Friday, April 17, 2009


Every now and again, I get a surprise visit from one of my distributors, one that always seems to come very late in the day, yet is one I will be glad to have stayed longer for many moons to come. So it was yesterday, when my good friend Mark Maher – owner and operator of Cincinnati’s Cutting Edge Selections, came by with Blake from The Rare Wine Co., an world-renowned importer of wines from Spain, Italy, and France. Blake and Mark came by with some fantastic Italians from Tommaso Bussolo, Enzo Boglietti, Agostina Pieri and Montepeloso.

I was in shock, even after they left, and I kept thinking about two wines in particular from Montepeloso, all night. Hailing from the Tuscany subzone of Suvereto (which lies just east of Bolghieri) and sitting adjacent to acclaimed producer Tua Rita, this fairly young estate came under the ownership of proprietor/winemaker Fabio Chiarelotto (pictured below). Scaling back production in order to exemplify the incredible lime-rich petrified clay and gravel soils, has become a remarkable producer of his own renown, gleaning high marks from Gambero Rosso, Antonio Galloni of Robert Parker and James Suckling of Wine Spectator.

I had the good fortune of trying two of Montepeloso’s wines, the Eneo 2006 – a phenomenal blend of 40% Montepulciano, 40% Sangiovese, 10% Marselan and 10% Alicante Bouschet, and the Gabbro 2005 – the astonishingly complex 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with only 200 six-bottle cases produced each year.

The Grade: AMAZING. The Mojo: The Montepeloso Eneo 2006 is a powerfully constructed red blend filled with an harmonious balance between red and blue fruit prowess and elegantly refined minerality. Aged in 2- and 3-year French barriques, the tannins are soft and velvety and do not overpower or outmuscle the fruit, showing dense, dark lushness throughout its amazing finish. It shows well immediately, yet demonstrates the complexity that lends to a long life in the cellar. I love this wine!

The Grade: AMAZING. The Mojo: The Montepeloso Gabbro 2005 is arguably one of the best Cabs I’ve ever had, and certainly gives my all-time favorite Cab, Sassicaia, a run for its money. Giving you dynamic concentration of black currant, blackberry, mocha, espresso, tobacco and cedar notes, it also shows off the exquisite minerality the Suvereto region is known for (see Tua Rita Redigaffi). Powerful, dense and well-balanced, there are just layers of fruit, spice and mineral. It has the structure of a California Cab, yet with many old world accoutrements. This wine definitely has what it takes to age well in the cellar, yet shows remarkably well right now.

The unfortunate part about these wines is that they are unbelievably limited. Production of the Eneo is only 2000 cases a year, and as I mentioned earlier, the Gabbro is only 200 6-bottle cases per year. I received only 12 bottles of the Eneo and 5 bottles of the Gabbro so they should not be around for very long. Look for these and give them a try. In this economy, you deserve a treat.

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