The 2016 Montepirolo is a handy blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc that delivers a powerful framework of fruit, all surrounded by balanced and appropriately measured layers of spice and toast. Those fruit and oak elements are in happy lockstep. The grapes see longer pump-over times with extended maceration in order to lock in all the generous and dark fruit on display here. The wine then ages in both new and neutral oak for 12 months. Production ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 bottles, depending on the vintage.
Founded in 1978 by the late Vincenzo Muccioli, San Patrignano is a world-famous recovery community for addicts and troubled youth. The prestigious program focuses on rebuilding self-esteem, and one way this is achieved is through work. Community members are involved in various crafts from making leather bags and hand-printing wall paper for interior design. I admit to being an enthusiastic shopper of San Patrignano crafts and goods. The community also runs a terrific restaurant (with recovering young people in the kitchen, on the waitstaff and in the farms and gardens where the ingredients are sourced). One of the most successful programs is the winery, and it’s always an honor to review these wines. Knowing the estate background, you will recognize that the wine called 1978 (a pure expressions of Cabernet Franc) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the community. The wine named La Spallata refers to “giving a helping shoulder.” The first vines were planted in 1996 with Consulting Enologist Riccardo Cotarella. The estate reports that the 2017 vintage did not show the same scorching heat that we saw in other parts of Italy, but that yields were very generous.
The color is black, transparent garnet, ripe blackcurrant and black fruit intensity. The tannins are super smooth in spite of the Cabernet Sauvignon and ten times reasonable than those of Grand Vin in Pomerol that costs about $2,000. This region seems to work very well with Bordeaux-type varieties and has a tendency to soften the thorny acidity. A long, lingering finish. The wine also contributes to society through a project that support young people recover from drug addiction. KH-18.5/20