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When Fabio Chiarelotto, a trained historian, purchased the Montepeloso estate in 1998, it was already well on its way to international stardom. Chiarelotto could have rested on that reputation, but he knew in his heart that the estate was only beginning to reach its potential.
Montepeloso draws from hillside vineyards around the town of Suvereto. The zone’s petrified clay soils, and its proximity to the sea, give a startling intensity of flavor to wines. It’s little wonder that a half dozen estates have sprung up over the past 20 years though, by contrast, most are planted in the heavier clays of the valley floor.
“...some of the region’s most finessed wines....”
For eight long years, Chiarelotto painstakingly reshaped the estate’s vineyards. With each vintage, he experimented with blends and techniques that would harness the latent power provided by the terroir, but temper it so that the terroir could fully express itself.
His obsession is such that we find few others with which to compare him. But he perhaps most reminds us of the great Montalcino iconoclast Gianfranco Soldera. Like Soldera, Chiarelotto remains driven by his own philosophies, possessing an obsessive commitment to quality, with an apparent disinterest in what others think of him or his wines.
While early progress was steady, the 2006 vintage marked the beginning of this estate’s “mature phase.” The vineyards were finally rehabilitated, and Fabio had settled on a mix of varieties ideally suited to express the essence of Suvereto and Montepeloso. His experiments in winemaking and élévage had shown him the right balance for each wine. And, he had developed a profound understanding of his terroir, and the direction each wine should take. Just as important, Chiarelotto brought in a business partner to give him the resources to continue the estate’s ascent.
Ten+ years of glowing reviews have led a number of collectors to rank Montepeloso’s wines among the most beautiful, profound, and expressive of the Tuscan New Wave:
Nardo - Nardo is the estate’s flagship “Tuscan Coast” wine, with a blend of approximately 50% Montepulciano, 30% Sangiovese, and 20% Marselan. This wine is a distillation of the Montepeloso terroir, and it is the kind of wine that is almost impossible to describe. Fewer than 400 cases made.
Gabbro - The great Cabernet Sauvignon of Suvereto, Gabbro has done for this variety what Tua Rita’s Redigaffi did for Merlot. A decade from now, we would not be surprised to see Gabbro replace Sassacaia as the ultimate Tuscan Cabernet. A scant 200 cases are made.
Eneo - While the two luxury cuvées get much of the press attention, Eneo has quietly achieved a rabid following of its own. Aged in 2nd- and 3rd year French barrique, it is a pure expression of Chiarelotto’s vision, with a blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Marselan, and Alicante.
A Quo - First introduced with the 2008 vintage, A Quo is intended to be an affordable expression of the estate’s unique aesthetic. Blended from all the estate’s fruit, and raised in neutral wood, it’s also a shocking bargain. Sangiovese, Marselan, and Alicante.
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