Monteraponi

Wine lovers don't often think of Chianti Classico as a region of distinct villages in the way of Burgundy (Vosne vs. Chambolle vs. Volnay) or Piemonte (Barolo vs. Serralunga vs. Barbaresco). But the regions are there and they matter: the purest Chiantis are wines of terroir that express the distinct soils, altitudes, expositions, and microclimates in delicious and fascinating ways.

Monteraponi is a true "insider's" wine from what may well be Chianti's most distinct commune: Radda.

If you need a cheat sheet (and who doesn't like a cheat sheet?) you can call Radda the Chambolle of Chianti. Its higher slopes, cool nights and stony, limestone-rich soils give the wines an aromatic radiance and feeling of transparency that frame the delectable Sangiovese fruit and Chianti Classico muscularity.

Radda should be more famous than it is. It hurts that its most famous wine, Montevertine's "Pergole Torte," is not labeled Chianti (originally it didn't qualify for the appellation because they refused to include white grapes, a requirement at the time). But Monteraponi is part of a new wave of traditionalist Chiantis that are bringing the village new interest.

Monteraponi makes quintessential, traditional Chianti of Radda. Their 12 ha of vines are high up (400-500 meters asl) in rocky soils with plenty of Chianti's classic limestone, alberese. They farm indigenous grapes only, and with minimal inputs. The winemaking is also traditional (fermentation on the ambient yeast in concrete, aging in large, old wood only) but with a contemporary focus on sorting and quality.

We've said it before and we'll say it again, but Chianti Classico offers absolutely blinding value. And it's hard to think of a producer that proves this more clearly than Monteraponi. Delicious wine from a special village in one of the world's great regions that drinks beautifully with food and will age gracefully for decades. If this story were about a Burgundy there'd be an extra digit in the price!

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