I met Elisabetta Fagioli, the driving force behind Montenidoli in (yikes!) 1997 – went with an importer friend not knowing quite what to expect: what was supposed to be a fairly quick lunch turned into an afternoon of dining and conversation that continued into the evening. As I said in my farewell note to Sergio, Elisabetta’s companion, who died this year, I found family, and treasure the memories of the times we have spent together over the years.
With some winemakers this sort of relationship would pose problems when it comes to tasting the wines, becayse a reader could quite legitimately wonder if the reviews were objective. In Elisabetta’s case it does not, because her wines stand out consistently in blind tastings too, and I am therefore fairly certain that friendship didn’t color my jusdgemt as I sat at her stand at Vinitaly this spring, tasting through the wines, which she presents when she thinks they’re ready to come out – some young, but others, that won’t be rushed, after a number of years.
Montenidoli Canaiolo 2012
Pale rose petal pink with brilliant pink highlights and white rim. The bouquet is deft and elegant, with clean minerality mingled with red berry fruit with some raspberry and orange supported by greenish slightly vegetal acidity and some gunflint. Harmonious and very alive. On the palate it’s bright, with zesty sour cherry fruit supported by citric mineral acidity and tannins that have a warm flinty burr and flow into a fairly long sour flinty finish with savory accents. Very pleasant, and will drink well as an aperitif, or as a summer wine. Expect it to go quickly and for people to ask for more.
A note: Elisabetta makes three Vernaccias, Tradizionale, which stays longer on the lees and is more concentrated, Fiore, from free-run must (what emerges from the press before it is turned on), and Carato, which is barrel fermented free-run must.
Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Tradizionale 2010
Charged brassy yellow with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, white blossoms supported by some metallic accents and heather from a cut field in summer, and warm citric acidity that has a mentholated underpinning. Considerable concentration. On the palate it’s ample, with fairly rich lemony fruit supported by some gunflint bitterness and flinty tannins, while the acidity is fairly mineral, and flows into a fairly long warm mineral acidity-laced finish with peppery undertones. Powerful, and a wine that will work well with white meats and creamy dishes that will benefit from its power, and also hearty legume-based soups.
Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Fiore 2010
Pale brassy white with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is elegant, with savory citrus and some almond blossoms mingled with hints of gunflint and underlying minerality. Quite harmonious and young, with great finesse too. On the palate it’s also elegant, with powerful deft mineral-laced citric fruit that has a flinty underpinning and is supported by tannins from grapes that have a slight flinty feel to them; the finish is long and mineral. Quite elegant, and will drink well now with grilled fish – white especially – or with creamy first courses, and will also age well for many years.
Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Carato 2008
Lot 9 2010
Charged brassy gold with greenish highlights and brassy reflections. The bouquet is rich, with hints of butterscotch laced with almond blossoms and citrus, and underlying honey and pleasant heather from a cut field in high summer. A great lot going on in a harmonious key. On the palate it’s rich, with elegant lemony fruit supported by deft gunflint minerality and mineral citric acidity, while the tannins have a flinty slightly bitter burr and flow into a long flinty mineral finish. Very pleasant, with great depth and character, and is a wine you will remember.
Montenidoli Il Templare Toscana IGT 2008
Charged brassy yellow with brilliant golden reflections and some yellow in the rim. The bouquet is fairly intense and quite mineral, with bitter almonds and heather mingled with some greenish artichoke notes and hints of Dijon that emerge as the nose opens. On the palate it’s rich, with clean slightly peppery white fruit, mostly citric, which gives way to artichoke bitterness with hints of Dijon spice as it flows into a clean flinty mineral finish. Tremendous finesse and elegance,a nd will age nicley for many years.
Montenidoli Vinbrusco Toscana IGT 2009
Brassy gold with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is deft and savory, with heather and some minerality mingled with vegetal accents and acidity. Pleasant and harmonious, in a slightly more direct key. On the palate it’s bright, with some flinty minerality and delicate greenish vegetal accents that flow into a clean flinty finish. A classic white quaffing wine that will go very fast and that you will want more of, a wine to bere a secchiate, by the bucket.
Montenidoli Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi 2011
This had just been bottled; it’s lively cherry ruby with brilliant reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with warm slightly sour cherry fruit supported by some warm balsamic accents and some menthol with underlying vegetal notes. On the palate it’s medium bodied, with fairly bright cherry fruit supported by peppery tannins and fairly bright berry fruit acidity that flows into a zesty peppery finish. Brash, and will work very well with foods; it’s quite traditional in feel, and if you like the style you will enjoy it very much.
Montenidoli Colorino IGT Toscana 2011
Lot 11 2012
Impenetrable pyrope with cherry ruby rim. The bouquet is deft, with some berry fruit-laced graphite shavings and some bitterness supported by slight balsamic accents and India ink; there’s nice depth and balance. On the palate it’s fairly rich, with dusky cherry fruit supported by some greenish notes and tannins that have a graphite shaving burr, and flow into a clean tannic finish. Elegant, and fairly rich, and will drink well with grilled meats or light stews. It’s a bit tannic, and the greenish notes are typical of colorino, and as such it reflecte the varietal quite well.
Montenidoli Chianti Colli Senesi 2010
Again, just bottled. Garnet ruby with black reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with red berry fruit supported by slight cedar and some balsamic accents; it’s still coming together but pleasant. On the palate it’s medium bodied, with bright cherry fruit supported by clean mineral acidity and tannins that have a clean slightly graphite-laced burr, and flow into a fairly long graphite-laced finish. Graceful, and will drink very well with foods, and will also age nicely for several years. Traditional in feel, and if you like the style you will enjoy it.
Montenidoli Sono Montenidoli Toscana IGT Rosso 2005
Elegant deep cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is deft, with warm balsamic sour cherry fruit supported by pleasant sour berry fruit with some greenish vegetal notes. On the palate it’s full and rich, with elegant sour cherry fruit supported by berry fruit acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fresh sour cherry finish. Quite elegant and a nice reflection of the vintage, which was cooler and resulted in more acidity than vintages that ripened more fully. Great finesse.
For more information on Montenidoli, see their site http://www.montenidoli.com