Montecucco: A Unique Expression of Sangiovese

On May 8th, I was invited to a lunch with the Montecucco Consortium at Corkbuzz. The lunch was lead by Master Sommelier Laura Fiovetti, Silvia Coppetti, Communications Manager of the Montecucco Consortium and Giovan Battista Basile, a former lawyer who relocated to the region to make wine.

I’m going to be honest with everyone, prior to this meeting I had never heard of this appellation in Italy. It’s located in the Northwestern part of the maremma region of Tuscany. Montecucco is old world wine at its finest. The appellation is comprised of 7 municipalities: Arcidosso, Campagnatico, Castel del Piano, Cinigiano, Civitella Paganico, Roccalbegna, and Seggiano. We tasted our way through the Appellations For a total of 10 wines. Each wine brought authenticity, originality. This is true artisan wine, right down to the labels!

The grape of choice for Montecucco is Sangiovese. Master Somm Laura calls these wines “baby brunellos.” They’re affordable starting in the $15 range with the reserves around $60. This is tremendous value and quality when compared with Brunellos, whom are often very expensive.

Montecucco has been making wine in the region since the 8th century. There is even still archeological evidence dating as far back as the Romans and Etruscans.

On average the appellation produces 75,000 cases per year. They received DOC status in 1998 and DOCG in 2011. For aging standards, 24 months is the requirement for Riserva designation. Interestingly, 70% of their production is organic, however to them, this is more a way of life. It comes naturally to this appellation. All the grapes are picked by hand. In addition, they have other forms of agriculture growing simultaneously: olive trees, chestnut trees, grains, and livestock all coexisting together. Interestingly, they also have a great agricultural tourism industry.

Production is small, comprised of family owned producers who have passed on their skills through generations. Additionally, there are also many young wine makers in the appellation. Interestingly enough, there are people like Giovan who relocated here for a change of lifestyle.

What I really enjoyed about these wines is that even though they’re from the same appellation, they all can taste a little different! There’s obviously commonalities throughout these wines, notes of plum/dark fruits and spice for example. However, some are more earthy, or mineral rich, or fruity than others. They’re all predominantly Sangiovese and really carry themselves well with food. In addition to Sangiovese they also grow other grape varieties grown like vermentino, trebbiano, grechetto, and malavasia.

I was impressed by the luncheon presented by the consortium and corkbuzz. I learned a lot about this up and coming Italian Wine Region. By the way, if any of you work I’m importing? I’d try and check these wines out. They’re truly fantastic.

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