~ The Terraced Rows of the Vigna dell’Impero ~
“There are stars in the Southern sky.  Southward as you go.  There is moonlight and moss in the trees.  Down the Seven Bridges Road…….. “
Tenuta Sette Ponti.  Aptly named for the number of bridges one must cross along the road that leads to the estate.  The oldest vineyard on the estate, was planted in 1935 by the Count of Torino, Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy. He named it the Vigna dell’Impero, the Empire’s Vineyard.  It is a lush vineyard which stretches for 3 hectares and is terraced by hand, where man’s tenacious spirit and patient mind are driven to produce the best the best fruit the estate can give.  It gives all for estate’s flagship, Oreno.

~ Neatly manicured vineyards at Sette Ponti ~

Oreno takes its name from the river that bisects the Sette Ponti estate.  Originally a wine dominated by Cabernet, the blend changes from year to year based upon vintage conditions.  I first tasted the 2010 at Gambero Rosso this year and penned this cautionary note:

This blend was tweaked significantly in 2010 with Merlot eclipsing Cabernet. 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet and 15% Petit Verdot. This is dark purple all the way to the rim. Right now, the 18 months barrique aging is a bit too obvious – minty green herbs, flowers and fruit dominate the nose. On the palate, this is tight, tannic, green (wood) and not yet very expressive. I have at least 3 vintages of this wine in the cellar and this one makes me pause when I consider adding it. I probably will – but I won’t get more than 2 or 3 and they need to be buried. 90-95 points. Approach carefully.
Ultimately I decided to add a few to my cellar.  When I came across another cache attractively priced, I decided to grab another and try it. 
The 2010 Sette Ponti Oreno was decanted for 60 minutes and appeared a dark purple in the glass.  By the time dinner arrived,  hangar steak with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach,  the aromas were opening nicely.  Tuscan brush, pine, black fruits, and pipe tobacco are very attractive.  On the palate, the wine is sensual – clearly strutting the increased portion of Merlot in the blend.  The velvety black fruit cascades over the palate and adds spice, mocha, dusty earty and leaf tobacco.  This is coming together quite nicely.  Still tannic without food,  the meat helped offset some of that personality but this is built for aging.  We left a half bottle on the counter until the next day and the wine was even more aromatic and supple after 24 hours of air.  I’ll be adding more.   94 points.
Price varies crazily on this wine.  Within a 10 mile local drive, this wine sells for a high of $109 and a low of $38.  Shop around and stock up on the lower end. 

~ Elegant, sensuous and built for aging.  Oreno. ~


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