Our tasting impressions
A really lovely nose with bright, ripe fruit aromas. It's young and a touch fuller and sexier than prior years, but that's to be expected given the vintage. One thing you can always count on from Vittorio is an honest representation of what nature offers his vines. Despite a tannic finish, this is terrific Vino Nobile and - as always - an incredible value.
About this wine
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG is, along with Brunello and Chianti Classico, the epitome of Sangiovese-based wines in Tuscany. At their best, Vino Nobile combine the power of Brunello with the finesse of Chianti.
Innocenti’s Vino Nobile is a very traditional blend of predominantly Sangiovese (technically Prugnolo Gentile, the name for its local sub-variety) with some Canaiolo and Colorino. Fermentation and maceration, with the skins, lasts 15-20 days. It ages 30 months in oak barrels (only 24 is required) then passes through a wide-grain filter for bottling. It is released much later than most Vino Nobile after bottle aging at least 2 months in the Innocenti's cellar.
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.
Canaiolo and Colorino are traditional blending grapes for Tuscan Sangiovese. Colorino is sparsely used today. Apropos of the name, its deep pigmentation mostly adds color to the blend but also tannins. Canaiolo balances the other two with softness and imparts graceful herbal flavors.
About the vintage
Damp and chilly weather ushered in the growing season reducing and concentrating the grapes. Much of the balance of 2015 was hot and dry. Overall, an excellent vintage in Tuscany with ripe, rich fruit that remains balanced.
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.