Evolution and Revolution!

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Albugnano and Montespertoli, two presentations within a few days, two distant places, one common denominator: the excellence of territory and terroir. This is how, unbeknownst to them, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese once again find themselves duetting in the glass, and on these virtual pages once more. What is going on over there? What is it that brings them together? The Revolution of winemakers has just begun!

Something special always happens around a bottle of wine, let alone when a few enlightened and forward-thinking winemakers come together. That’s when extraordinary things happen, as a Révolution.

Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, two of the world’s most prized grape varieties. Never be satisfied when you have excellence on your hands! Therefore, one cannot settle for an average quality that is not way more than adequate, with all the winning cards in hand. But this alone is not enough: to win you must play the game, and to win the championship you must be a strong and united team.

Albugnano is a municipality in Alto Monferrato, whereas Montespertoli is in the hills around Florence, and is one of the most widespread wine-growing municipalities in Tuscany. Seemingly distant in geographical location, but sharing a centuries-old tradition in wine production, they are now both on the same virtuous path and, more interesting, out of the same intuition.

Albugnano went on ahead in 2017 with a spontaneous alliance of winemakers under the number 549. I am one of those people obsessed with numbers. I play with license plates! I believe numbers are messages from the Angels! When, in moments of discouragement, improbable numbers dance around you, it’s the Angels saying that everything is going to be all right! Albugnano has chosen a number with multiple meanings, most definitely a good omen! And then there is also a hidden 99 therefore the project can certainly be considered born under a lucky star!

The first proposal of a spontaneous aggregation in Albugnano was received as alien to the earth. This is how the story of the Winemakers present at the tasting begins. However, disruptive ideas are often the ones the that are most likely to bring about tangible changes. And so, on April 5 (4), 9 producers found a new Association, in Albugnano, which is located guess at what altitude? That’s right! At exactly 549 mt above sea level.

A WINE THAT STARTS FROM THE TOP AND AIMS EVEN HIGHER

This is their inspirational quote! A wine from the top of the hills of Monferrato. And, even though the DOC regulations allow 15% Freisa, Barbera and Bonarda vines, Albugnano 549 chose to use Nebbiolo in purity. A choice consistent with the goal of enhancing even more a territory with a strong vocation for winemaking, leveraging on the extreme elegance and recognizability of its most important grape variety. Five years have passed, and the association has now 14 members.

A first important goal has certainly been achieved: the average quality benchmark has gotten higher and higher for each producer beyond the stylistic interpretations of each, in the name of the value of a territory that must express itself with comparable excellence despite individual labels. The interesting future that was just a glimpse at the beginning of this new adventure, today is an increasingly present reality that is destined to last.

There are 17 Winegrowers of Montespertoli, 17 tales and just one story: the sustainable excellence of the territory captured in a glass. It is from the definition and sharing of a precise idea of wine, born almost by chance among younger producers around a glass of good Tuscan wine, that the intuition was born. The Association of Montespertoli Winegorwers was then founded in 2022. The Montespertoli Winegrower’s Covenant is crystal clear:

Direct cultivation of grapes, sustainable agronomic practices, respect for the raw material, wines that are an expression of the territory of origin, collaboration with the entire agricultural community, enhancement of environmental sustainability, and ongoing dialogue outside of Montespertoli.

Good, healthy, and sustainable wine in full respect of the ecosystem. In Montespertoli once more, a fresh start is fueled by the deep connection with the land and the desire to be part of it by playing a leading role. The watchword is biodiversity. The perfect proportions between vineyards, olive groves, woods, crop fields and pastures, which are home to countless forms of life and make the landscape of Tuscany so very evocative and wonderfully romantic.

In contrast to Albugnano 549, which has tightened its grip on the DOC by choosing a single grape variety as its standard-bearer, Montespertoli is left to choose what best represents the highest expression of quality from each individual estate. Here the focus is on wines that are fresh and contemporary and yet always traceable to the terroir. I must admit however that the pure Sangiovese interpretations were the ones that touched my heart the most. The average quality level of Montespertoli wines is already adequate, but there is aways room to grow, and this is the aim of the Association that has taken the first steps toward a concept of excellence embraced and shared by everyone.

Anything that demolishes instead of directing serves no purpose except to debase the work of those who only need inspiration instead. And inspiration often comes from sharing ideas and constructive criticism, even toward oneself. Unity is strength, and those who endure will always win! Conventional wisdom is alway wright, and it is only in this way that one can aspire to achieve ambitious results in terms of quality. Albugnano and Montespertoli in this sense have never been so close!

Let me wrap it up with a quote by Andrea Petrini from the blog “Paths of wine”

“Get out of your borders, do not wait too long, share your values with the world as much as possible, challenge even those who have different ideas, in Italy or abroad. In short, promote yourselves and do not create a new Indian reserve, which, in the world of Italian wine, would be neither the first nor the last!”

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