Spending time with Fabio Chiarelotto, a self-taught winemaker and former historian is always a joy. Maybe its his Swiss-Italian background, perhaps his take on life that makes conversation eventful. He bought the 6.5 hectare estate in 1999 with a mere 10,000 Swiss Francs and big support from friends. Looking back today, he says he gambled quite high, but the reward is immense, as Montepeloso are supremely rated and available in the finest restaurants and collector’s cellars.
Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine once described “This is fascinating, intriguing stuff with a particularly distinctive character rather than an Other Cabernet or Merlot.” And we tend get the same impression with every bottle as they are never constructed. Of late Fabio is trying to make the wines silkier, with super fine tannin, allowing for earlier enjoyment.
Being close to the coast and southern Tuscany, the wines are Mediterranean with generous aromas, mouthfeel and alcohol. But don’t be scared, these are not heavy wines, and we guarantee each bottle can be finished without a knocked out feel.
MONTEPELOSO GABBRO 2010
Gabbro embodies the essence of the noble Cabernet Sauvignon, some of which are over 40 years old. It represents the estate’s ambition to produce a Cabernet Sauvignon that can hold its own with the best in the world. This wine is matured for 18 months in 80% new wood. They use 400-litre barrels as well as barriques. The wine is subsequently stored in the bottle, usually for about nine months. Annual production is 3000 bottles on average.
“The 2010 Gabbro, Montepeloso’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is all about texture. Today the flavors are completely unevolved, instead it is the wine’s towering presence and sheer personality that stand out most. With time in the glass hints of melted road tar, graphite, smoke and incense gradually being to emerge. An exotic mélange of savory herb nuances melt into veins of salinity frame the finish. Readers will have to be patient with the 2010, but it is a jewel of a wine.” Vinous 95 points
MONTEPELOSO GABBRO 2015
“Here is another excellent wine from the folks at Montepeloso. Indeed, the top wines from this estate are all so equally delicious it is hard to tell them apart. The 2015 Gabbro is all Cabernet Sauvignon, and it stands apart from the other blended reds for this reason. This is an inky dark and impenetrable expression with savory aromas of dark fruit and spice. The wine plays its best cards in the mouth, thanks to the richness and endurance of its texture.” Robert Parker 94 points
MONTEPELOSO ENEO 2015
This is the estate’s “grand vin” and Italian response to globalization. It is a truly distinctive wine from native varieties which expresses the particular qualities of the Suvereto terroir but has worldwide appeal. An assemblage of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Malvasia Nera and Alicante is matured for 15 to 18 months in used French oak barrels and then for a further 18 months in the bottle. The exact percentage of grape varieties in the composition depends on the particular characteristics of the vintage. Annual production is 30,000 to 35,000 bottles.
“The 2015 Eneo is a beautifully saturated and concentrated wine. The unusual blend used here is Sangiovese with Montepulciano, Marselan and Alicante Bouschet. The bouquet is profoundly bold and exuberant, with generous integration and beautiful power. The warmth of the vintage further adds to the overall intensity of this carefully crafted red wine. The mouthfeel is seamless and soft.” Robert Parker 95 points
MONTEPELOSO A QUO 2014
An assemblage predominantly of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, with smaller portions of Marselan and Alicante Bouschet. The A QUO is matured for twelve months in barriques, most of which are pre-used, and then for about nine months in the bottle. A QUO is Montepeloso’s fresh young high-flier. The wine, characterized by early accessibility, is made using grapes from the more recent plantings which already epitomize the distinctive qualities of Montepeloso. Almost 60,000 bottles are produced every year.
“Lots of chocolate and berry character with hints of vanilla and cherry character. Medium to full body, soft tannins and a long finish.” James Suckling 92 points