Chianti Montalbano DOCG is one of the red wine-only sub-regions within the wider Chianti DOCG. West of Florence (‘Firenze’) the production zone straddles the provinces of Pistoia (PT) and Florence (FI) across the ten communes listed below.
Communes: Serravalle Pistoiese (PT). | Monsummano Terme (PT). | Larciano (PT). | Lamporecchio (PT). | Quarrata (PT). | Carmignano (FI). | Poggio a Caiano (FI). | Capraia e Limite (FI). Vinci (FI). | Cerreto Guidi (FI).
Terroir: The vineyards lie in the high Montalbano hills on the northern side of the Arno, down river from Florence, west of (and overlooking) that city, and south of Pistoia, at the centre of which is the Carmignano DOCG zone (David Gleave: 1989, p.99). Carmignano (in the province of Pistoia) was part of the Chianti Montalbano zone until 1975 when it broke away to form its own Barco Reale di Carmignano DOCG denomination.
The Montalbano region–dotted by medieval Medici villas and more modern (cultivated plant) nurseries–is named after the 600-metre high peak, Monte Albano, to the west of the plain uniting Pistoia and Prato with Florence. Monte Albano was contested by Florence, Pistoia and Prato in medieval times. The area was once known for its straw, used to cover Chianti bottles. Pistoia’s historic relationship with Florence was sometimes tense–building work on Pistoia’s Palazza del Comune was suspended more than once due to conflicts with Florence.
By the C16th-century, relations had settled. Florentine families built villas in the area. Near Quarrata is the Medici Villa della Màgia, restructured by Bernardo Buontalenti. Giulio Rospigliosi (Pope Clement IX) was a Pistoia native who in 1669 ordered construction, to plans by Bernini, of the villa that still bears his family name and it one of the showiest aristocratic homes of the time.
Wine style: Historically Chianti Colli Montalbano is seen to produce soft, round, scented wines for easy drinking, wines which David Gleave MW (‘Chianti & Nothing But’, Decanter Tuscany Supplement 1991 p.26) says tend ‘toward the lighter style, and lack the cedary, leafy elegance that the Cabernet lends to Carmignano.’
David Gleave, ‘The Wines of Italy‘ (Salamander Books, London, 1989), p.99.