~ The late founder of Montevertine, Sergio Manetti, passed away in 2000 ~

Montevertine lies within the heart of the Chianti, in the commune of Radda at an altitude of 425 meters above sea level. Historical documents show that the property was settled in the early 11th century. Traces of the original construction, which undoubtedly were a defensive fort that was later converted to rural housing, are still preserved.

In 1967, Sergio Manetti bought Montevertine as a holiday house. He restored the house to its original condition, planted two hectares of vines and  set up a small cellar.  At the time he was a businessman within the steel industry, but he envisioned producing some wine for friends and customers.  The first vintage produced, 1971, was better than decent and Sergio decided to present some bottles at Italy’s leading wine show, VinItaly in Verona.  After his resounding success at VinItaly, Manetti decided to concentrate all of his energy on wine production.

Since Manetti’s passing in 2000, the estate has been run by his son Martino along with agronomist Bruno Bini and consulting winemaker Paolo Salvi.  Elegance, even restrained elegance, has always been the hallmark of Montevertine’s wines and the vintage we’ll discuss today amplifies that notion.

~ I Vigneti, Radda in Chianti ~

1997 was a great vintage in Tuscany, though the ripeness and warmth of the vintage caught some off guard stylistically; many exceptional wines were made.  A lot were designed or destined to be consumed early; fleshy reds that charmed from the start.  Le Pergole Torte has never been crafted in that style.   When the 1997 was released, I bought four bottles from the Cantina in Radda.  I tried one almost immediately and remember being noticeably disappointed.   I was counseled to cellar the wine for up to a decade.  The last time I tasted the wine, this website was still in its infancy.  It seems so long ago.  Yet that day, I “got” it.   Recently, I uncorked my final bottle; now a solid 20 years old.  Can Sangiovese make great wine on it’s own?  Absolutely!

~ SP 429 North West of Radda in Chianti ~

The 1997 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte is 100% Sangiovese and is sourced from the vineyard of the same name.  Planted in 1968, the 2 hectare vineyard produces some very complex fruit and the hallmark is its refined elegance.

We decanted the wine for 60 minutes before dinner to remove a rather substantial sediment and separate the wine from the “crust” on the inside of the bottle.  With a Caprese salad, followed by Tagliatelle sul ragu di coniglio, we waited to be impressed and impressed we were.

In the glass, the wine is a brilliant ruby color even at 20 years of age. In the decanter, it’s even darker.  There is a noticeable fade to copper/sunburst at the rim of the glass.  It did not take much air for this wine to express its aromas.  There is a bottle-aged sweet bouquet to the overall essence which seems to marry wild cherry, pipe tobacco, Tuscan herb, chestnut and worn leather harmonically.  Seamless on the palate, the fruit seems almost plumper and fuller than it ever has been.  The brilliance of it all astounds with the rabbit.  Loads of spicy, juicy, sapid wild berries are punctuated by coffee, nut, dust, warmed porcini and bark notes.   I shook my head slightly knowing that I was really only able to enjoy 50% of the bottles I bought.  But I am wiser and richer.  And I couldn’t help but reflect that this was one of the last bottles Sergio produced.  Goodbye old friend.  You are not forgotten.  97 points.  About $45 dollars upon release.  Current vintages are $100+

Le Pergole Torte is aged 12 months in Slavonian Botte and then 12 months in French barrique before being held in bottle 6-12 months prior to release.

~ 100% Sangioveto ~

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