Tenuta Sette Ponti lies on historic land in the heart of the Chianti zone at the end of the Via del Monte; known locally as the Via di Sette Ponti. The estate is aptly named for the seven medieval bridges that cross the Arno River on the road from Arezzo to Florence. Owner and Entrepreneur Antonio Moretti has steadfastly transformed this 750-acre estate into a multifaceted farm that has become one of Tuscany’s most innovative, quality-driven producers. This determination is manifested in Antonio’s actions which he explained to me simply: “You cannot live only of wine”; for he knows and respects the Italian culture cannot be restricted simply to the harvest of fruit; but also grains, cheese and produce that must be served alongside the wine. For this reason, he strives to produce wines of elegance that marry well at the table.
Tenuta Sette Ponti’s first release was the 1998 Crognolo, named after the wild Cornus bush which grows on the estate. The estate’s second release, Oreno, is named after a small river which meanders through the property. Today, about 150 acres on the estate are planted to vines in soil that characteristically reflects the nature of Tuscany: a mixture of limestone, clay and galestro.
This article focuses on the two most recent releases of each wine, which have both found amazing success in the 2015 vintage. Winemaking at Sette Ponti is a painstaking process. For each wine, yields are reduced to a few clusters per stalk during May in order to assure concentated flavors and maximum quality at harvest. Once in the winery, the grapes are hand sorted and destemmed, and the skins are broken rather than crushed. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of temperature-controlled and lined open-top tanks, with manual punching down of the cap for about 25-days.
The 2015 Sette Ponti Crognolo is a stylish blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. At the time the 2015 vintage was under way, I remember many glowing comments about the weather and the harvest. One funny moment sticks in my mind. I was driving around with Andrea Cecchi and we were discussing the vintage and he looked at me with a warm, almost childish smile, and said “Giovanni, 2015 will be even better than 2010.” He was like a boy on Christmas morning and all indications point to him being correct.
In the glass, this wine is a shimmering violet color through and through. The nose is replete with crushed red cherry and berry, fresh floral perfume, dark cocoa and eucalyptus. On the palate, this refined, elegant wine is full of juicy ripe red cherry notes, dusty chocolate, cypress and roasted nut notes. It’s full bodied and long with silky but notable tannins and a round, lingering chocolate covered cherry finish. Vibrant and fresh with acidity that cleanses and lifts the palate, this may not be the most “traditional” Sangiovese, but it’s damn delicious. Aged 12-18 months in French barrique and 6-12 months in bottle before release. Outstanding value around $25. 94 points. Find this wine.
The 2015 Sette Ponti Oreno is a masterful blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet and 10% Petit Verdot. Although realizing that the blend of this wine changes slightly depending upon vintage conditions, given the monstrous structure of this young wine, I was surprised to learn it was 50% Merlot.
In the glass, the wine is a deep ruby color that trends to a darker violet core and lightens ever so slightly at the rim of the bowl. Within an hour of being open, the aromas began intensifying. Crushed black fruit, blue flowers, and wet stone aromas are enticing and forward. On the palate, the black cherry and blueberry flavors are intriguing with ample support from minerals, hazelnut and sweet tobacco leaf. Large scaled tannins dominate the finish which can be tamed by an appropriate cut of meat. Otherwise, best to age this behemoth for 3-5 years. Tasted with short ribs and Caprese salad (with Arugula – my basil is dead!) it was fresh and delicious. But I think it’s best days are ahead. Truly special. Aged 18 months in French barrique and a year in bottle before release. 96 points. About $70. Find this Wine.
Stay tuned for more data points from this winery and for these wines as I attend and report from the Kobrand Portfolio tasting later this month.