Established in 1984, Salcheto is the creation of viticulturist and winemaker, Michele Manelli. Michele’s genuine passion for refined and delicate wines has propelled this tiny estate into one of Montepulciano’s top producers. His mission is simple and clear: seek quality, both in the vineyard and the cellar, with an unfailing respect for the character of the grapes. Manual collections, sulfite-free vinifications, native yeasts, “Tuscan Governo” method and large botte and tonneaux barrels are the tools used to produce wines that are elegant and soft, with pronounced aromas and uniqueness for each vintage released. Though lesser known than Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile offers incredible value and an earlier drinking window for Tuscan wine lovers. Geographically situated between its more famous neighbours, Vino Nobile’s style takes the best from each—bright and supple, concentrated and powerful. Salcheto is an ‘off the grid’ winery operating one of the wine world’s only energy-independent cellar systems. Along with countless other environmental initiatives, this led to Salcheto being named Gambero Rosso’s Sustainable Winery of the Year in 2014. Their 50 hectares of organically- and biodynamically-farmed vines are planted with Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese), Canaiolo, Mammolo, Colorino, Merlot and Trebbiano. Their ‘Obvius’ lineup offers a clean, modern style of natural wines made from, as Michele puts it, ‘grapes only’.
Rosso di Montepulciano is a DOC for red wines made from Sangiovese grown in Tuscany, central Italy. It is the junior appellation associated with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. Generally this wine (like its neighbour Rosso di Montalcino and its relation to Brunello di Montalcino) is an easier-drinking, fresher and fruitier version of the senior wine, though it is shorter lived. Amendments made to the regulations in 1999 led to the Rosso di Montepulicano wine style which exists today. Regulations now allow Rosso to be made in the same area of production around the town of Montepulciano and from similar grape varieties as its better-known sibling. There are two slight differences between the two siblings: yields tend to be a little higher for Rosso, which is allowed 7,000 liters per hectare compared to Vino Nobile’s 5,600 liters per hectare; and Rosso is released much earlier than its brother, only requiring six instead of 24 months of aging.
A blend of the three estates: Salcheto; Poggio Piglia; and La Bandita. 90% Sangiovese vinified in “Grapes Only” method, without any additions.
Sangiovese, a dark-berried vine, is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Virtually synonymous with the red wines of Tuscany and all the romanticism that goes with the territory, Sangiovese is the core constituent in some of the great names in Italian wine. It is prized for its high acid, firm tannins and balanced nature. Savoury flavours of dark cherries and black stone fruit are characteristic and may be backed by secondary notes of tomato leaf and dried herbs. The use of oak has become more popular and this coaxes richer flavours from the grapes, tending toward plum and wild raspberry.
Manual harvesting. Fermentation in stainless steel induced by native yeasts. Aged four months, 70% in steel and 30% in wood followed by three months in bottle. Produced as a rosé, not a saignée. There has been no manipulation or additions to the wine. It is 100% natural, “just the grapes”.
A hint of reduction gives way to smoky cherry, berry and saline flavors. This is rich, but also fresh and bone-dry. Offers fine balance and a long, minerally finish. This is serious rosé, with more grip and balance than the simple quaffers one usually finds.