Civiltà del bere - Bindella, Nobile di Montepulciano in three voices

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TASTINGS March 25, 2022 Elena Erlicher

Tenuta Vallocaia, Nobile di Montepulciano in three voices

The Pisan winery Tenuta Vallocaia, owned by Swiss entrepreneur Rudi Bindella, interprets Vino Nobile in three different ways, depending on the soils on which the source grapes are grown. The goal is to create identity wines that reflect the peculiarities of the place of origin.

Rudi Bindella has realized his dream in Montepulciano with the Vallocaia estate. Here, starting in 1983, he acquired the first 2 hectares and increased them, "like a tree that grows, year after year, by one more ring," to the current 175 hectares, of which 54 are vineyards, located in the areas east of Vino Nobile. The goal of the Swiss entrepreneur, already the owner of a €200 million gastronomic empire at home and importer of Italian wines such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia, is to produce wines that reflect the beauty of the place where they are born while respecting tradition.

Rudi Bindella with son Rudi Jr © A. Moggi

More than 5 years to build the winery

Rudi Bindella's entrepreneurial spirit never pays off, so much so that it recently led him to purchase just a little further south the Poliziana estate Le Casalte, with its 13 hectares of vineyards. But that is another story, and we will have to wait a few more years to tell it. Returning to Tenuta Vallocaia, "we have invested so much in 'stuff, blood and love,'" Bindella says, quoting words dear to Cesare Pavese. We are talking about at least 17 million euros invested in vineyards and winery. And the result is impressive. In addition to the amphitheater-like south-facing vineyards, a basement cellar of up to 8 meters arranged on 4 levels, designed with the latest energy-efficient technologies; and a reception space for a 360-degree Val di Chiana food and wine experience have been completed in more than 5 years.

360-degree hospitality

In Vallocaia's Cucina you can taste traditional Tuscan dishes, enhanced by raw materials from the 3,000 square meters of vegetable garden cultivated on the winery's rooftop and from local farms and livestock. All of this is accompanied by Tenuta Vallocaia's wines, offered in combination with the menus or by the glass. The space is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays by reservation. In the Vinoteca overlooking the vineyards, you can taste and buy the estate's labels, as well as "short chain" products such as pasta, cookies, sauces and preserves, jams, honeys, Crete truffles and pickles. In addition, works of art and antiques from Rudi Bindella's collection populate the rooms and the cooperage.

The 5 production zones of Tenuta Vallocaia

Without having to travel to Montepulciano, we had the opportunity to taste Tenuta Vallocaia 's bottles on March 14 at Ceresio 7 Pools & Restaurant in Milan. A triptych of Vino Nobile wines from soils of different origin and composition had been designed for the occasion; and the difference in the glass was noticeable. Five are the estate's production areas: Argiano, Cervognano, Sanguineto, Paterno and Casalte, corresponding to five of the future mentions Pievi, which will probably be on the market starting in 2024. "We have been carrying out a zoning project in our vineyards for 15 years," explains Giovanni Capuano, director of the estate since 1999. "Each of these zones has its own peculiarities in terms of the origin and nature of the soil, altitude and exposure and gives the wines identity and personality."

Vallocaia wine bottles, each alongside the soil samples from which they came

Bindella Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018

We first tasted the classic nature of Bindella, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018. The grapes (Sangiovese 85%, Colorino, Canaiolo and Mammolo 15%) are grown on Pleistocene-derived soils of yellow, red, gray draining sands, plus a medium-textured part. We are in the areas of Argiano and Cervognano, which give a more subtle and taut wine, with delicate and elegant floral (iris) and yellow fruit notes, whose tannins need 2 years of maturation in large 50 hl barrels to harmonize and find the right balance. On the palate it is leaner and less concentrated than the later ones, with great finesse and cleanliness. Produced in 60-70,000 bottles a year at a price (average in wine shops) of 18-20 euros.

The Paintings Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018

We then moved on to I Quadri, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018 from a selection of 100% Sangiovese grapes from the limestone clays of Sanguineto of Pliocene origin. Here even the height up to 365 meters makes itself felt with greater temperature swings. Broader, more complex and structured, the wine benefits more from an 18-month maturation in smaller wood (tonneau). Small red and black fruits emerge on the nose, with balsamic and spicy notes; creamier, tighter mouthfeel, with savory, full flavor. Produced in 10-20,000 bottles at 28-30 euros.

Vallocaia Squares Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2016

Finally, the Riserva Vallocaia, the ultimate expression of Vallocaia Sangiovese (with 5% Colorino del Valdarno) from clay and sandy red soils, high in iron and manganese, between 300 and 320 meters above sea level. More powerful and structured, it ages 2 years in tonneau and large barrels, plus another year in bottle. On the nose it looks like a blood orange juice, haematic, with balsamic hints. The mouth is complex, savory and fresh, with a tannicity of rare finesse. Produced in 10-15,000 bottles at 35-36 euros.

Top photo: Tenuta Vallocaia's new winery was opened last summer after more than 5 years of work © A. Moggi