Category Archives: Montefili

The Impressive Wines of Montefili

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.

We left Florence and about an hour later we arrived at the winery.

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.

Serena

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.

We had some local products to eat with the wine

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.

The Wines

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.

Serena gave use a few bottles of wine to have at lunch and what better choice can there be than steak and Sangiovese.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Restaurant Aranci 67 a Taste of Italy

Our friend Lucio invited us to lunch at Aranci 67, a restaurant in Wilton, CT, owned by his sister and her husband, the chef Antonio Perillo.

We knew that Lucio came from a family of great cooks, since his late father had been the chef and owner of the now closed Bella Italia in Danbury, and together with his mother Anna, Lucio had once prepared a meal for us featuring some of his dad’s specialties.

Paolo Perillo, who shares front of the house duties with his mother Julia, greeted us. He showed us to our beautiful Amalfi style ceramic-topped table and we felt as if we had arrived on Capri.

Our lunch began with a Montanara pizza made by first frying the dough, then topping it with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil and then baking it until the cheese melts. Frying gives the dough added flavor and an evenly browned and puffed crust.

Next came perfectly ripe, peeled figs wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma a perfect sweet and salty combination.

Then the chef sent us deep fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and prosciutto,

and small arancini, crisp fried rice balls filled with cheese and ham.

Tender Potato Gnocchi in a light tomato sauce came next.

Sautéed chicken with mildly spicy vinegar peppers was the main course, accompanied by crisp sautéed potatoes and green beans.

For dessert there were Cannoli and Torta Caprese, a typical almond chocolate cake.

A homemade strawberry digestive beverage was the final touch on an outstanding meal. Lucky are the residents of Wilton and the surrounding area to have such a good Italian restaurant nearby.

The wines

Vecchie Terre di Montefili is located in Panzano in Chianti, Tuscany.

The wines were a gift from the former owner of the winery who is close friends with Lucio. I had tasted the 2015 vintages of these wines with Nicola Marzavilla, owner of I-Trulli restaurant in NYC and now the owner of the winery.

Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 20 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 months 28 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 a of thi type  wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a a soft elegant wine.

Chianti Classico DOCG 2009 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 Nicola 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 large Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle . 

Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 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 for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle.

Anfiteatro IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2011 made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1985. 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.

Paolo, Julia and Antonio a family run restaurant. Aranci 142 Old Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897 203-587-1300  http://www.Aranci67.com  Aranci67@gmail.com

 

 

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The Wines of Vecchie Terre Di Montefili with Nicola Marzovilla

For a number of years I was the sommelier/ wine director for I Trulli Restaurant in NYC and collaborated with Nicola Marzovilla, the owner of the restaurant on various wine projects.  In 2015, Nicola got involved with an historic vineyard, Vecchie Terre di Montefili, outside Greve in Chianti, which just released their first vintage under his leadership.  I was very interested in seeing what style of wine they produced and I attended a tasting of the wines at I Trulli. 

Nicola said the wine maker is the talented Serena Gusmeri, and he hired her because they both have the same approach to wine making — as little interference in the wine making process as possible. He wanted the grapes to speak for themselves. The vines are very old and they produced a wine that is very concentrated and that he believes can last for 20 years or more. This concentration and longevity comes from the grapes themselves and not from anything that is done during the winemaking process.

There are 12.5 hectares of vineyards planted mostly with Sangiovese in the heart of Chianti Classico on the highest hill outside of Panzano.  With the 2015 vintage they use spontaneous fermentation for the alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation and the final refinement.

The Wines of Montefili

Chianti Classico DOCG 2015 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 Nicola 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 large Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle before release. $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 for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle before release. $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. $75

The three previous wines were very similar.  They were very closed and will age for a very long time and are showing great potential.  Nicola felt that the Gran Selezione was drinking the best right now.  I thought the regular Chianti Classico was drinking the best.

Nicola said that none of  the wines undergo filtration or fining.

Anfiteatro IGT Colli Toscana Centrale made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1985. 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.

Nicola said because of the position of vineyards and because they are at 500 meters the microclimate is not like any other in Tuscany. $120

Rosso IGT Toscana 2015 made from Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc is sourced from outside their estate. The vineyards are at 500 meters and were planted in the mid 1990’s and the soil is galestro and alberese. The training system is spurred cordon. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged for a minimum of 20 months, the Cabernet Franc is aged in tonneaux and the Sangiovese in 20 hl oak casks. The wine remains in the bottle for at least 6 months before release. $30  This was one of the best blends of this type I ever tasted and was drinking very nicely now

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 months 28 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 a of thi type  wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a a soft elegant wine.

 

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