Montecucco wine guide: the new kingdom of Sangiovese
Montecucco DOC is the liveliest and fastest-growing area of Tuscany, perhaps not in terms of sales (since many still don’t even know where it is), but it is undoubtedly the most interesting in terms of production and originality. Especially with the production of Sangiovese, which, here, on the other side of Monte Amiata, finds favorable conditions and soils very different from those of Montalcino.
The merit is the close bond that unites the winemakers and a shared vision. There are few wineries or big names in wine looking for new Bolgheri, but wineries on a human scale. Originally in 1998, the wineries that founded the DOC were 10 today, they amount to an abundant fifty and the possibilities of enlargement of the production area are considered very calmly. We will certainly not see an industrial explosion in a prosecco style.
But let’s get to the wines and vines that dominate the Montecucco DOC. The production plant is quite similar to other areas of Tuscany. It is the style that changes surprisingly.
Sangiovese is the undisputed king, also awarded with the DOCG. Sangiovese, from 90% Sangiovese with a minimum aging of 16 months and the Riserva must refine for 30 months. As you have noticed, the blend is allowed, with a variable of 10%, in pure Morellino style.
The Rosso DOC is drinkable and less austere, with a minimum percentage of 60% of Sangiovese and 12 months aging only for the Riserva.
Vermentino DOC (85% minimum) does not contradict itself and once again confirms this grape variety as the absolute protagonist of Tuscan whites and as the most credible king of the coast.
Montecucco Bianco DOC includes a minimum of 40% Vermentino or Trebbiano and is the classic unpretentious white but savory and tasty.
And then a incredible wine for its pleasantness and immediacy: the Montecucco Rosato, produced with 70% Sangiovese or Ciliegiolo.
Grand finale with Vin Santo DOC, a sweet and velvety nectar, produced with at least 70% of Trebbiano Toscano or Malvasia Lunga or Grechetto, that must be aged 18 months.
Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice DOC is rare and precious, a real elixir made only with the best Sangiovese grapes, at least 70%, and aged 18 months.
This is broadly the rich offer of the wines of these splendid hills, the production even starting from the basics, the foundations of the Tuscan wine culture, knows how to look ahead and propose dynamic wines, never too heavy, but which indeed know how to find a current style, without giving up on the past.
Montecucco production area
It is a patch of land with unique characteristics, stretched between Monte Amiata to the east, Grosseto to the west and Montalcino to the north. A little to the south, we find Pitigliano. The municipalities where Montecucco is produced are Arcidosso, Campagnatico, Castel del Piano, Cinigiano, Civitella Paganico, Roccalbegna and Seggiano.
But let’s go back to the Montecucco terroir. First, the Tyrrhenian Sea influences the west to bring warm winds and breezes full of iodine and then Mount Amiata, an old inactive volcano. And as you well know, the lava soils give an incredible mineral thickness to wines, especially Sangiovese, which manages to give up power and tannins to push the accelerator with minerality and a unique freshness. Combine this with a series of balsamic scents of Mediterranean scrub and you will have a wine that never shows hesitation. The body and the tannins are not imposing and austere like those of a Brunello, but the sea, the breezes that have soaked the grapes, making them salty, compensate.
And so, if we want to define Montecucco, we could say that it is a wine of great finesse, which focuses on pleasantness, freshness and natural drinkability. This does not mean that it is banal. On the contrary, it finds a stylistic simplicity in this land that invites more readings and tastings, thanks to the particular “mineral charm” that it manages to express.