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’.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of Italy’s classic red wines and has unquestionably helped Tuscany retain its privileged place on the world wine map. It comes from the vineyards which surround Montepulciano, a picturesque hill town 40 km southeast of Siena, in southeastern Tuscany. The key grape variety grown here is Sangiovese (known locally as Prugnolo Gentile). According to DOCG rules, to be labeled as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano a wine must come from vineyards on the hills which surround Montepulciano. This area is made up of slopes reaching 250–600 masl in altitude, located between two rivers – the Ocria and the Chiana.
Coming entirely from the 15 hectare ‘Salcheto’ vineyard, each bottle of the Vino Nobile is made from 1 plant of Prugnolo Gentile. These vineyards sit between 350 and 450 masl. The soil has a large portion of blue and gray clay in its composition, along with a large amount of sand. This allows for great development of primary fruit flavours.
Sangiovese 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.
Hand-selected and hand-harvested bunches from the estate vineyard are gently crushed and spontaneously fermented in a combination of larger French oak “botte” and smaller barriques, The wine spends 18 months aging after in that oak, before spending another 6 months aging in bottle before release.
Bright and aromatic, with a mixture of red and blackfruits, primarily red cherry, raspberry and plum. The palate is refined and elegant, with fine-grained tannins and perceptible acidity. The red cherry and raspberry continue, with some intriguing savoury, umami elements. There some intense minerality here as well, with that characteristic Sangiovese “sangre”. This is classic Vino Nobile, with textbook balance and mouthwatering freshness, despite its full weight. Pair with grilled chicken, spaghetti Bolognese or an antipasti board.