~ Palazzo Vecchio, Montepulciano ~

“Excellent wines do not happen by chance. They are the fruit of shared experiences, hard work and and dialogue; they are made by people who nurture a creative tendency, who love the Earth, and who are committed to the journey they are on.”
In 1300, the estate that is now Palazzo Vecchio was the heart of the historically important Fattoria di Valiano farm. Located on the border between the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and overlooking the Val di Chiana, the estate has witnessed major historical events, including the famous reclamation and drainage of the Chiana valley. 

Acquired by the Zorzi family in the late 1800’s, renovations of the old buildings at Fattoria di Valiano and their accompanying cellars began in 1982. Over the subsequent years, the vineyards were individually assessed and replanted, allowing the winery now known as Palazzo Vecchio to produce its first vintage of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in 1990.

~ Winter comes to Tuscany at Palazzo Vecchio ~

Today the estate is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Marco and Maria Zorzi.  The winemaking is handled by Marco, in consultation with Andrea Mazzoni, while Maria handles back office duties and oversees the 40 odd hectares of olive groves on the property. 

The sizeable estate covers approximately 80 total hectares and lies midway between Montepulciano and Cortona.  Almost 13 individual vineyards comprise the estate and provide 100% of the fruit for Palazzo Vecchio’s wines.  Five distinctive reds are produced in addition to a Vin Santo.  We’ll be covering several of these over the next few weeks, but today, we’re starting on a high note with two of the estates best wines.  

~ Nella Cantine:  “Wine that will become Nobile” ~

2009 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Terrarossa

Sourced from the single vineyard,  Vigna del Bosco,  this wine is crafted from vines that are over 50 years old and is produced only in optimal vintages. 

Terrarossa is 100% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) and is fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Aging takes place is French oak cask for a minimum of 24 months and then 6-8 months bottle aging typically follows before release.

The 2009 is a deep ruby and shows some typical color extraction given the warmer vintage.  From the glass, ebullient aromas of crushed cherry, lavender, anise and baking spices emerge and present themselves individually.  Very attractive.  On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied with moderate tannins that are still quite relevant.  The core of morello cherry fruit dominates but there are accents of fennel and earth to add intrigue. Clearly the product of a riper vintage – there’s a slight touch of heat to the finish.  Overall, good persistence and balance.  This is typically the best wine of the estate and while delicious, it makes me curious to see what this vineyard can produce in an ideal vintage.   91 points.  Disclosure:  This bottle was a producer provided sample.
~ The single vineyard Sangiovese,  Terrarossa ~
~ Nature.  The patroling family dog helps ward off Cinghiale ~

2008 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva
Time honored and classic.  Such is the Riserva from Palazzo Vecchio.   This was the first wine originally produced in 1990 and is a blend of Prugnolo Gentile (85%) Canaiolo (10%) and Mammolo (5%)  that is fermented in stainless steel and then barrel aged for 36 months in large French cask before final refinement in the bottle. 
The 2008 is lighter in color than its 2009 sibling and in fact, displays that pretty medium violet color that seems to be characteristic of the Sangiovese wines produced in 2008 as a whole.  
Elegant notes of fresh flowers, tobacco and berries emanate from the glass and are feminine, delicate, and very pretty.  This is nimble on the palate – with grace and class relegating any brawn to the back seat.  Flavors echo the nose with medium body, refreshing acidity and moderate tannins that are soft and well integrated.  This ends with a dusty, spicy finish that trails off softly.  These two wines are very different and showcase the vagaries of each vintage very well.  Wine is an agricultural product after all – naturally farmed and dependent upon Mother Nature.  These wines are wonderful reminders.  89 points.  Disclosure: This bottle was a producer provided sample.

~ The more feminine and graceful Riserva from Palazzo Vecchio ~

More coming from this estate. Stay tuned……… 


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