Chianti Classico should be one of the world’s great wines. The soils, aspect and climate offer the perfect home for that thrilling and most noble of Italian red varieties; Sangiovese. The problem is that too many Chianti Classico producers disappoint with wines that either are not good enough, or taste very little like they are from Tuscany. We have long searched for another great Chianti Classico estate to complement Palazzino’s characterful wines, tasting several hundred, often from big names, that left us feeling cold. As is often the way in life, one small sip away from giving up our search, we stumbled across the delightful Monteraponi Estate. From one of the region’s highest communes, Radda, these are startlingly pure, articulate and easy to drink. Relatively unknown outside of Italy, but not for long in our humble opinion, Monteraponi are on course to become one of Tuscany’s hottest tickets.
Monteraponi Past and Present
The Chianti farmhouse of Monteraponi, an ancient medieval hamlet, situated on the hill of the same name, once belonged to Baron Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany in the tenth century. It was not until 2003, however, that current owner Michele Braganti had produced and commercialised the estate’s own bottlings. The vineyard had been in family hands since 1974 but the fruit was previously sold off to other growers. The vineyard area, all in the commune of Radda in Chianti Classico, spans 10 hectares. The wines are planted as high as 570 meters above sea level, some of the very highest in the Chianti Classico region, on a mixture of hard Albarese and softer Galestro limestone soils. The wines are made in a traditional, low-tech and gentle way. After hand harvesting and gentle pressing, spontaneous fermentation is carried out in cement vats, where the wines remain to macerate and infuse with the skins for a further 25 days. The wine is then racked off into large used French and Slavonian oak casks for between 14-36 months of ageing depending on the cuvee. Bottling takes place without fining or filtration. These are some of Chianti Classico’s most exciting, vivid and age-worthy wines. Still a relatively young project, it already seems as if Monteraponi and their brilliant wines have the ability to elevate the reputation of the Chianti Classico as a whole.