses for its exceptional balance and purity. The fruit literally wraps around the palate in a stunning, radiant expression of pure class. Sweet mentholated and floral notes add the final layers of depth and complexity in this superb wine (45% Montepulciano, 45% Sangiovese, 10% Marselan). Anticipated maturity: 2015- 2028”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($149.95) $119 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A wine that conquers all the senses, the 2010 is also massively structured. Still, the potential I sensed from barrel is all there in the glass. Rich, dark and powerful, the 2010 Nardo is one of the more intense wines in the range and is likely to require considerable patience. Dark red/black fruit, melted road tar, tobacco, licorice, cloves and cracked pepper linger on the potent, brooding finish. The Eneo is distinguished in the range for its firm, nervous tannin. Give the 2010 another few years in bottle, then drink to age 20, perhaps beyond. Nardo is 50% Montepulciano, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Marsellan.”