Sergio Manetti and Giulio Gambelli are two of the Iconic men of Sangiovese that I would have loved to have met. It is clearly evident why the two worked so wonderfully together. When you taste the wines of Montevertine - You hear the voice of Sangiovese and it is singing the most beautiful perfectly pitched aria one can hear. What they did, is this: They both allowed the voice of Sangiovese sing through their work in the purest manner. Sadly, both Maestro's are no longer with us, however, the tradition is respectfully continued with Sergio's son Martino at the helm.
Winding down from the hilltop town of Radda, you can spot Montevertine in the distance. The landscape of where the winery is situated on a little mound of a hill surrounded by vineyards, is like looking at the solar system - Montevertine as the sun in the center and all else radiating outward. The same can be said for the wines, ask pretty much any winemaker in the Chianti zone, what are the 'Great' Chianti's of their areas and unanimously it will be said: Montevertine.
The winery's history, with Pergole Torte as it's main character, is a story that has been told many times, but always well worth repeating. The short version is in the 1970's Sergio wanted to create a pure 100% Sangiovese Chianti. At that times, the regulations dictated by the DOCG, would not allow for it - It was his land, his grapes and he was going to do what he wanted and being the great mind that he was - did it anyway, creating what is now known as Le Pergole Torte. The Consorzio at that time, denied the use of the DOCG seal and declassified the wine to IGT which, then was considered 'table wine'. Unfaltering, Sergio steadfast and strong - continued with his dream, IGT or not to create a 100% Sangiovese *he called it by it's ancient name, Sangioveto wine, stating, those that know my wine - know that the quality remains true. It then went on to be known as the "first Super-Tuscan" - however, unlike what is commonly referred to as a Supertuscan, his wine is completely created without the use of international varieties.
Back in November when I was in Italy I had the fortune of attending a vertical of Montevertine history - 1980 to present. 30-40 guests were in attendance including Antonio Galloni. The wines were poured from double magnums and the seated seminar lasted from 11am - 6pm, it was the most incredible, humble tastings I have attended. What was most amazing was to see the consistency - through good and less favorable vintages, and through the passing of both Sergio Manetti and Giulio Gambelli.
I had visited years ago and Shelley and I visited again on our recent trip, Martino personally lead us though the entire production and tasting. Not much has changed over the years, a few added botti grande here and there but tradition reigns through this estate, so nothing needed to change, you do something so right from the beginning, there is no need for change. At the end, Martino shared with us a very secret spot of the estate, one I imagine few have seen - which, being a secret, I won't divulge here - you'll have to go and (maybe) see for yourself. montevertine.it
About the iconic labels:
Sergio Manetti was a friend and lover of the work created by artist Alberto Manfredi.
Every vintage bottling of Le Pergole Torte adorns a different piece of art work created by the artist for the winery. The tradition carry's through today and the estate of the late artist and the winery select a new image for every new vintage of Le Pergole Torte.