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Montepeloso, Suvereto, Toscana

Located in the hills of Suvereto, near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, Montepeloso is one of the region’s most respected wineries. In 1998 Fabio Chiarelotto, a Swiss-Italian, trained historian acquired the estate with the aim to bring out the best from the terroir-driven varietals.

The winery, that lies right above the famous Tua Rita estate is Suvereto, was already well known among the cognoscenti thanks to excellent reviews from acclaimed international critics and journalists. Instead of riding on the back of the existing estate acclaim, Fabio, an insatiable and tireless perfectionist, realised that there was more to be done to exploit the full potential of the vines. Within a year of purchase, he decided to embark on a significant vineyard redesign programme (named “The Tuscan Project), pulling up low-quality vines and replacing them with varietals more suited to the Suvereto terroir. During this period which lasted eight years in total, Fabio ran experiments in the cellar with different vinification processes and blends with the aim to capture the best elements of the terroir for his wines.

Suvereto, a coastal area characterised by increasingly mild temperatures, winds from the Ligurian sea and generous sun in the summer season is relatively new to many and certainly less acclaimed than its more famous neighbour Bolgheri. However, it would be an absolute mistake to overlook this extraordinary region that boasts a long winemaking tradition dating back 1000AD. The Montepeloso terroir is exceptional, boasting a combination of calcareous fossilised marine clay and the high proportion of flint (Silex) which give the wines a remarkable intensity, high complexity and unique minerality.

Fabio grows Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with an impressive range of local varieties, including Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Marselan (a new breed of Cabernet and Grenache Noir), Malvasia Nera and Alicante Bouschet. The Montepeloso vineyards are partly terraced and spread across gently undulating slopes. Gabbro is certainly the most renown of the vineyards with some of the vines dating back to the sixties.

Fabio practices organic viticulture and follows a strict grape selection with up to “three harvests” when necessary: one green, one to eliminate less than perfect grapes and finally the ‘real’ harvest. In the cellar, Fabio conducts relatively short macerations, fermentation with natural yeasts, ageing in oak barrels and he bottles without filtration.

In 2000, Fabio began to collaborate with expert oenologist and long-time friend Fabrizio Moltard, who cut his teeth at Frescobaldi and Gaja. In 2007, serial wine entrepreneur Silvio Denz* bought a share in Montepeloso, this investment funded further improvements at the estate.

Montepeloso is building a cult following in many countries. Their wines are considered as the most intense, distinctive and finest “new-wave” Super Tuscans. Montepeloso is a hidden gem in the Italian artisan wine panorama and it is an absolute coup for Ultravino to be representing Fabio and his superb winery in the UK.

Wines:

Eneo Costa Toscana IGT

Nardo Costa Toscana IGT

Gabbro Costa Toscana IGT

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