There's something special about taking a first sip and immediately understanding that the people behind production are making wine for themselves, not for others. And I mean that in the best possible way. I may pull punches or mince words from time to time, but today is not that day.
Governing bodies throughout Europe have put some of the greatest traditionalists in a precarious spot. In the case of Monteraponi in Radda, they've been prohibited from labeling their top wine Chianti Classico Riserva. This is due to their insistence on following the path laid out by generations before, continuing to make the wine they believe most truthfully expresses their home.
I have little patience or interest in spending my days working with folks who produce what's ultimately intended to meet demands of critics and customers, before themselves - This soup is not worth our time. In the case of Michele Braganti and his estate perched atop Radda we need to pay very close attention.Visiting in July was an experience that offered a rare opportunity where wine, site, people, and expectations all converged seamlessly.
Radda is holy ground for Sangiovese. Perhaps best known as the home to the revered, Le Perogle Torte from Montevertine. It's here at 500 meters above sea level with extremely high proportion of chalky limestone that Sangiovese is at its most shimmering and transparent. This is a place where terroir is transmitted through a lens of finely woven beams of tannin and a fruit spectrum high-toned, with unrivaled grace.
Monteraponi itself was originally a 10th century village belonging to Count Ugo, the namesake for their top Riserva today. Hundreds of years later, this same cellar in the center of the tiny village is intact, complete with a drain still carved into the ancient stone on its cellar floor.
The winemaking style is as traditional as any, with aging in botti. Michele's insistence on keeping alcohol levels well under 14%, minimizing extraction to highlight transparency, and refusing to add international varieties have put the estate add odds with the local governing authorities. In 2013, the Baron Ugo, normally a Chianti Classico Riserva, has been forced to be labeled as Toscana Rosso because it wasn't deemed typical. Of course, basic designations like this have not deterred Michele from making the wine he believes is most authentic.
It's with this fervent sense of duty and nod to generations before that Monteraponi exists now as the most typical expression of Radda and Chianti Classico. All of the mint, rose petal, crushed rock, and red cherry notes that the purist expressions of Sangiovese deliver are here at their most unadulterated.
I've created special pricing today on Monteraponi's 2015 Chianti Classico, already one of Italy's greatest values, as well as the crown jewel of the estate, the Baron Ugo from the spectacular and classically-framed 2013.
2015 Monteraponi Chianti Classico
$30 per bottle.
Special 6-Pack Email Price: $162 ($27 per bottle)
2013 Monteraponi Toscana Rosso IGT Baron Ugo
(Chianti Classico Riserva)
$95 per bottle.
Special 6-Pack Email Price: $513 ($85.50 per bottle)