Thursday Vinopolpick- October 10

October 10, 2013

A warm, medieval Italian village named Suvereto houses Fabio Chiarelotto’s  Montepeloso Estate.  The village overlooks the Mediterranean near the center of Tuscany’s coast not far from the famous village of Bolgheri.  A small valley funnels warm ocean breezes from the nearby coast to the hills around the Cornia River.  Suvereto looks much like it did for the past 1,000 years; replete with ancient churches and stone buildings.  But today, the village and the surrounding area also hosts not only Montepeloso, but also many other elite wineries including Tua Rita and Petra.
In an effort to improve further upon a rising star, Fabio Chiarelotto purchased Montepeloso in 1998.  Chiarelotto is a Swiss-Italian historian interested in wine-making.  Bolgheri, the nearby rebel village of Tuscany, fascinated him because of its concern for quality and terroir over strict tradition.The Montepeloso Estate rests above the Tua Rita Estate, which has heavier clay soil.  Montepeloso’s soil is composed of petrified clay and chalky gravel, which is looser and faster draining. Chiarelotto altered vineyard management to better reflect terroir by replanting and retraining vines along the hills surrounding Suvereto.  Low quality vines were replaced with more appropriate cultivars and international varieties. The warm climate can threaten overripeness and imbalance, so heat is guarded against. Sangiovese is the dominate grape in the Bolgheri and Suvereto area, blended with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.  Rich, soft tannins are developed in the IGT and DOC wines, most often aged in French barriques (225 liter oak casks).

Montepeloso wines(left to right): A Quo, Eneo, Nardo, and Gabbro
Chiarelotto produces four cuvees.  His A Quo is his entry-level bottling, and the 2011 has ripe, rich fruit and floral flavors.  Eneo delights with a blend featuring Sangiovese.  Here, we see savory smoke, floral notes and lush red fruits.  With his Gabbro label, Chiarelotto shows us a Suvereto Cabernet Sauvignon to rival Sassicaia.  Silky tannins, heady aromatics, and long ageing potential are all there from the over 35 year old vines.  Nardo (Tuscan for lavender) captures Sangiovese at its darkest with a dash of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon: rich tar, earth, and dark cherries are common among his vintages.  The newly released 2011/2010s are arriving here today, and we’ve also a few older vintages that have been cellared here since original release:
Montepeloso A Quo Toscana Suvereto 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 2008 ($179.95) $99 special only 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2008 Gabbro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is the only wine among these 2008s that isn’t up to its usual level. It is a classy, polished wine laced with dark fruit, grilled herbs and tobacco, but comes across as a touch diluted relative to other recent vintages. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($179.95) $139 special only 6 bottles available
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 only 12 bottles available
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 2004 ($109.95) $79 special only 2 bottles available 
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2004 Nardo (mostly Sangiovese with some Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon) offers a more intense set of dark cherry, tobacco and scorched earth flavors on a structured, expansive frame with notable concentration, ripeness and richness. Highly enjoyable now, it should drink well for another decade. Anticipated maturity 2007-2016.”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($139.95) $109 special only 3 bottles available
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 only 6 bottles available
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.”