Montepeloso - The warmth of Alta Maremma

Fabio Chiarelotto purchased his Montepeloso estate from Willi e Doris Neukmon in 1998, just above the Tua Rita estate in Suvereto. This is one of the warmest sites in Tuscany, although coastal winds helps to cool vineyards down. The Montepeloso estate is on a gentle hillside featuring chalky-gravels and clay soil with presence of Silex, whilst Tua Rita soils are highest in clay contents.

Wines from Willi and Doris Neukmon were already famous and highly acclaimed by international (American especially) critics. However,  spent lots of efforts experimenting with new varieties with the aim of fully unlocking the real potential of the site. The focus here is on the vineyard much more than on the cellar. Chiarelotto's goal is to produce powerful wines without compromising complexity and elegance. 

So...let's go and try two of Montepeloso's best wines to see if the ideal goal is achieved in practice.

Eneo 2010 (3.8/5)

The wine appears deep ruby with very good tears. On the nose it's clean offering, with med+ intensity, notes of black fruits somehow overwhelmed by the boise' from the elevage in french barriques (even if these are 2-3 years old), some hints of garrigue come through to avoid uni-dimensionality.
On the palate is dry, with medium (very fine) tannins, medium acidity, high alcohol (very well hidden), med+ body. Med+ finish. Big but not over-the-top, shame the oak is not so well integrated as the wine could be much more thrilling than what I can taste now.
Very Good quality, drink now or in the next 5 years, not sure it will improve. Premium Price (but much cheaper than its siblings Nardo and Gabbro). Blend of 40% Montepulciano, 25% Sangiovese, 25% Marselan, and 10% Alicante Bouschet. Suvereto, Maremma , Tuscany, Italy.

Nardo 2011(4.3/5)
It appears opaque black/purple with very good tears. On the nose it's clean offering, with high intensity, blackberries and blueberries coulis, cedar, spices and flinty notes but also cool hints of violet and lavender ("Nardo" means actually is the "Spike Lavender").
On the palate is dry, with medium acidity, medium+ velvety/thick tannins, high alcohol, full body with very  good concentration of flavors. Med+ finish.
The wine is big and concentrated, I would not expect anything different from this warm site. Alcohol could be also a bit better integrated, but 2011 was quite a hot one, so no blame for this. Oak is, instead, very well integrated, much more than Eneo2010.
Overall, this powerful red does not lack personality and offers a multi-layered experience. I think it's a very tough job to achieve great balance and finesse at 15%vol, especially in vintages like 2011 where a very hot summer does not help at all retaining acidity without compromising phenolic ripeness. This Nardo tries hard to stay in balance and, although borderline, it's not over-the-top.
Approachable Now but can improve with few years of cellaring. Premium Price (nearly Cult), 50% Montepulciano, 45% Sangiovese and 5% Marselan. Suvereto, Maremma , Tuscany, Italy.


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