April 8, 2013
A Note from Sergio
In 1967, Sergio Manetti began making wine as a lark. A decade later, Manetti got serious. He had grown weary of his neighboring winemakers' adding international grapes like Merlot and Syrah to their Sangiovese-based wines. He decided to make a wine that was 100-percent Sangiovese--something that no one else in the region was doing at the time. This wine, Montevertine's Le Pergole Torte, debuted in 1977, and it has since stood as a standard-bearer for the arm of the Super-Tuscan movement where producers didn't look abroad for inspiration, but looked to home, to Italy, for their rule-breaking.
When Montevertine introduced its mono-varietal Sangiovese wine, a lot of people including wine critics, wine writers and wine distributors didn't understand it. Like the legendary '01 Mascarello Barolo that famously received an 84-point rating, Montevertine has often been given ridiculously (and to me sublimely) low scores. I love it when a wine I know in my gut is a great gets one of those low scores. It means more Montevertine for me and for the people like me who know that a great wine can be a wild, complex, and unusual thing of great beauty.
Sergio Manetti passed away in 2000, but he taught his son Martino well; Montevertine seems to get better every year. Indeed, the critical embrace of 2009 Montevertine that I'm debuting today suggests a sea change in the way that people understand Sangiovese. The grape used to be dismissed; now it's beloved, as it should be. This vintage of Montevertine stands up to its critical hype--moreover, it stands up to its history. It's an important vintage of an important wine.
To write about the importance of Sangiovese wines in particular and Italian wine in general is to remind me of the great loss that the wine world suffered yesterday when Franco Biondi-Santi passed away at the age of 91. Countless times over the years, I've praised Biondi-Santi's wines and talked of their timelessness, as well as the timelessness of their maker. To me, Franco Biondi-Santi was more than a master winemaker, more than the living evocation of Brunello, and more than the Gentleman of Montalcino. He was a friend. To say that I'll miss him is an understatement.
Raise a glass to Franco Biondi-Santi, to Sergio Manetti, and to all the men and women who lived with vision, convictions and grace.
Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: The IWM Debut of 2009 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte
2. Time Sensitive Offer: Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva 1995
3. Our Experts Suggest: One Wine to Impress, One Wine to De-Stress
4. Only at IWM: Seghesio Barolo for Less Than $50!
5. Wine Events: Understanding Barolo Through A Master Producer