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Brunello gets all the attention, Chianti gets more hate than it deserves and somehow forgotten is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The thread that ties these three wine appellations together is Tuscany’s most famous grape, Sangiovese. Brunello has to be 100% Sangiovese to hold the designation, while Chianti need only have 80%. Vino Nobile rules allow for only 70% of the blend to be Sangiovese. But the tide has been changing and many of the best producers in both Chianti and Montepulciano are only using Sangiovese. Salcheto is a 100% Sangiovese Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and even better, a champion of sustainability. We jumped at the chance to bring in some of the 2013 Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as it sells for less than most decent Chianti (and way less than any Brunello). Salcheto’s vineyards are certified organic (they employ biodynamic practices as well), and owner Michele Manelli has taken the winery off the local electric grid, using solar and other renewable sources for power. Manelli puts the carbon footprint of each bottle of wine he makes on the label and has even gone as far as designing a special lighter-weight bottle, called the “Bordolese Toscanella,” for more efficient shipping. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermentation is with native yeasts and only the smallest possible amount of sulfur is added. The wine is then aged for 18 months in large 500 liter barrels, followed by 6 months in bottle before release. Most important of all the wine is delicious; with a host of high-toned cherry, ripe raspberry and classic woodsy Tuscan notes. Decant for half an hour, prep your best Bistecca Fiorentina and enjoy.
92 pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous
"The 2013 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of the most virile, ripe 2013 Vino Nobiles I tasted. A host of black cherry, smoke, tobacco, earthiness and licorice notes give the 2013 its distinctive baritone feel. That intensity comes through in the wines deep, intense palate feel. The 2013 is a serious Vino Nobile that needs to be paired with similarly hearty foods." Drink 2017-2025 13.5% abv