Le Pergole Torte, the original super-Tuscan

xMontevertine is a small Chianti estate of 11 hectares, first planted in 1967 by Sergio Manetti along with oenologist Giulio Gambelli. By 1981 Manetti was finding the DOC Chianti too restrictive (producers were not allowed to use 100% Sangiovese and were required to blend in white grape varieties), so he decided to instead produce a premium Tuscan wine that he hoped would conveyed the terroir of his site, particularly with Sangiovese. Manetti withdrew from the Chianti Consorzio, and Le Pergole Torte Vino da Tavola was born: Montevertine claim it was the first ever ‘Super Tuscan’, though Antinori may dispute that claim. Today, his son Martino remains committed to developing Montevertine following his father’s recipe: 100% Sangiovese grapes, harvested late, fermented in cement tanks without temperature control, macerated on skins for 25 days, then matured in Slavonian oak for 18 months with a further six in French Alliers barriques. When Martino Manetti visited Scotland recently I tasted through four vintages of Le Pergole Torte. These wines are imported by Euroworld Wines Ltd, and Le Pergole Torte costs around £50 per bottle.

Le Pergole Torte vertical tasting

Montevertine (Italy) Le Pergole Torte IGT 1997
This has a very dark, briarwood colour, with a dense, bloody core. There’s a lovely warm, plush, enveloping briar and tobacco nose that is earthy and sweet. Harmonious and elegant on the palate, there are beautifully integrated tannins and a juicy cherry skin bite of acidity that gives this freshness. Fine and food-friendly, there is a great savoury depth to this mouth-filling wine, with a gorgeous smokiness and spice re-emerging into the finish. Excellent. See current stockists on wine-searcher.

Montevertine (Italy) Le Pergole Torte IGT 1998
This has a dense, deep colour that is more opaque. Again a deep, briary note on the nose, but very rich with cherry and Autumnal berry fruit, and a little slick of vanilla and coffee. The palate is fine, with a rich texture and plenty of extraction, with a weighty mid-palate and plenty of vivid, lush, cherry and red plum fruit. There is more creamy weight and ripeness about this wine, but it is fresh in the finish again. Very good indeed/excellent. See current stockists on wine-searcher.

Montevertine (Italy) Le Pergole Torte IGT 1999
Martino believes this will be one of the longest lived of the recent Pergole Tortes. It has a more vibrant colour, with a garnet core. There’s a cedary aspect on the nose, with toffee and ripe red fruit. Nice glossy fruit quality on the palate, with blackcurrant and cherry, and a really deep sweetness of fruit. This is supple and quite creamy on the mid palate, with a clean, pure cherry character and brisk but chocolaty tannins. Chewy, savoury and well balanced in the finish, this is excellent/outstanding. See current stockists on wine-searcher.

Montevertine (Italy) Le Pergole Torte IGT 2000
Sadly, Sergio Manetti died during the 2000 harvest, so this was the first wine for which Martino took on the entire winemaking responsibility. It is dark, with a plummy colour and a broad, ruby rim. It was a very hot summer, so there was a little less extraction to avoid harsher tannins, and the nose is soft and approachable, with blackberry and cherry fruit, though a fine, jammy ripeness. There is a sweet earthiness on the palate of a lovely mouth-filling wine, with a slightly bloody, baked plum pie quality and a fine juicy mid-palate. There are hints of chocolaty depth before fresh lemon acidity cuts through, with hints of spices and tobacco. Excellent. See current stockists on wine-searcher.