What is Monteraponi? Is it a village? Is it an estate? Is it a wine? The answer to all three questions is yes.
Monteraponi is a small village in the heart of the Chianti Classico completely surrounded by forests forming its own ecosystem. It is built around three medieval square towers, which were built in the 10th century. In the 1970s, the Braganti family bought the entire village. Back then the village consisted only of old, abandoned houses. Thanks to the Bragantis the village was rebuilt and today Monteraponi produces some of Tuscany’s most traditional Chianti Classico and fine olive oil of the highest quality. The village is located on a small hill at an altitude of 470m and is about 200 hectares large. However, only on 10 hectares vines are grown. 1200 olive trees are also planted on the property.
When it comes to wine, then there is no doubt that Monteraponi is taking a very traditional approach. All their Chianti Classico are produced with a large amount of Sangiovese (at least 90%) and small amounts of Canaiolo and Colorino. In an interview Michele Braganti, the winemaker and owner of Monteraponi, said that Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino are “the kings for the Chianti Classico blending”. This traditional Chianti-Classico blending was invented in 1872 by Baron Bettino Ricasoli. For over a century no other grape varieties were permitted in Chianti Classico but the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico Gallo Nero changed the Chianti Classico DOCG regulations under pressure from large wineries that wanted to use international grapes (especially Merlot) in their blends. The Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico Gallo Nero is the association that represents the Chianti Classico producers and that makes the rules for the Chianti Classico appellation. 95% of all Chianti Classico wineries are represented by the Consorzio. The symbol of the Consorzio is a black rooster.
Michele Braganti decided that Monteraponi should stick to the traditional formula of Baron Ricasoli, which is why they don’t produce any Chianti with 100% Sangiovese nor any with international grapes. What else sets Monteraponi’s Chianti Classico apart from the large, mass-produced ones? First of all, the fermentation of their Chianti Classico takes places in large concrete (cement) vats. Moreover, Monteraponi still uses Slavonian oak to age its wines. Many wineries in the Chianti Classico, especially the large ones, stopped using Slavonian oak and completely switched to French oak. The winery adopted organic agriculture in order to protect the environment of the Monteraponi ecosystem.
In 2003 the Braganti family began making wine. They produce one Chianti Classico, two Chianti Classico Riserva as well as one rosato, one red blend, one white wine, vin santo, grappa and olive oil. The village is part of the commune Radda in Chianti. Below is a picture showing the surrounding area.
Fellow-blogger John Fodera, author of Tuscan Vines, wrote a few months ago about his experience with Monteraponi and made me curious about their wines. Recently I tasted the 2010 Monteraponi Chianti Classico DOCG. Produced with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cannaiolo. Fermentation took place in concrete vats. The wine aged 16 months in parts in Slavonian and French oak. Afterwards the wine aged a few more months in concrete vats. The vines used for this wine were 15 years old. Non-filtered wine.
In the glass, intense ruby red with violet hints. 14% was the label listed alcohol by volume. The wine is classified as Chianti Classico DOCG.
On the nose, intense aromas of red cherries, dried berries, tobacco and spices (black pepper).
In the mouth, dry, quite fresh with a light acidity. The wine was of medium body and had mellow, pleasing tannins. Notes of cocoa and wild berries. The alcohol was very well integrated even though it is quite high. Fantastic, never-ending finish. .
The “standard” Chianti Classico from Monteraponi is very impressive and I will for sure buy this wine again. According to Wine Searcher it is available overseas, too. So should you be interested in the wine then you might have a good chance in finding it. The wine retails for around 18€. I absolutely love the detailed label of the wine.
I am now looking forward to try the two Monteraponi Chianti Classico Riserva. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a wine store in Munich that has them in stock.
Have you tasted this wine before? Did you like it?