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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Suvereto, Tuscany
People: Fabio Chiarelotto, Owner & Winemaker | Fabrizio Moltard, Consultant Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Tucked away off the Tuscan coast in the chalky gravel and clay hills of Suvereto lies the 30-hectare Montepeloso estate.
Under the guidance of the original owners, Willi and Doris Neukom, Montepeloso established itself as one of Tuscany’s most exciting estates. Swiss-born Fabio Chiarelotto bought the estate in 1998. He was entranced with the Neukom’s wines but was also convinced that they fell short of the terroir’s true potential.
Climatically warmer than interior Tuscany, Suvereto naturally limits yields and is capable of producing wines with great concentration and perfume. Chiarelotto admits about his wine that it’s "easy produce concentrated wines in such a hot climate…but it’s much harder to achieve elegance and finesse."
While a unique site is important for great wine, an inspired winemaker is also required. The introspective Chiarelotto had little interest in the guidance of fashionable enologists. He was determined to follow his own path. He brought with him a clear vision of the singular wines he felt the estate could yield. His obsession is such that there are few others with which to compare.
Chiarelotto overhauled the vineyards within a year of purchase: retraining and regrafting thousands of vines. He accepted drastically reduced production over the first few years in order to achieve great wines. In the cellar, Chiarelotto sought ways to soften the tannins, refine the aromatics, and better integrate the oak. With each succeeding vintage, he gets closer to his ideal.
A Montepeloso buzz has spread over Europe and has leapt across Atlantic. Collectors view Montepeloso as the most beautiful, profound and expressive of the Tuscan "new wave." Production will increase as young vines reach maturity. Unfortunately for now, these wines remain among Italy's elite rarities.
"This tasting was one of the highlights of my recent trip to Maremma. Proprietor Fabio Chiarelotto and longtime winemaker Fabrizio Moltard have turned out a magnificent, thrilling set of wines. The 2016s are majestic, while the 2018s, which I tasted from tank, show how well warmer sites handled 2018. Of course, as readers will see, the opposite was true in 2017. Today the wines spend less time in wood and there is more attention to cooperage overall. More importantly, the wines have never been better."
"These are deep, resonant wines that capture all the magic of Maremma."
Wine Advocate 1/2017
"Montepeloso demonstrates special skill when it comes to blending. The various wines reviewed here are linked by a profound sense of balance and seamlessness."
"Fabio Chiarelotto is one of the top producers in Maremma and Italy more broadly. For the last few years Chiarelotto has worked out of a makeshift warehouse cellar while building a new winery. The current facility is not at all adequate for wines with this level of ambition."
"Fabio Chiarellotto's new releases are picture-perfect snapshots of their respective vintages. The 2011s are rich, powerful and at times a bit on the heavy side, while the 2012 A Quo and the other 2012s I have tasted from barrel reveal a vintage with more energy. Maremma is an interesting region. Wineries seem to be either superstars or very much under the radar. There doesn't seem to be too much middle ground. Montepeloso will soon join the ranks of the elite, if it hasn't already. As always, these are classic Maremma reds built on intensity, power and texture, all hallmarks of Suvereto."
Wine Advocate 2012
"Suvereto is one of the warmer microclimates in the Tuscan Maremma. Proprietor Fabio Chiarelotto succeeded in capturing the best elements of these sites while also shaping his wines with a level of finesse that is remarkable."