Reach Chianti Classico's Thrilling Heights with Monteraponi
"Vintner Michele Braganti and his talented team turn out some of the most elegant expressions from this part of Tuscany. This wine…punches above its price point to offer delicate berry nuances, wild violet, crushed limestone and more finessed nuances."
—Monica Larner, Wine Spectator
Michele Braganti, the man behind Monteraponi, got up and left dinner early. There was no apology, but there was an explanation: the moon was full, so it was time to rack his wines off the sediment. It had to be that night; if he waited, the wine could end up cloudy, less pure. And Michele's wine, despite never being fined or filtered, is always pure.
Still, we were surprised — this dinner was meant to expose the wines to importers, buyers, sommeliers and journalists. A great opportunity to get the wines out there! After all, Monteraponi wasn't yet known in the U.S. or international markets. The big reviews and NY Times write ups were still to come (Asimov would later rave, "the Chianti Classicos at this excellent estate…are superb year in and year out.”)
But Michele has a certain "I don't give a f*ck" vibe — the wine is the thing. You can taste that attitude in the wine, as much as Radda's rocky soils and high elevation. For all the "finessed nuances" Larner identifies, the wine is fundamentally a "powerful, wild wine," in the words of Antonio Galloni. To be clear, Galloni thinks that's a good thing. He gave it the same, high score as Larner, and also noted that it's exceptionally terroir focused.
There are a lot of ways to look at this wine, but at its core, it's all about the terroir. Larner sums it up nicely: “Monteraponi, based in Radda in Chianti, is distinguished by mostly alberese soils (making up 90% of the estate surface area). These hard limestone soils tend to produce aromatic and delicate wines with lifted aromas of wild berry and blue flower. The elegance obtained from these sites, combined with highly positioned vineyards at about 600 meters in elevation, leaves a beautiful signature across all the wines in this exceptional portfolio."
A wine from a top producer in Barolo’s best terroir (never mind Burgundy) would cost an arm and a leg. But despite the press, despite the high scores, despite the fact that the single-vineyard bottlings are quickly snapped up by collectors, this remains a bit of an insider's wine. Monteraponi's Chianti Classico remains a great deal. And an ageworthy one at that!
Monteraponi, Chianti Classico, 2021 $33.99
Floral, savory and saline, as well as straight up delicious, this is wild. Chianti Classico is a classic pairing with steak and this will be great with meat. But it has layers to work with more complicated dishes too.
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