On a recent trip to Italy, Michele and I were planning to go to Florence. We wanted to have lunch outside the city at Antica Macelleria Cecchini, owned by Dario Cecchini, known as “The Butcher of Panzano”. Nicola Marzovilla, owner of I Trulli Restaurant, who is a friend of Dario’s made a reservation for us. Nicola also suggested we visit Vecchie Terre di Montefili in nearby Greve before lunch. Nicola is a partner in the winery and it is a short distance from the restaurant.
I tasted Nicola’s wines of Montefili last February at Restaurant I Trulli and was very impressed by them. Nicola said the winemaker was the talented Serena Gusmeri and he hired her because they both have the same approach to winemaking. It would be interesting to see how the wines developed and to speak to Serena about the wines.
Serena welcomed us and said there are 12.5 hectares of vineyards planted mostly with Sangiovese in the heart of Chianti Classico on the highest hill outside of Panzano.
Like Nicola, she believes in as little interference in the winemaking process as possible, the grapes should speak for themselves. The vines are very old and they produced a wine that is very concentrated and can last for 20 years or more. This concentration and longevity come from the grapes themselves and not from anything that is done during the winemaking process.
Serena said that none of the wines undergo filtration or fining and with the 2015 vintage they use spontaneous fermentation for the alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation and the final refinement. When asked about the 2015 and 2016 vintages she said that in 2015 the grapes were perfect and the wines produced are big wines and will last for many years. The 2016 produced fresher wines with more acidity and will be ready to drink sooner.
Montefili Rosso Toscana IGT 2015 made from 35% Sangiovese and 65% Cabernet Franc. The vineyards are at 500 meters and the terrain is hilly. The soil is galestro and alberese and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification takes place in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged for a minimum of 20 in tonneau of 3.5 HL for the Cabernet Franc and large 20 HL barrels for the Sangiovese. The wine is aged in bottle for a minimum of 6 months before release.
Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 made from 100% Sangiovese. The terrain is hilly and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The soil is galestro and alberese. The vineyards were planted in the late nineties and Serena said these were the youngest vines on the property. The training system is spurred cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is for a minimum of 15 months in 3,000 liter Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of blackberry and cherry with a touch of violets and and a note of almonds. This is a fruity wine with hints of cherry and blackberries with good acidity. $30
Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a careful selection of grapes from vineyards with the best exposure. The vineyards were planted in the late 1980’s. The training system is spurred cordon and guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is in Slavonian oak barrels of 3,000 and 2,000 liters for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle before release.This is a well structed wine with hints of blackberry and cherry with a touch of violets and and a note of almonds. . $50
Vigna Vecchia “Gran Selezione” DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a single vineyard called Vigna Vecchia planted in 1981. The training system is spurred cordon and fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is rotated between 30HL and 10HL oak barrels for 26 months and 8 months in bottle before release. This is elegant wine with red and black fruit aromas and hints of blueberries and cherries and a hint of violets .$75
Anfiteatro IGT Colli Toscana Centrale made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1985. Serena said this is their best vineyard. The training system is bilateral cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. The wine is aged for 28 months in 5HL barrels and 10 Hl barrels and a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. This is a very big wine that needs more time. In fact all of the wines from the 2015 vintage will last for many years. Serena said because of the position of vineyards and because they are at 500 meters the microclimate is not like any other in Tuscany. $120
Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2015 made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese from vineyards planted in the early 1980’s. The soil is galestro and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging for a minimum of 28 months in tonneaux for the Sangiovese and for the Cabernet Sauvignon in barriques (350 liters). Nicola said Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be aged in barriques. The wine spends a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. It is difficult to make this type of wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a soft elegant wine.
It was a pleasure listening to the knowledgeable and interesting Serena speak about the wines of Montefili, the different grapes, and the other wineries in the area. Nicola made the right choice when he hired her.
Note: When we were at the winery they were harvesting the olives. Serena said 2019 was not a great year for olives but because of their location and microclimate their oil will be fine.