Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 11, 2019

2016 Montevetrano, Colli di Salerno “Montevetrano” IGT Rosso, Campania, Italy -photo grapelive

2016 Montevetrano, Colli di Salerno “Montevetrano” IGT Rosso, Campania, Italy.
One of the most singular wines of southern Italy, Montevetrano is to Campania as Tignanello is to Tuscany, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, the local Aglianico and Merlot, it is one of the most priced and sought after red wines of the region and is world renown. The Montevetrano estate vineyard takes its name from a medieval castle that dates to Roman times, and was once owned by French Bourbons, which makes it very fitting that they have the French varietals planted along with native Aglianico. This deep and powerful wine comes from this 13 acre site set on calcareous and silty-loam soils that yields a mere 2.4 tons per acre that enhances the rich concentration of flavors. Montevetrano, which was founded back in 1983, with the first Montevetrano being made in 1991, is owned by Silvia Imparato, who along with the famed winemaker Riccardo Cotarella, who is still the consulting enologist, turned this unlikely small property into one of Italy’s best producers. With Domenico “Mimì” La Rocca, a local who was born in Montevetrano, handling the winegrowing and running the cellars Montevetrano continues to be one of Italy’s great wines and the 2016 is absolutely stunning and timeless, it is a wine that will join the vest best ever from this winery. Layered in the mouth with a subtle floral bouquet this 2016 really grabs your attention with blackberry coulis, creme de cassis, plum and black cherries leading the way along with hints of iron, cedar, graphite, minty herb, sweet leather, spicy tobacco leaf and toasty oak notes. This youthful and tightly would wine, the 25th anniversary release of Montevetrano, has 20 to 30 years easy and will reward the patient that want to put something special away in the cellar, and highlights the great vintage that 2016 was in Central and Southern Italy.

The gorgeous dark crimson and ruby hued 2016 Montevetrano was a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Aglianico and 20% Merlot that was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks from very carefully sorted individual berries and then raised in new and one time once French barriques for just over a year. Recently I tasted with Guido Groppi, Montevetrano’s long serving commercial director, and was able to get a real feel for the winery, one that I have admired, and taste through the lineup of current wines along with a special aged Montevetrano from the 2009 vintage, which was also drinking fantastic coming into its prime window. My first experience with Montevetrano was when I tried the late nineties versions that had by that time become quite famous with great reviews and ratings, and I remember always being intrigued by them, as they had a unique quality that while not definitely accurate reminded me of Bordeaux meets top Barolo. I think the last bottle of Monterevetrano I drank was the 2001, which was thrilling even young, but a wine that I think probably could have still aged another two decades! So it was wonderful to get re-acquainted with these wines, especially this newly released 2016 with its sexy layers of dark fruits and I really love that they have moved towards a higher percentage of Algianico in the blend from being almost solely Cabernet and the addition of Merlot has really helped filled out the palate with a lovely elegance. With air the dense fruit gives way to a finessed and graceful wine, that while firm in tannins, really turns on the charm, this is impressive stuff that benefits greatly from a robust meal and time for it to fully develop in the glass.
($70) 96 Points, grapelive