Radda in Chianti

~ Riding along the SP 429 on the way to Radda in Chianti ~

I have a love hate relationship with Le Pergole Torte.   I’ve purchased this wine twice in my life, both during the excellent vintages of 1997 and 2010.  Given the price of the wine, I never seek it out in less than optimal vintages.  However, vintage character doesn’t seem to matter much for this estate.

A few years ago I came across a bottle at a reputable shop where the knuckle head purveyor loves nothing but 100% terroir driven wines that show little to no oak influence.  I have interacted with him before.  I should have known.  He offered me a great deal on this bottle and said “you’ll love it, it tastes like the dirt where it was grown.”  Right then and there I should have run away.  But I remembered how the 1997 blossomed after 20! years of aging. I paid my $65 and knew I needed to bury this deep in the Euro Cave.

Vineyards of Montevertine

~ The vineyards of the Montevertine estate are nothing if not picturesque. The property is only 2 hectares ~

Fast forward until this weekend.  I hadn’t recalled that the 1997 took 20 years to come around. I’d been staring at this bottle for 7 or 8 years and decided the 10 year mark should be sufficient.  After all, the wine spends only 2 years in oak and one of those is French barrique. I’ll decant it for an hour and my charred ribeye will help it along.  I should have saved my $65.

Now, perhaps the absence of founder Sergio Manetti has become a variable in this equation.  Perhaps it’s the targeted style of the winery, which I have described in the past as “understated and restrained elegance.”  Whatever the reason, I’m not on board.  The ship can depart and I am happy to wave arrivederci from the docks.

Farmhouse and grapes

~ The Montevertine Estate waiting to receive grapes brought in from the harvest ~

I mean, this isn’t geothermal irrigation or differential calculus.  It’s wine. It’s 100% Sangiovese that is aged for 1 year in Slavonian Botte and 1 year in French barrique. Hundreds of winemakers master this formula. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you that good wines start in the vineyard. You know what? So do bad ones.

The 2010 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte is a pretty violet color throughout with a copper rim at the edge of the bowl.  Immediately upon opening this was thin, tart and essentially insipid.  Fine.  After an hour in the decanter, aromas of red fruits, mulch and sandalwood began to emerge. Meh.

In the mouth, the wine tastes like dirt. Tart dirt.  There’s little depth or nuance. No intensity and no length. The mid-palate is hollow and light with thin red fruits masked by slightly bitter, stemmy tannins.  I don’t get it. And I’m done trying.  84 points. Find this wine.

Le Pergole Torte wine in glass

~ Maybe it’s my palate, the winery’s style or something else, but I’m done with this wine ~

If you have a different experience with this wine I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section. Maybe some day I’ll taste this again. But it will need to arrive as a sample or on someone else’s dime; especially at the ridiculous price this wine commands today.


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