Martino Manetti remarked during our visit last April that no two consecutive vintages at Montevertine have had remotely the same character since 2007, and perhaps no pair underlines that more forcefully than 2014 and 2015. The 2014 growing season was cool, rainy, disease-plagued, and arduous by any metric, and while Montevertine pulled off a Pergole Torte of beguiling purity, it was undeniably leaner and more ethereal than usual. Admittedly, we at Rosenthal have always harbored a certain fondness for difficult vintages—both for their less fruit-dominated personalities and the way they underscore a grower’s mettle and skill. However, there is no denying the dazzling firepower of a wine like Pergole Torte—one of the great wines not only of Tuscany but of all of Italy—in a vintage like 2015. As if paying penance for its conspicuous absence the year prior, the Tuscan sun showered the vines with attention during the 2015 growing season, spending nary a waking moment away on other business.
The Montevertine estate’s enviable high-altitude location in the relatively cool microclimate of Radda-in-Chianti helped stave off the over-ripeness that solar vintages can sometimes engender, and the usual deft winemaking touch on display here resulted in a Pergole Torte of haunting equilibrium and chiseled precision despite its powerful frame. In fact, during our last tasting, the 2015 Pergole Torte actually came across as lighter and more nuanced than the 2015 Montevertine Rosso, and it will likely always show that way by comparison. A nose both enormously expressive and finely nuanced offers savory spice, freshly tanned leather, and a whiff of smoky earth, with dark fruit playing more of a background role at the moment. The palate is like a world-class athlete—muscular and concentrated, yet lithe and agile at the same time, with an ultra-intense finish that promises decades of development. A word about that: Pergole Torte can be deceptively approachable in its youth, due to a relatively gentle extraction and an emphasis on purity and elegance over structure; however, it is only with significant time in bottle that it unfurls its mind-boggling layers of complexity. It is that unfurling which is Pergole Torte’s true magic, and those fortunate enough to obtain some of the 2015 owe it to their future selves to resist the urge to pull corks too early.
One of the beautiful things about Pergole Torte is its consistency through the decades. Because it has always been produced in a manner that de-emphasizes technology—fermented spontaneously in concrete without temperature control, moved by gravity, aged in used wood (in large botti the first year and smaller barrels the second), and bottled without filtration—every Pergole Torte since the estate’s inception displays with clarity its genetic blueprint despite the usual variation among vintages. Martino notes with pride that not only have the methods remained the same, but many of the estate’s day-to-day employees have decades of experience under their belts—meaning that the same minds, the same hands, have been doing the work here year-in and year-out. Indeed, Pergole Torte justifies its Olympian reputation with every single passing vintage, and the 2015 will likely go down as one of the greatest ever.