2019 Montesecondo, Trebbiano “TÏN” IGT Toscana Bianco, Italy.
The organic and natural wine estate of Montesecondo, in Chianti Classico’s Val di Pesa, is a small property in San Casciano in the northern zone of the this famous Tuscan region near Florence, well regarded for their native varietal wines, especially the Sangiovese based offerings, but they also do a unique white made from skin contact Trebbiano, the TÏN Bianco that is aged in Amphora. I hadn’t had any Montesecondo in many vintages, so I was thrilled when a friend shared this 2019 with me, and even though I don’t always enjoy “Orange” wines, this one was full of charm and easy to enjoy with dried apricot, tangerine and nectarine fruits, along with dusty stones, mineral notes, verbena and savory tones, adding a touch of garden herbs, dry extract(tannin), earth and delicate florals. The best thing, to me, is the energy and texture here, there is a really nice mouth feel and a crisp dry zesty quality that refreshes the medium bodied palate, it gives this usually mediocre grape some thrill and complexity. Montesecondo’s all biodynamic gently sloping hillside vines are set on deep clay and galestro rocks that give loads of fruit intensity, especially in the reds and winegrower Silvio Messana has a gifted and low intervention touch, making wines that a elegant and rustically charming. Montesecondo is not an ancient or old winery, in fact Messina founded it just over twenty years ago, and his first vintage was in 2000, but his wines were instant hits and continue to deliver authentic, raw and transparent flavors, they are always a treat to experience. Interestingly, Trebbiano, which is found all over Italy, may have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and has known in Italy since Roman times, it is also known as Ugni Blanc, and it made its way to France, possibly during the Papal retreat to Avignon in the fourteenth century. The grape is known to be bland, but helps provide acidity to blended wines as found a home in the Rhone, Provence and in Cognac, where it goes into the famous brandy.

Montesecondo’s Silvio Messana’s having been influenced by Alto Adige’s Elisabetta Foradori, has made a 100% Sangiovese aged in amphora since around 2011 with amazing results, and later added a skin contact Trebbiano to the lineup. This golden/yellow TÏN Toscana Bianco comes from Chianti Classico grown grapes is an outstanding orange style (skin contact) wine of distinction. Raising wine in ceramic vessels is an ancient art and a studied craft, and it is coming back in fashion in most regions of the world now, not just in the making of geeky or orange style wines, like this, but in places from Oregon to in fact Bordeaux! Even some top Chateaux are using amphora, including the famed Chateau Pontet-Canet, they even make the vessels from the local clay rich soils of their Pauillac estate. Italy has embraced Amphora, which is also much more common now, and to me it seems, amphora gives the texture and expansion that wood does, without inputting the sweet toasty elements or oak footprint on the wine. Montesecondo, which is more like Burgundy than Bordeaux in style, doesn’t always have wines that qualify to be called Chianti Classico, with certain cuvees, like their IGT Rosso, a 100% Sangiovese, is a bottling I adore, it delivers an elegant version of the varietal with bight flavors, subtle earthiness and medium weight, these wines are wonderful values too, I highly recommend searching them out. While growing many native grapes, Montesecondo has parcels of Sangiovese, Colorino, Canaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon (for a single varietal offering), Trebbiano, Malvasia and a little Vernaccia as well. TÏn is Arabic for clay, and the winery says it is a nod to Silvio’s time living in North Africa with his family and the fact this wine is made in amphora, from all de-stemmed Trebbiano grapes and a eight month maceration and fermentation, aging on the skins, bottled unfined and unfiltered with ultra low SO2 addition. Also, Messana does a Rosé fizz, the Vino Frizzante “Ghazii” that is really fun, so there’s plenty of cool stuff to chose from at Montesecondo, with this TÏN white and TÏN red being wines that are tasty rarities that are well worth the chase.
($38 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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