It was only two months ago that I spent a perfect spring afternoon with Silvia Imparato, the vision and force behind the wines of Montevetrano. My time with her, roughly three hours, fills my heart and mind to this day, to this minute. Silvia is an astonishing woman, larger-than-life, a blend of education, wit, ambition, humility, etc.; the list is long.
I plan to write a very detailed (read: multi-part) post in the near future, but a friend just opened this wine for me the other day, served double blind, and it’s under my skin, it’s in my brain, in the best of ways. It’s kind of like driving a Ferrari for the first time, or the first time you visit Paris – things that stay with you, maybe forever. And they should, they’re that special. This wine, and really all of the wines, of Montevetrano are special.
That’s not easy for me to say (I think I’m a harsh critic, my wife has another word for it). But, having had these wines going back to the mid 90s, and most vintages in between, I feel it’s the only thing I can say. They’re special. Special for lots of reasons. At the end of the day, they’re elegant as hell, and they excite the soul, just like Silvia.
Silvia is such a terrific, thoughtful hostess.
So what does it take for a wine to get under one’s skin, to burrow deep in one’s mind with no chance of burrowing back out? It takes balance, and purity, natural acidity, elegant tannins and an understated power and finesse that can only come from farming that’s deeply caring, sustainable and best-in-class. It takes soul, passion.
What drew me to this place, the reason I absolutely had to visit, wasn’t to meet Silvia (I had no idea if she was even at the estate at the time), but to see the land that can produce such special fruit, specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that’s not exactly synonymous with Campania.
Silvia and I passed a few hours here together. I doubt I’ll ever forget it. Amazing place, amazing people.
The blend in 2007 was 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Aglianico. Maceration was ~ 20 days, with (~25 days) fermentation in steel tank; after the wine moves to carefully selected new and second usage barrique made from Nevers, Allier and Troncais oak for 12 months.
Silvia brought me through the vineyards, and we circled back to the barricaia.
OK, enough technical stuff, on to the tasting note from a few days ago:
2007 Azienda Agricola Montevetrano Montevetrano Colli di Salerno IGT (HR+) Early stage of maturity, elegant. A medium ruby core, clear, no real age showing. The first aromas greet me are right-bank BDX in a way, but these shift in just a few minutes, moving more toward earth and black rock. Served double-blind, I guessed the wine, but was off on the vintage because the wine – at first – seemed fully mature, with a medium body and super fine tannins that appear(ed) to have resolved. But, with more air, and in fact going into the second hour, the aromas has gained by a factor of two – as had the weight of the wine, now moving into/toward full-bodied territory; the tannins, too, become a touch more firm. And yet there’s this weightlessness to it, not totally, but it’s inconsistent with just how much is actually happening on the palate. Mature, but should be in this plateau for 5-8 years, no problem. An absolute joy to drink; profoundly well-balanced. highly recommended+
Bottle had been double decanted ~ 3 hours prior to service; last sip was the best.
By the way, the glass that my friend handed me (i.e. double-blind), I called Montevetrano.
(header photo: perfectly ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, taken a few years ago)