Tenuta Monteti

Italy, Tuscany

Tenuta Monteti is in the southern part of the Maremma, close to the town of Capalbio and some fifteen kilometres from the border of the region of Scansano, under the hill of Monteti, an amphitheatre which protects the estate from coastal winds. The twenty-five hectares of vineyard are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Alicante and Merlot in individual lots of one hectare, each vinified separately in the new, state of the art winery.

Monteti was founded in 1998 by engineer Paolo Baratta and Gemma Bracco, after they had conducted a long search for the right site, guided by oenologist Carlo Ferrini. The whole project was created from scratch, and Paolo's engineering background was used to the full. When the land was being prepared they encountered many huge boulders, and rather than break these up they dug them out and now they stand around the vineyard like sentinels, becoming the emblem of the estate. Much work was done to harvest rainwater for irrigation as required, and also to prevent run-off erosion. Sensors are installed all round the vineyard to measure vine stress and and soil humidity, including several underground. The winery was built to allow all processes to be by gravity alone, and for all the parcels to be vinified separately. There are nice little engineering touches such as the handrail of the gantry over the vats doubling as the pipe that carries the must to them. The first wines were finally produced in 2004 and first marketed in 2007. Eva Baratta, daughter of Gemma and Paolo, took up the reins in 2010, helped by her husband Javier Pedrazzini. Roberto Rossi, who has been there from the start, is in charge of the vineyards, while in the cellar it is Christian Coco, who started as a trainee in 2007 then became managing oenologist in 2012, with Carlo Ferrini still there as consulting oenologist. They are backed by a team of twelve other vineyard and cellar workers.

The wines are marked by a pronounced individuality, reflecting not only the 'terroir' of the region, but more importantly a freshness of fruit and balanced acidity which makes them so very drinkable. They are intentionally understated wines which perform on the palate in a musical fashion - a delicate introduction which builds to the most wonderful crescendo.

Featured in Jancis Robinson's Wines of the Week column 11/11/16 http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/monteti-caburnio-2011-toscana

The Monteti estate makes just two wines. The more expensive one is called simply Monteti and gets the full barrique ageing. The other one, which Baratta refuses to call a second wine, is this one, Caburnio. It came about its name, according to the estate's website, 'after a spelling mistake in the transcription of a passage of the Natural History by Pliny the Elder, written between 23 and 79 AD, in which, in the illustration of wine growing in Roman times in the province of Gallia Narbonensis [modern Narbonne], vitis Caburnicam appeared by mistake instead of Narbonicam, Narbonensis:"In the last seven years, a vine which buds in a single day and is therefore very strong, has been introduced in Alba Helvia; it is called Caburnicam and is planted today all over the province." '

This seems to raise several questions. Which variety was this vine? Surely not any of those grown today in Bordeaux. And certainly not Alicante Bouschet, which was bred only in the middle of the nineteenth century. And why on earth was it called Caburnicam instead of Narbonicam?

Anyway, this less expensive offering from Monteti is made of Cabernet Sauvignon (from 50 to 60% depending on the vintage), Alicante Bouschet (20-30%) and Merlot (10-20%) and occasionally a little Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Half the wine is aged in stainless steel and the other half in barriques and tonneaux made of medium-toasted French oak, of which a quarter to a third are new.

I tasted both the Caburnio 2011 and Monteti 2011, from a particularly hot vintage in Tuscany, at Lea & Sandeman's autumn tasting and gave them both the same score, 16.5, even though the Monteti costs almost twice as much as the Caburnio. They are both very good wines, with admirable freshness as well as ripeness, but the Caburnio is already a delight - showing some attractive evolution on the nose with really exciting ripeness and character on the palate. It seems extremely good value to me, of interest to those looking for the extra zest that a really good Maremma wine can bring to the Bordeaux blend formula. The Petit Verdot-dominated Monteti is also very successful but I would keep it a bit longer before drinking it between 2017 and 2023 whereas I suggest 2014 to 2019 as the drinking period of Caburnio, which is 14% alcohol.

Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com  (Nov 2016)

Tenuta Monteti remains arguably the single finest source for reasonably priced wines in Maremma. Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com

Tenuta Monteti is one of the most exciting properties on the Tuscan coast. The flagship Monteti is a Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot blend that spends 16 months in French oak and is bottled unfiltered and unfined. All three vintages I tasted were magnificent Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com