It has been nearly five years since we discovered Fattoria Montellori and the estate’s enthusiastic, serious-minded proprietor Alessandro Nieri. Shortly after meeting the dignified Nieri, 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. A solemn revitalization of the estate’s vineyards and a complete dedication to natural, sustainable agronomy has pushed the quality quotient at Montellori to very high levels. This estate’s total makeover is due to the vast improvements in viticultural practices that Dr. Razzauti instituted a number of years ago and Montellori’s decision to limit production. These improvements continue to speak volumes, even after the affable Razzauti’s departure for a new venture, as Montellori’s recent releases rank among the finest this estate has produced, and that says a lot.
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 a single vineyard offering that comes closest to Chianti in style. It 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. It is Montellori’s most expensive and age worthy wine. In addition to the estate’s exemplary reds, Montellori turns out several excellent white wines, including Mandorlo, an artful non-traditional blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Clairette.