A couple of years ago, we discovered Fattoria Montellori and the estate's enthusiastic, serious-minded proprietor Alessandro Nieri. Not long afterwards, we met Dr. Marco Razzauti, Montellori's exuberant 30 year old viticulturist and oenologist, and it quickly became clear to us just how committed this estate is to making world class Chianti and Super Tuscan reds. What is happening at Montellori is nothing short of enthralling. And instead of smoke and mirrors leading the way, as is sometimes the case in the world of wine, it is a solemn revitalization of the estate's vineyards and a complete dedication to natural, sustainable agronomy that has pushed the quality quotient at Montellori to ever higher levels. This estate's total makeover is due to the vast improvements in viticultural practices that Dr. Razzauti instituted several years ago, and Montellori's decision to limit production. Needless to say, the results speak volumes, loudly and clearly.
Fattoria Montellori is located off the beaten track, away from the glitz and glamour of the well-worn wine road that winds its way from Florence to Siena. Instead, Montellori is tucked away in the Montalbano zone of Chianti to the west of Florence, near the stately Tuscan town of San Miniato. San Miniato is renowned for its wealth of beautifully preserved Romanesque and Renaissance churches, which thrust their many spires skyward. This pretty town is equally celebrated for its savory truffles and heavenly wines. The latter treasures constitute some of Tuscany's most hedonistic pleasures.
Thanks to the foresight of Alessandro Nieri's father Giuseppe, Fattoria Montellori owns six distinct vineyards, all of which possess a unique soil, microclimate, exposure, and altitude. Red wine is king at Montellori, as it is throughout Tuscany. Not surprisingly, Chianti is the estate's most important wine, at least in terms of production. And what a Chianti it is! However, in recent years, Montellori has fashioned three outstanding Super Tuscan offerings: Moro, Dicatum, and Salamartano. Moro is the single vineyard offering that is the most accessible and seductive of the three, particularly in its youth. Moro is a blend of primarily Sangiovese to which small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malvasia Nera are added. Meanwhile, Dicatum is the most traditional of this estate's offerings. It is 100% Sangiovese from the hillside vineyard Cerreto Guidi, the last vineyard that Giuseppe Nieri personally planted. Salamartano on the other hand is a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that has been aged in small barriques. In addition, Alessandro Nieri and Marco Razzauti craft several excellent white wines, including Mandorlo, an artful non-traditional blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Clairette.