2015 Pian del Ciampolo and 2014 Montevertine “Montevertine”
Few releases garner as much interest and excitement as those from Montevertine. Ever since we announced our partnership in 2006, Martino Manetti’s wines have been touchstones of the RWM portfolio. Fittingly, the duo of wines arriving this September—the 2014 Montevertine “Montevertine” and the 2015 Montevertine “Pian del Ciampolo”—reminds us of that very first release, when we presented an unusual pair of wines from the celebrated 2001 vintage and the under-appreciated vintage of 2002.
The joy of working with a producer like Montevertine is that each vintage is a revelation. Like 2001, the warm and dry 2015 vintage in Tuscany is considered first-rate, producing wines of power and finesse. The 2014 vintage, on the other hand, reminded us of the cool and persistently wet 2002 growing season. Despite the difficult conditions, Martino’s 2014s are vibrant and clear, a perfect foil to the profundity and silky strength of the excellent 2015s. Like with the pair of vintages offered eleven years ago, we are pleased to present these distinct vintages side-by-side, as the contrast serves to illustrate Martino’s expertise in the vineyard and in the cellar, and his dedication to tradition.
Many of you may have already sampled the outstanding 2014 Pian del Ciampolo released last fall and have appreciated the ethereal finesse of this vintage; the 2014 “Montevertine” will not fail to impress. In comparison, the 2015 Pian del Ciampolo heralds a sturdier group of wines, and it will be equally at home in your cellar or on the table. Both vintages demonstrate the estate’s unwavering commitment to quality and tradition. We expect the incoming wines to arrive around the 15th of September.
Pian del Ciampolo 2015
Made from a young vineyard planted in 2003, this “basic wine” of the estate is not so basic. As the vines from this 1.5-hectare parcel have matured, we have noticed a corresponding increase in complexity. Recently, Martino has made a point of showing us older bottles of Pian del Ciampolo among his more prominent bottlings to demonstrate the longevity of this cuvée.
The strong 2015 Pian del Ciampolo is the perfect example of this evolution. As we have already discussed, 2015 is looking to be an exceptional vintage in Tuscany. The growing season generally enjoyed excellent conditions: the weather remained warm and dry, with little to no rain during July and August. Most important, the heat was never excessive, with the hottest days reaching 33-35 degrees Celsius compared to other “warm” vintages where the thermometer topped 40. Radda is also one of the highest points in the Chianti Classico zone and its altitude allows vineyards to cool at night, preserving freshness and extending the growing season. In the end, Martino is thrilled with the potential of all three wines made in 2015, and compares this year to the almighty ’85 vintage.
Those of you who are familiar with Pian del Ciampolo may be surprised by the power of the 2015. It is much more structured and serious than in past vintages, and is shaded darker than usual. The wine hits the palate with generous wild blackberry flavors layered over a base of fresh red fruits. Though it is fruit-forward, it still has plenty of acidity to give it lift and elegance. Structurally, the 2015 has a fine skeleton of tannin that lends it an earthy dimension. The 2015 is fairly open and drinkable at this early stage, and Martino believes that it is a vintage that will age and evolve for many years. We highly recommend that you set aside some space in your cellar beside the Pergole Torte and the “Montevertine” to allow this wine to mature over the next decade or two.
Martino has described 2014 as a difficult year with great results. After a warmer-than-usual winter, the spring and summer were plagued with an abundance of rain. Martino and his team performed a tremendous amount of work during the spring and summer (twice the hours of a normal season) to ensure the quality of the grapes. Fortunately, the weather improved dramatically in September, bringing dry and hot conditions that helped the grapes ripen. The good weather held into October, and Martino was able to postpone harvest until the second week of the month, allowing time for the grapes to reach full maturity. This turn of events not only saved the vintage, but also made certain that the “Montevertine” bottling would have healthy, ripe grapes. Yields were unexpectedly high, even greater than in 2015. Consequently, there is a bit more “Rosso” to go around this year.
Stylistically, 2014 reminds Martino of some of the classic vintages of the 1970s. Years like 2014 fit Montevertine’s style perfectly, given Martino’s preference for finesse over brawn. At present, this wine is singing. For us, the 2014 Montevertine is a textbook example of this domaine: pure and elegant, with an impressive complexity, extraordinary balance, and a structure that will allow it to age gracefully. At this early stage, it is quite open and relaxed – much more accessible than the 2013 at the same age. The fruit explodes with bright raspberry and a touch of sour cherry. Due to the cooler vintage, this wine is not especially tannic; rather, it is open and generous. This is a classic wine from Montevertine that should drink well early but also age well in the cellar.