Under the guidance of the original owners, Willi and Doris Neukom, Montepeloso established itself as one of Tuscany’s most exciting estates, earning 5 stars from Robert Parker. In 1998, however, the estate was sold to Fabio Chiarelotto, a Swiss-Italian historian. Chiarelotto was entranced with the Neukom’s wines, but he was convinced that they fell short of the terroir’s true potential. While a unique site is important for great wine, an inspired winemaker is also required. The introspective Chiarelotto had little interest in the guidance of fashionable enologists. He was determined to follow his own path— and he brought with him a clear vision of the singular wines he felt the estate could yield.Within a year of the purchase, Chiarelotto embarked on a dramatic overhaul of the vineyards— retraining or re-grafting thousands of vines. He was willing to accept drastically reduced production for a few years if it would result in greater wines. In the cellar, Chiarelotto sought ways to soften the tannins, refine the aromatics, and better integrate the oak. With each succeeding vintage, he is getting closer to his ideal. Chiarelotto admits that it’s “easy to produce concentrated wines in such a hot climate…but it’s much harder to achieve elegance and finesse”.Chiarelotto is receiving the rewards of his passion. The buzz that has been spreading through Europe over the past few years has leapt the Atlantic. A growing number of collectors see Montepeloso’s wines as the most beautiful, profound, and expressive of the Tuscan New Wave.
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