2011 Fattoria del Cerro Rosso di Montepulciano

Hello friends. In Tuscany there is a trinity of special appellations for Sangiovese. We’ve hit two of them – Chianti and Brunello – on numerous occasions, but never the third. Until today:

First, to alleviate confusion, it’s important to note that two important wines in Italy have Montepulciano in the name. It is the name of a grape variety, seen most famously in Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo. (That’s not what we’re offering today.) And then it is a region in Tuscany, where it is most often seen in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano.

Fattoria del Cerro is a major player in this part of Tuscany. They farm 600 hectares (about 350 planted to vines, 13 to olives, and the rest is woods and fields), and all their wines are estate grown. Of course because it’s Italy, they also make olive oil and do agritourismo (motto: “Time dissolves in wind, light and clouds.” Sounds like a nice place to stay!)

Here is Galloni’s most recent writeup of Cerro, from August 2013: Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

The assessment of the entry-level wines is spot on, and perhaps no wine captures characterful Sangiovese better than Fattoria del Cerro’s Rosso di Montepulciano (as a Zitarelli, I can safely say that you become 10% more Italian each time you say aloud: Fattoria del Cerro’s Rosso di Montepulciano). It is 90% Prugnolo Gentile (which is what they call the local clone of Sangiovese) and 10% Mammolo. It is aged for a half-year in a combination of big Slavonian casks (70%) and French barriques (30%), and then spends another 3 months in bottle before release.

Of course, this being 2011 vintage, it has now spent more like a year and a half in bottle, and it is primed for drinking (you’ll notice that we’re in the early stages of Galloni’s peak drinking window, and I’m inclined to agree with him), especially at a price several dollars off release:

Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “($18); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

Great note. This is stylish wine indeed, a lovely mix of smoky cherries, loamy earth, and minerals. It has serious heft without any excess ripeness (14% listed alc), and a wonderful sense of toothsome rusticity and earthiness that is just so true to this variety in this particular part of the world. For lovers of Sangiovese, sampling an honest, pure example from Montepulciano is a must. First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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