by Andrea Gori
Defining the style and positioning of Nobile di Montepulciano in the market are not easy to identify, but ringing news and a continued entry of new players with clear ideas in the area bode well. Not to mention that the 2020 vintage turned out to be in the glasses far more in the poles than anyone could have imagined.
A hot but not torrid vintage, spring rains and a few scattered ones in the continuation have led to remarkably large and pulpy grains, abundant but undiluted must, all combined with moderate brownish tones of mild berry blanching: looking at it in perspective around here, it's more like fresh 2018 than the following 2021 and 2022. Although in practice production is completely sold out (indeed, it is the Tuscan DOCG that grows the most, with 7.2 million bottles) and with Rosso (Nobile's spillover appellation, 2.8 million bottles) showing progressions in value, Nobile remains always confined to a price range that for history and blazon goes narrowly against it, and if we also throw in the drought and heat that strike here more than elsewhere, a challenging picture is formed for those who invest in the area.
However, Nobile is a wine that is hard to beat when looking for "sweet," sunny and gastronomic wines with intriguing tannic rivulets but never trespassing on bitterness. Not to mention that soon on the market we will have the Pievi, or geological and climatic subzones in which it will be possible to better understand the terroir and its implication in the wines. Montepulciano today is an area with a creativity of producers that is finally less bizarre than it used to be, and this gives us a 2020 of transition between the important 2019 and the dreaded 2020-2022 hot biennium that we will see from next year. In this Preview many confirmations and many new ones as well, even if the number of interesting wineries missing in the tasting at the Fortezza is now definitely worrying... more unity and cohesive effort are needed more than ever, but it bodes well instead the wave of new generations that are climbing into the cockpit at historic wineries, showing that something is moving.
In reading the wines, considerable heterogeneity can be seen, but in addition to the choice of grape varieties (Sangiovese is rarely 100 percent although the most widely used Canaiolo and Mammolo bring more elements of olfactory amplification than taste and structure) there is the origin of the soils to consider, which move from Pleistocene sands to areas where clay becomes increasingly present and behaves differently depending on the trace elements.
From these variations, three profiles are basically delimited:
TerRose Estate "Santa Caterina"
Black cherry and caraway , red and black currant, sip with olives and bush, bright and fresh always peppy and appealing 89
Airy and fresh, floral and balsamic, loose sip with some complexity on the finish 88
Tiberini "Podere Le Caggiole"
Full and rich, toasty and flashes of currant, it pleases on the finish and in the round plum facet that pervades it 90
Molinaccio "La Spinosa"
Blackcurrant, olives, chamomile and mint, fleshy and taut sip, big push 91
Tenuta di Gracciano della Seta
Elegant and distinguished, floral of violets, red apple, peach and ripe plum, finish with black pepper and verbena, on the edge of abundance but always tonic and fascinating 92
Lavender and sour cherries, plums and tapenade, fresh and lively sip with hints of dark fruit and Kentucky tobacco, pleasing finish 93
Visciole and caraway, sullen initially then resolves into intriguing and drumming balsamic rivulets with very precise tannin 92
Sweet and tangy, savory and juicy, dark orange and licorice, olives and mint, nice paced finish 90
Cerro Winery "Silineo"
Jammed strawberries and rhubarb, tapenade and mint, agile and easy sip 88
Fruit and spice, net agile and pleasant with slight tannic finish 87
Red apple and plum, mustard and black currant, slight bitterness the finish 85
Rose and lavender, field floral and red currant, sip with crispness and good tannin presence 86
Round and rich, pulsing, multifaceted rhythm of tannin and spice, beautiful finish with excellent depth 92
Edoardo Maria Vannnutelli "Signore del Greppo"
Perfumed and lit, cosmetic and peppery , drinkable and fine, fresh vegetable, tangerine and starfruit, easy and well executed with a modern and classic flair at the same time 89
Fruity pleasantness and crispness, savory and cosmetic, balsamic and fine, a company on excellent growth in its first ever 91 trial.
Placido fruity with touches of pepper and spice, pleasant rhythm and sinuosity, simple finish but nice step forward 87
Marchesi Frescobaldi "Tenuta Calimaia"
Rich and pulpy, very dark and spicy, firm extraction but wine that sustains itself very well and gives volume to not very high matter 87
Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano
Fresh rose and lavender, caraway and pepper in the mouth finish with well-conducted tannin 88
Tenuta di Poggio Uliveto Estate
Visciole and blood, juniper and underbrush, black pepper, sip with some heaviness but also nice center of mouth 88
Poggio alla Sala Estate
Rich and bombastic, mustard caraway and ginger, firm, full-bodied sip, tannin on the way to resolution 88
Fattoria della Talosa Alboreto
Jammy strawberries and rhubarb, ginger and pepper, slouchy and precise sip, returns of underbrush and resins embellish it however the focus is always on the beautiful important fruit 90
Roboante and intense but also of beautiful and fragrant finesse , sip important and rich but not forgetting levity 93
Valdipiatta Estate "Vigna d'Alfiero"
Raspberries and crispness, crisp and silky fruit , tannin that pulses well 90
Bindella "I quadri"
Broad and rich, insistent sweetness and precise roasting, ringing finish 93
Currants and jujubes, licorice and olives , bush and pepper, tannin to unfold but very promising 91
2019 was a year to remember and perhaps will be remembered as the last one with a trend comparable to the best of the 20th century, before climate change changes many paradigms. It was a winter with above-average temperatures and less precipitation. Mild March and April got the growing season off to a slow start only to have a lot of rain in May that further slowed the speed of bud and flower growth. Very hot June and July with above average temperatures but the vineyards quickly adjusted to the pace to grow perfectly and healthily. Hot but not scorching August and above all an excellent September that allowed the grapes to complete perfect ripening.
Carambola and strawberries in jam, zuegg orchard, raspberries in jam, sip solid and firm but also satisfying 90
Decisive and ripe, blackberry and blueberry, nice grip and smooth sip 88
D&D Il Massaro
Coffee and blackberry roast, intricate and tight sip with length yet remarkable 86
Rich and ripe, dark blackberry and cassis fruit, sip with nice extraction not very elegant 88
Broad and tantalizing, fresh with just-ripe strawberries, orange and ginger, good sip 86
Palazzo Vecchio "Maestro"
Fruity red and spice, lavender and myrtle, sip of good thrust and cleanliness, important finish with very nice balsamic references 90
Fruity and distinct, pepper and turmeric, faintly vegetal but pleasant, firm, belly-baring sip, hints of Mediterranean bush with persuasiveness 90
Strawberries and black pepper, intense and intricate, toasty and hard drinking 86
Ripe plum and olive, jammy raspberry, slight toastiness, placid but firm sip , decision and richness, crescendoing finish but still much in need of bottle 89+
Cantina del Giusto Baradiero Selection
Mediterranean scrub, eucalyptus and red currant, flavorful and agile firm sip without sacrificing a nice complexity in the background 92
The 2018 vintage was an interesting and multifaceted year with unexpected and surprising twists and turns, with a swinging pattern of heat and refreshing rains that put it among the coolest in recent history. After a mild but precipitation-rich winter, spring was warm and brought forward budding and flowering. The pace of summer and temperatures then brought the vegetative rhythm back to more classic timing and allowed the grapes to ripen with great balance and perfectly balanced. The resulting wines immediately proved to be particularly lively and endowed with great intensity.
Vinous and ematic, sanguine and sharp, blackcurrant and pepper, balsamic and spicy overtones, coffee and olives, finish with splendid tannin in excellent form 93
Podere Casa al Vento
Pleasant but important bitterness and woodiness, resins and cumin, sip with caloric trace, ambitious finish 88
Triacca Santa Venere
Red and black berries, underbrush and ferns, lavender and juniper, more agile but not very deep sip 87
De' Ricci Selezione Soraldo
Ripe fig, blood orange and red currant, hydrangea and rhubarb, exuberant sip but always in the groove of precision and elegance, splendid finish 93
La Ciarliana Vigna Sciacallo
Broad and sunny, energetic and dark with fruit, rose and ripe fig, important and assertive sip, evolving 90+
Fattoria del Cerro Antica Chiusina
Caramel pepper and plums, challenging toastiness but satisfying sip for freshness and well-resolved tannin 90
Chinotto and eucalyptus, blackcurrant and cassis, powerful and enveloping tannin sip, woody and spicy finish, intriguing and growing, definitely bewitching 93
Undergrowth and vestry, elegant and spicy with dark fruit underpinning it all, the sip delivers balsamic emotions and the tannic row deepens it with sumptuous references 92
Resins and fine spice, noble cabinetry and tangerines, dark orange and pepper, sip of finesse and power well interwoven 93
La Braccesca "Vigneto Santa Pia"
Spices and balsamic, jammy strawberries and ginger, sip with alcoholic trace 88
Cantina del Giusto "San Claudio II"
Intense and cosmetic, black pepper and plums, fleshy and tantalizing sip with lovely elegance finish 90
Strawberry orange and jammy plums, solid, rocky sip with sweetness mixed well with compact freshness 91
Squillante and intense, roses and incense, pepper and surfacing saltiness, sip of importance and agility 91
Fattoria della Talosa
Toastiness and spiciness, very rich though a little dark, finish of progressive intensity 92
Molinaccio "La Poiana"
Slender and subtle, rarefied and spicy, citrus and walnut husk, eucalyptus honey and cumin, the sip enchants and seduces, taut yet sweet and complete 93
Round and full, structure and complexity, chinotto , red orange, mint and balsamic in waves,, telluric yet intriguing and seductive sip 93
Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Briareo Linea Redi
Sweet and spicy, well conducted in terms of freshness but with really important extraction and tannin a little packed 88
Nose of excellent verticality and fresh fruitiness, toastiness and black pepper, sip with arch tannin 87
Black cherry, plum , rosemary and juniper berry, chinotto and black currant, silky thin yet forcible sip, very long, satisfying, sparkling drink you wouldn't give up until the end of the bottle 95
Intense and rich myrrh, Damascus rose, lime honey , ginger, the sip intrigues and invites drinking , crystal clear and fresh 93
Tenuta di Gracciano della Seta
Plum mint and mustard, subtle and delicate with firm tannin readiness when needed, enchanting balsamic depth 94
Ripe fruit a little cooked, strawberries and pepper, richness and intensity, a little tiring finish 88
Freshness and maturity, spicy soul and bold fruit, very rich and multifaceted sip with plenty of roastiness 89
Of the "Bossona"
Blueberries and cassis complemented by fuji apple , balsamic notes of thyme and bay leaf , sip with sweetness and spiciness happily married 93
Raspberries and blackcurrants, tantalizing and placid, underbrush and vestry, compact sip with intriguing spacing, not very deep 87
Tiberini Selezione Vigne Vecchie di Famiglia 2017
Hematic and floral, lavender and roses, dense and clean sip with sweet and peppery references, nice agile drink with length 91
Antico Colle Riserva il Saggio 2015
Pepper and humus, jammy strawberries and garrigue, sip of composure and crisp substance 90