Impressive wines are coming out of Carpineto Winery in Tuscany.
Thirty-year old wines that express youth and harmony bearing all three types of aromas (varietal, secondary and tertiary) in the palate don’t come around often. Needless to say, I was completely impressed. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 1989 of Carpineto Winery came from a 3 out of 5 star vintage, a middle range climatic quality but with the aid of good vinification, the wine came out spectacularly in the evolution as it aged. Vibrant in appearance and important in its structure, in its garnet shade, with the presence of floral aromas of violet, dark stone fruits, licorice, spices and dried tobacco and leaves the palate with fullness and persistence of its flavors. Like the 1989 vintage, the 1995 vintage of the same wine expressed itself more beautifully. Compact, full-bodied with a vibrant garnet color, this wine came out from a perfect 5 star vintage and with the aid of its vinification process, the youthful characteristics still come out after being kept for 26 years. A graceful wine in the nose and palate with ample complexities in the aromas and flavors, smooth tannins and great structure.
These two wines perfectly epitomize the philosophy of Carpineto, known for their aging ability and born to excel in the glass.
Carpineto was founded in 1967 by Giovanni Carlo Sacchet and Antonio Mario Zaccheo.
Naturally in pursuit of innovation, Giovanni and Antonio aimed to produce the best red wine that the terroir can offer in the Chianti Classico appellation. They envisioned the enormous potentiality of Tuscany, a land where they could produce great traditional wines by applying modern viticulture and winemaking techniques and technology.
With their revolution, they dramatically exceeded the quality standards of the traditional Tuscan wine.
What started as 20 hectares half a century ago has increased tenfold to 200 hectares, distributed in five estates: Montepulciano, Montalcino, Gaville (Alto Valdarno), Dudda (Greve in Chianti), and Gavorrano. With regards to the wine they produce, the quality never wavered until now, after exactly 52 years of winemaking, their iconic Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva is among the Top 100 Wines of Italy according to Wine Spectator which had been awarded in succession over the past three years.
In a succession of three years of the vintages 2010, 2011 and 2013, among the top 100 wines chosen by Wine Spectator.
The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2010 was number 26 in the year 2015 with a score of 93 points, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2011 was number 76 in 2016, again with a score of 93 points, and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2013 was number 11 in 2018 with a higher score of 95 points.
Over the years, Carpineto has maintained the winemaking activity within the two families which has substantially grown with such an international success exporting to more than 70 countries with the North American countries in the lead. Together with the new generations, Caterina Sacchet who functions as the oenologist, along with Elisabetta Sacchet, Francesca Zaccheo and Antonio Michael Zaccheo, they continue to experiment in their high level of production with the aim of protecting the characteristics of the wine, the environment and the historical values of Tuscany.
It is now a fully-grown company but still very much family-oriented. The annual production of three million bottles are mostly dedicated to red wines which is about 90% especially with the DOCG appellation. A very small percentage is dedicated to the production of white wines and sparkling wines, the latter being a rarity and the first ever produced in the Chianti Classico zone. Carpineto red wines are known for their excellent aging ability and approachability in part due to their extensive bottle-aging technique.
In fact, Carpineto ages the Riserva wines between six to twelve months longer than the minimum period required by the DOCG appellation restrictions.
On a two-day informative trip of two of Carpineto’s estates, Montepulciano and Montalcino a few days ago, visiting the vineyards in their winter state, the winery as the wines age in their wooden vats, we had the possibility to have an important vertical tasting of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva from 1989 to 2013, tasting of the new vintages of the Dogajolo line, Farnito line and the wines from Montalcino.
At the Montepulciano estate, there are 84.5 hectares of dry-farmed vineyards at an elevation of 250 meters above sea level which are dedicated to the new clones of Sangiovese and international grape varietals for the age worthy wines. Here, the Camponibbio and Appodiati vineyards are located. The Appodiati vineyards have been selected for their exceptional characteristics, which fully glorify the microclimatic characteristics of each area. The wines produced from this area are for very long ageing and are bottled without undergoing any kind of treatment. They are released only after a minimum of 5 years of bottle aging. There is a large green area that slopes on a small natural lake and an olive grove of 12 hectares that produce the company’s extra virgin olive oil. Here, Carpineto produces the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Farnito and Appodiati single-vineyard wines that are produced only on great vintages.
The Montalcino estate, on the other hand is a 53-hectare farm at an elevation of 500 meters above sea level with 10 hectares dedicated to vineyards cultivated with Sangiovese Grosso. The slightly northern exposure of the vineyards, surrounded by thick woods which protect the vineyard from the warm and humid westerly winds that come up from the Maremma, confers the wine flavors of wild berries and Mediterranean herbs. The unique microclimate gives the wines intense bouquets, vibrant acidity, elegance and great longevity. Here, the Rosso di Montalcino DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG wines are produced.
Rowena Dumlao - Giardina is the author and photographer of Apron and Sneakers and The Chosen Table. Besides her blog, she's also a recipe developer and a travel writer for other food and travel sites.