Dolce Vita in Tuscany (2/3)
Classic among the classics, I am pursuing my way of 10 days of Dolce Vita in Tuscany…
Since some days, I am hearding about an estate which looks original: Salcheto. Why original ? Created in 1984 and bought in 2011, it’s the first vineyard entirely “eco-friendly” in Europe. Brilliant ! Some solar cells for the luminosity of the cellar, a recycled wood to make the tables of the tasting, including a fermentation by gravity and a hanging garden around the cellar to control the temperature, it’s 65% of energy saving ! All goes in a Bordelais bottle with a “Tuscany” accent in recycled glass…obviously: 275 grams instead of the habitual 450 grams. For the delivery, it worths ! And the tasting…of the water, is done in a recycled glass from the bottle. Small drawback to this beautiful organic panorama: only the young wines are organics, for the upper wines, some sulfits are added.
For the “truth” tasting, we start with the Obvius line in DOC Rosso di Montepulciano. Everything in co-fermentation and organic (90% sangiovese / 10% blend), the rosé 2014 is fresh and easy-drinking for the picnic. About the red 2014 in 100% sangiovese, it’s still closed, dry with high acidity. And for 15€, I think a bit excessive…but the “eco-friendly marketing” side is the reason: all the line is bought and sold ! The upper wines have more sulfits (comprehensive agriculture), but for 2€ more, unless to confine yourself to the 100% organic, the Nobile 2012 (100% sangiovese) shows more interest. And for 25€, you reach the Riserva 2011. After 2 fermentations (the first one after 5 weeks and the second for 15% of added grapes), 2 years in French and Spanish oak and 1 year in bottle, this 95% sangiovese/ 5% colorino is superbly melted on the fig and prune in the mouth, with smoked and chocolated notes. The quality-price ratio is clearly more interesting ! But the Salcheto’s reputation is mostly based on their 2 crus: Salco and 2089. Think about of a layer of chocolate, silky, slightly bitter, with liquorice and tobacco notes, and you have the 100% sangiovese Salco. For the price of 2 Obvius, I prefer to buy one: this one ! And if you are looking for the high quality, for the price of two Salco, you will attain “2089”. This wine symbolises that I love in Italy: their creativity ! Maybe inherited of the Supertoscans (that I have already criticised), they dare. Here, “2089” is a blend of the 2008 and 2009 vintages of Salco, aged separately. Limited to 6000 bottles, it develops not only tertiaries aromas of tobacco and mushrooms, keeping an astonishing minty freshness. Remarkable ! So I leave Montepulciano happy and confident for the rest: Montalcino.
Here, we are joining the country of the Rosso but mainly of the Brunello di Montalcino. Again, a man wanted to get away from the local tradition: Ferruccio Biondi-Santi. Gloominess of the young wines and sometimes sweet, or even sparkling, whose the Toscans were enthusiasts in the XIXth c. He makes him to conserve his wine, thanks to a clone of sangiovese: the brunello. The first vintage comes out in 1888 and becomes a myth ! Today, the Brunello di Montalcino has to be kept at least 5 years before selling (ageing and bottling) and its longevity, does it, with the barolo, the most coveted grape of Italy. It’s not for nothing that the ha is estimated around 500 000€, against 150 000 and 100 000€ respectively in Montepulciano and Chianti. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the good luck to taste a Biondi-Santi, but a stop to the Cantina di Montalcino gave me a good overview. Gathering 90 producers for 500 000 bottles, this cooperative, despite the cold welcome, allowed me to refine my palate. Their Rosso 2013, with a fruity-spicy nose, releases a peppery, almost salty in mouth really original. As for the Brunello 2008, slightly tiled, it explodes to the nose with its truffle and caramel, before to captivate you in the mouth with its burned side, accentuated by the leather and the liquorice. Good job ! I think I can leave and have a rest after this busy day…San Gimignano and the Chianti area are waiting for me !