Cantine Dei

Italy, Tuscany
http://www.cantinedei.com/

After spending much time in the area on family holidays, Alibrando Dei, a successful businessman from Siena, recognised that the area of Bossona in Montepulciano, with it's splendid exposure and exceptional terroir, was predestined to produce great red wines and in 1964 he purchased the land and planted the first vineyards.

Not long after this, Alibrando's son Glauco bought a holiday home for his family here, just at the foot of the village of Montepulciano. The Villa Martiena property - came with more land which was ripe for vineyards and olive trees.

In the early years, the grapes that were produced were sold. However, due to the quality of the fruit being picked, Glauco and the family decided to embark upon making their own wine and in 1985 -an exceptional vintage year -they decided to produce the first bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Dei, renting an old winery in the historic town centre.

Things progressed well and in 1989, the family built its own winery, just beside Villa Martiena, in the heart of the vineyards and today they produce a series of outstanding wines, olive oil and grappa under the watchful eye of Glauco's daughter Caterina.

At the same time as replanting many of her vineyards Caterina has also overseen the building of the sensational new cellars. The wines are still made upstairs at the original winery but all ageing, and bottling is done below in the gravity fed cellars built into the landscape. They are a triumphant palace that have to be seen to be believed. These developments see Caterina Dei now making the best wines of her career to date. While these are not the showiest wines of Montepulciano (she very much eschews the excessive use of new oak), they are almost perfect examples of Sangiovese from the area (specifically Prugnolo Gentile). They also remain very well-priced.

Caterina Dei's wines show the more modern side of Montepulciano. It will be interesting to see how things develop now that consulting winemaker Paolo Caciorgna has replaced Nicolò D'Afflitto, who is now concentrating exclusively on his work at Frescobaldi. The 2010 Riserva Bossona shows Dei at her best. Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Mar 2016)