Monteraponi Baron Ugo

Monteraponi Baron Ugo
Today’s fine bottle takes its name from Baron Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany in the tenth century and owner of the ancient medieval hamlet called Monteraponi. A wine estate that has merged invisibly into this beautiful, unspoilt hamlet, Monteraponi has been owned since the seventies by the Braganti family. However it was not until 2003 when the owner’s son, Michele Braganti, began to exploit fully the wonderful potential of these wild, craggy high-altitude vineyards in the Radda commune, a prime Chianti Classico location. In our mind this is the single most exiting estate in Chianti, and we have encountered a fair few.

Their top bottling comes from the vineyard of Baron d’Ugo one of the highest in Chianti Classico at 570 metres above sea level, and is set into a rock-hard south-easterly facing limestone slope, known locally as Albarese. Here the wines reflect the terroir of this sheer, lofty plot and the traditional, artisanal winemaking of its owner. It is produced from a classical blend of 90% Sangiovese, 7% Canaiolo and 3% Colorino. In the very best vintages the juice of the Baron d’Ugo vineyard is fermented separately and then aged for thirty six months in large French and Slavonian oak casks. From the 2012 vintage onwards Michele has classified the wine as IGT Toscana Rosso, from its original Chianti Classico designation, purely a descriptive decision rather than there being any difference in the blend or the winemaking. 2012 was a vintage of two halves that yielded excellent results. A bone dry and unseasonably hot start to the season exacerbated lack of rain in winter to cause the vines stress. The ensuing delay in ripening in a way helped shape the vintage because rain arrived at the end of August and allowed berry maturation to continue during the much cooler month of September. The wines reached full ripeness and were also much lower in alcohol than they might have been had the grapes ripened earlier in the summer, recording a reasonable 12.5% on average - the lowest levels for several years.

One of the most noble, classical and linear Chiantis we have ever tasted, this is a wine that rewards time and attention. Reserve it for a quiet, reflective moment. At first taciturn, austere even, but afforded patience it blossoms into a thrilling marriage of lively, intense red berry fruit and minerally crushed rocks, while a mollifying sweetness builds gradually with each sip.

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