BACKGROUND | The Mantengoli family has owned the “La Rasa” estate since 1933. In the early 1970s the first wines were made under the La Rasina label by Santi Mantengoli (who had 6 or 7 siblings). Santi bought his own farm, La Rasa. Having succeeded him, Santi’s two sons Vasco and Ennio divided the La Rasa estate in 2004. Vasco took what is now La Rasina, and Ennio created what is now La Serena from his share. La Serena is now run by Ennio’s son Andrea Mantengoli and the latter’s wife Elisabetta (their son is called Giorgio). Ennio’s other son Marcello is an architect and designed the estate’s winery.
VINEYARDS | The estate is located east-north-east of Montalcino where the hills start descending towards Torrenieri and the Asso river valley. The altitude is around 400 metres. / 2015 Andrea Mantengoli told me (at the organic meeting at Col d’Orcia on 26th May 2015) La Serena had about 50ha of land in total of which 10ha were vines, 3ha were olives, 3ha were woodland, and the rest was land for sowable crops (‘seminativo‘). The vineyards are south-east facing. 5,000 vines/ha. Spurred cordon (‘cordone speronato’) and Guyot (‘capovolto toscano’) are utilized as training systems. Andrea told me ‘capovolto toscano‘ (arched cane) gave him looser bunches and smaller grapes. / 2018 At the winery on 9th Oct 2018 Andrea told me he now had 60ha of land of which 12ha were vines, and 3 hectares were woodland. He had added 1.4ha of rented vines (around one KM from the winery, which were already farmed organically, but the grapes were sold) and had bought 1ha of planting rights, planting in 2015 (on Richter 110 rootstock) in a spot below the vines of Cerbaia.
SOILS | Calcareous-clay with galestro in several locations. Average altitude 350 metres. Near neighbours are La Rasina and Cerbaiona.
COVER CROPS | 2018 Andrea told me in 2018 he sows spelt (‘farro’) and other cereals which are intermixed with Egyptian clover in every other row, and leaves the other row to native vegetation. He allows the spelt to grow quite high, then rolls or cuts it (“its stems break easily”) to form a mulch in early May. This keeps the soil cool, prevents erosion, and adds organic matter. Also, seeds which did not germinate at sowing can also grow through the mulch. He says the cover crops are useful at sucking up the rain. He can mow in wet years. He also said ‘Patience is a virtue. Sometimes knowing when to do absolutely nothing is also a skill.’
ORGANIC CERTIFICATION | 2013 First vintage with organic certification (Ruggero Mazzilli is advising).
WINERY | The winery was planned from 2004 and was completed for the 2006 vintage. Underground. Stainless steel for fermentation and oak vats for ageing. Cathedral-like, and would be a winery I’d enjoy working in. Well worth a visit.
ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC | Fermentation at controlled temperature. 12 months in French oak casks, tonneaux and barriques. / 2003 Light whole berries and cool pre-ferm, decent at Benvenuto Brunello 18 Feb 2005.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, LA SERENA | 2000 Nice ripe sweet fruit, decent balance at Benvenuto Brunello 18 Feb 2005. / 2010 15% alcohol. / 2013 14% Organic. Lovely deep fruit, underlying power, smooth, rich, plenty of time needed for this to open up fully, tasted in Oct 2018 after a visit to the winery.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG RISERVA, GEMINI | 2006 Aged 100% in barriques. / 2007 Bottled. / 2010 Bottled. / 2012 15% L0217
La Serena, Azienda Agricola La Rasa 1° di Mantengoli Andrea, Loc. La Serena, 151 / I-53024, Montalcino (SI=Siena), Italy / +39 0577.848659 / www.cantinalaserena.com
Visit to the estate on 09th Oct 2018.