It’s been little over a week since we introduced you to Montebernardi,  but we can hardly contain our excitement for these wines.  Today, we give you installment number two.  

Since 2004, Montebernardi has been farming biodynamically and organically because they believe that nurturing the land, pampering it in fact, is the ideal measure by which the land will provide the best grapes.  In speaking with Michael Schmelzer, his conviction is unwavering. 

Our methods involve maximizing the quality of the fruit that comes from our vineyards, harvesting at optimal ripeness and selecting only the best fruit when hand picking and sorting. The fruit is de-stemmed and lightly crushed directly into small, stainless steel or oak fermentation tanks. Depending on the desired style, varying sizes of oak are selected for maturation. After maturing, the wines are bottled without filtration or fining. All fruit is sourced from Monte Bernardi and only indigenous yeast and bacteria are used. The normal addition of sulfites is kept to the minimum consistent with ensuring the longevity of the wine’s natural flavor and color. In short, the result of this labor of love is pure wines which express the essence of Panzano.
~ Birth of a Vintage ~

So today we’re focusing on Montebernardi’s Super Tuscan blend of non-indigenous grapes, Tzingana.  Tzingana means “The Gypsy” and is presumably a nod to the foreign origin of the grapes in the blend and there seemingly ubiquitous nature across the globe.  However, these grapes are from Panzano, and the Tuscan accent in this wine shines through.

The 2011 Tzingana is 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet, 20% Cabernet Franc and 15% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are vinified simultaneously which provides a certain level of integration of the varietals earlier in the life cycle of the wine.   Fermented in stainless steel and then aged in barrique and tonneaux for 18-24 months before bottling. 

The picture below captures the essence of the wine so well.  The core color is an almost impenetrable ruby, no doubt given the relatively high proportion of Petit Verdot in the blend.  It fades slowly to the rim, where an almost copper like color resides. 

On the nose the wine is filled with fresh crushed cherry that is tinged with menthol, spices and floral overtones like lavender and mint.  On the palate, this ripe, round wine is seductive with flavors of black cherry,  toast, tobacco and clay like minerality which is unmistakably Tuscan.  Is there a hint of cypress?  2011 was a warm vintage in Tuscany and many Brunello producers found it less than ideal. But in the northern areas of Tuscany,  it was a much better vintage and although the wines are ripe, they possess much more complexity than their southern counterparts.  This is delicious and although the Merlot content is the highest, this wine is “con i cogliani”.   94 points.  Disclosure:  This wine was a producer  provided sample.

Still more to come from this wonderful producer. 

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