2019 Sette Ponti Sette Merlot Toscana
From the critics:
James Suckling | 97 JS
James Suckling | 97 JS
Here is a new submission from Tenuta Sette Ponti. A pure expression of Merlot, the 2019 Sette is a blend of fruit from three vineyard sites— Cipressi, Nocetta 1 and Sorbaccio—all found on the estate. This wine is soft and velvety from the get-go with lots of black fruit and rich concentration. Black cherry, dried blackberry, sweet spice and a hint of dried mint appear on the bouquet. This is a super generous and immediate wine that puts it all out there for you to enjoy. The wine is absolutely transparent in terms of its pleasure factor. There are no hidden agendas in this true crowd-pleaser.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RP
Wine Details for 2019 Sette Ponti Sette Merlot Toscana
|Type of Wine||Italy Red|
: With 266,000 hectares (657,300 acres) of vines spanning the planet, Merlot lands in 2nd place among all grape varietals planted in the world. Despite its inability to crack the top spot for most popular grape, it has remained under the radar performing as silent majority in the hallowed soils of its own origin, Bordeaux. Merlot is the most widely cultivated grape varietal in France, dominating the southwest regions, most notably, the Right bank. It is the body, mind and soul of some of the most collectable, influential and revered wines in the world.
Merlot has never had its time in the spotlight; nevertheless, has been quietly supplying the backbone for some of the most prominent wines in the Right Back since the 18th century. Merlot first appeared in French literature in 1784 when a French official claimed the wines produced from ‘Merlau’ (local French Dialect for Merlot) were the finest of its time. It is speculated that the name Merlot is derived from the French word, ‘Merle,’ meaning black bird. Whether the namesake is due to its small, deep black colored berries or the little black birds which had an affinity for the early ripening berries is still unknown. French researchers, using complex DNA fingerprinting technology (first developed by UC Davis) have concluded that Merlot is the offspring of French varietals, Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire.
The Noble Bordeaux Varietal of Merlot thrives in its natural host on the Right Bank of the Gironde estuary, where the terroir is composed of rich clay, sand, limestone and iron deposits; and excels in temperate, Mediterranean, maritime climates. It dominates the vineyards of Pomerol and Saint Emilion, which have bred wines of unrivaled quality such as Chateau Petrus and Le Pin (both 100% Merlot). Merlot eventually infiltrated the Medoc (Left Bank) where it found similar and hospitable soils; ultimately influencing the wines produced there by helping to “soften” the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Its first appearance in America was documented in 1850 when French nurseryman, Antoine Delmas, brought French vines to the Santa Clara Valley.
Its inhabitance would inevitably spread to terroir hotspots around the world, such as Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa and nearly every wine-producing country in the world. The great and world-renowned Christian Mouiex inclined to state that “when the Merlot grape is planted on the proper terroir and harvested at its peak it produces a wine that is characterized as voluptuous, generous and distinctive.”
Merlot may not dwell in the spotlight, nor possess savvy titles like its relative, Cabernet Sauvignon but rather, is the blue-collar of grape varieties, laboring to produce some of the greatest wines in the world. Though Merlot was traditionally considered a secondary and blending varietal (which it is quite successful at) conversely, is quite sustainable and capable on its own. From the illustrious Chateau Petrus in Pomerol, to Pahlmeyer in the famed Napa Valley and on to the Tuscan Legend, Masseto, all of which are composed of 100% Merlot, prove the importance and resilience of the Merlot grape varietal. The magic of Merlot has entranced the world with its subtle, soft, sensuous texture and adaptability as well also its aptitude for producing wines that can age effortlessly for decades.
: Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.
Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.
The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.
The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.
With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.
: Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.
Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.
Tenuta Sette Ponti
: Tuscany is home to some of the greatest wine producers in the world; offering a diverse selection of wines from both indigenous and international grape varieties. The breathtaking Tuscan landscape is draped with vineyards which produce these tremendous wines. “It is among these rows that we begin making our wines, caring for the quality of our soils and our grapes.” – Antonio Moretti Cuseri, on his beloved Tuscan estate, Tenuta Sette Ponti. There is an attachment to the land and its sovereign rules, traditions and a respect for past and future generations and is something that Cuseri holds dearly.
The producer of the trendy “Super Tuscan” Oreno and the fabulous Crognolo, has joined the likes of Sassicaia and Ornellaia, in defying the opinion that great Italian wine should be made using solely indigenous grapes. While he respects the land and its undeniable contribution to the successful creation of a living, breathing wine, he also believes that the suitability of the soil pleads for it to be cultivated to grape varieties from other lands and allowing nature to take its course.
The story of Tenuta Sette Ponti begins in 1935 when Prince Amedeo (the Duke of Savoy-Aosta) first cultivated his property in the Arezzo Province of Tuscany. This establishment was in celebration of the prince’s victory over the Ethiopian Empire, resulting in the vineyard being named “Vigna dell’Impero” (Vineyard of the Empire). The vines planted were of ancient Sangiovese descent, which ended up being the only ones of their kind. These ancient Sangiovese vines continue to prosper on the Sette Ponti estate to this day and is the foundation of the eponymous wine label, Vigna dell’Impero, as well as the base for the Crognolo bottling.
Twenty years later, inspired by Tuscan viticulture and the history of its land, architect, Alberto Moretti Cuseri acquired the first 55 hectares from Prince Amedeo’s daughters, Princess Margherita and Maria Christina of Savoy-Aosta. He fully dedicated himself to his passion for viticulture, giving impetus to what today is the Tenuta Sette Ponti. Enthused by the great suitability (terroir) of the land, he began working the vineyards to produce grapes to sell to producers, but he didn’t make his own wine.
The estate really beings to take form in the 1990s when Alberto’s son, Antonio Moretti Cuseri, driven by passion and an interest in wine (which he had since he was young) took control of his father’s winery and worked alongside the best viticulturists and enologists in Tuscany to elevate the suitability of soil for the production of quality wines, thus launching his own brand; becoming the official birth of Tenuta Sette Ponti. He stopped selling his grapes to other producers and in 1998 released his first label: Crognolo, which is made from clones of the historic Sangiovese vines in the estate’s oldest vineyard, Vigna dell’Impero. His next big release happened a year later with the release of Oreno, a wine that after only three harvests reached the top of the most important world wine rankings. In-depth research, an incredible love for vines and for age-old expertise about the art of winemaking has made it possible for Sette Ponti to make exceedingly high quality, organic wines in line with Tuscan Traditions.
Today, Sette Ponti, named for the seven bridges (Sette Ponti translates to “Seven Bridges”) that extend over the Arno River on the road from Florence to Arezzo, has welcomed the third generation of the Cuseri family into the family business. The descendants have begun collaborating with their father, each placed in roles that suit their strengths. The new generation represents the company’s strong values, an expression of tradition and the great passion passed down by their father. A fresh and new vision of viticulture is strengthened by high-quality wines boasting an international flair, consistently gaining symbols of Italian excellence and authentic style. The Cuseri family wines have become masterpieces, treasured all over the world.
Nestled among the unique landscape of Chianti Classico DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) sixty hectares of vineyards blanket the grounds around the sprawling, family-owned estate. The Central Tuscan location is considered prime real estate. The vineyards, which are 100% organic, are planted to Sangiovese (planted in 1935) Bordeaux varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Merlot, as well as Malvasia and Trebbiano, which is used in the production of their sweet dessert wine, Grisoglia. The estate is managed by expert farmers and agronomists whose aim is to make the highest quality wines possible and which get their start between the rows, as envisioned by its forefather. The portfolio includes the estate’s crown jewel, Oreno (produced from Bordeaux varietals) Crognolo (90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot) Vigna dell’Impero (100% Sangiovese, planted in 1935) Vigna di Pallino Chianti DOCG, Vigna di Pallino Superiore Chianti Superiore DOCG and Grisoglia IGT (Typical Geographical Indication). The superstars Oreno and Crognolo are both classified as IGT, but have become tremendously popular on the world market, with Oreno becoming a top-tier label and considered to have joined the ranks of “Super Tuscans.”
Behind each label is a special terroir; each varietal being cultivated in the most suitable soils. The terroir is generally comprised of crumbly, marl-like clay-sandstone soils, with some areas containing gravely clay and sand. Not only are these soils perfectly attuned to indigenous varietals, such as Sangiovese, but is incredibly agreeable to Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Because of the estate’s location, aspect, latitude, and longitude, the vineyards give life to unique wines full of elegance, longevity, and fruity aromas. The winds and lighter breezes from the nearby Pratomagno zone ventilate the vineyards, contributing to their health. The predominantly hilly region with vineyard elevations rising up to 550 meters above sea level give birth to a variety of soils and micro-climates.
Antonio Cuseri has great respect for the environment. A major goal at Sette Ponti is to combine high-plant density, spurred-cordon vine training and a low number of buds per plant to obtain carefully selected grapes appropriate to making unique wines. It starts with short pruning, careful green harvest, and thinning before picking. Grapes then arrive at the cellar and undergo a manual selection of individual grapes to maintain uncompromising quality. Similar to the growing and harvesting approach, each step in the vinification process is completed with the utmost care, respect for tradition, with minimal intervention.
Antonio Cuseri’s philosophy is that to make great wines it must start with great grapes. His innovative and fearless approach to viticulture, while still respecting tradition, has created a brand which is a symbol of success and refutation; for Tenuta Sette Ponti has risen to elite status by producing world-class wines from international grape varieties, disproving the ideal that only indigenous grape varieties produce great Italian wines.