Our tasting impressions
Acerone is Vittorio's favorite wine. The 2011 is a worthy successor to the remarkable 2010. Most notably, it demonstrates the transparency of Innocenti wines. The high temperatures that characterized 2011 are apparent in this powerful, dark wine. The fruit is ripe but well balanced.
It is astounding that a wine of this magnitude and sophistication is available at this price. One day, I will do a blind tasting with some Tuscan wine mavens that includes Acerone along with the region's iconic wines costing two and three times more. Don't bet against Innocenti and don't miss this wine.
About this wine
IGT stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica. Technically, it is the humblest designation for Italian wines. In Tuscany, IGT was in the spotlight when producers, who were railing against the constraints of the DOC system, introduced Super Tuscans.
Named for a vineyard in Montefollonico, this Rosso Toscano is made only in the best vintages and uses Innocenti's best hand-harvested Sangiovese grapes from vines 40 years old. Fermentation and maceration on the skins lasts 15-20 days.
The wine age in oak barrels for 4–5 years. It is bottled with a wide-grain filter and left to rest in the cellar for at least 6 months prior to release.
About the grape
Sangiovese is the most planted grape in Italy and is the dominant grape throughout the central part of the country. There are many variants and even different names like Prugnolo Gentile, Brunello, Sangioveto and Morellino.
The grapes are dark and thick skinned, slow-ripening, acidic and tannic. Like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is heavily influenced by its terroir and similarly can be quite transparent in its differences from place to place.
Traditionally, Sangiovese-based wines (except in Montalcino) have other grapes mixed in, but in recent history there have been many successful wines produced from 100% Sangiovese. So, today, they are quite common.
About the vintage
2011 was a yo-yo year for weather - except August, which was consistently scaldingly hot. Those who knew when to pick, like Innocenti, produced rich wines that also are fresh and lively.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
Vittorio Innocenti, a former philosophy teacher and his son Tommaso run this estate from a 13th century cellar in Montefollonico. They own 32 hectares in and around Montepulciano but only 12 are planted with vineyards of up to 50 years old. The vista views from the back patio are incredible.
They produce seven wines, but the cellars (in multiple locations) are dominated by the small barrels containing Vin Santo - a traditional Tuscan dessert wine. Vittorio says he has enough crops to produce more wine but he can’t because there is no room to store it.
Vittorio speaks no English and I no Italian. So we struggle to communicate in French unless, as usually is the case, his close friend Laura is on hand to translate. Despite the language gap, I like and have a deep respect for Vittorio. He is intensely committed to producing the highest quality wines and takes as much pride in his most modest offering as he does his top bottling.
VDLT is the only North American source for these extraordinary wines.