2022 ChevernyDomaine du Salvard
France | Loire
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by Anthony Lynch
In 2017, the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium celebrated its fiftieth birthday. Hard to believe, but at the time of its creation, only twenty-five small farms made up this elite group, which today consists of more than two hundred individual estates. Among the founding members was Ferruccio Ferretti, a grower on the southwestern slope of Montalcino in the area known as Pietrafocaia, named for its incredibly rocky calcareous soils. The family had purchased the farm in 1896, farming grapes for wine as well as raising livestock and growing grain in these rural Tuscan hills.
Until now, the Ferrettis never bottled their house wine. Despite decades of experience cultivating Sangiovese and vinifying what is now known as Brunello di Montalcino, they had always sold off their wine to other estates to bottle under a different label. But with the 2016 vintage, Ferruccio’s great-grandson Matteo Perugino decided that it was time for a change. Having just finished studies in agriculture in nearby Siena and armed with valuable experience working in another Montalcino cellar, Matteo returned to the family farm determined to capture the fruit of his family’s labor—and highlight this special part of the appellation—in bottle.
His decision to largely maintain the traditional methods of working practiced by his uncle Roberto and grandfather Ivo is logical, given the unique slice of Montalcino they call home. While their seven hectares of vineyards enjoy perfect southwest sun exposure, the high elevation—more than 460 meters above sea level—has proven crucial to retaining freshness in the wines. Even more striking are the soils, exceptionally rich in limestone and littered with hunks of the rock known locally as galestro. Simply put, the Ferrettis are situated in a prime zone for producing top-quality Brunello.
From sustainably farmed vineyards—Matteo has initiated the process of organic certification—the family bottles a Brunello from a selection of the best fruit from their oldest vines. Maturing for three years in large Slavonian oak casks allows the intricacy and nuance of the site to shine through, and the terroir of Pietrafocaia is not shy about expressing itself in the form of a decisively savory, stony backbone. The bright acidity, surely a result of the cool nights at this altitude, only serves to highlight the mouthwatering quality that characterizes Ferretti’s Sangiovese.
Growing up on the farm, Matteo always wanted to make wine, following in the footsteps of his uncle and grandfather. Today, the three generations work side by side. Enthusiasts of fine, classically produced Sangiovese will not want to miss the exciting creations from this young Brunello traditionalist.
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