Montecucco DOC dates from 1998 and is located directly south of Montalcino from which it is separated by the Ombrone river, in the coastal province of Grosseto in the Maremma in south west Tuscany. The DOC stretches from the western slopes of Tuscany’s highest mountain and extinct volcano, Mount Amiata (Monte Amiata) which is to the east, down towards the plain and the Tyrrhenian coast. Montecucco is bordered by the Morellino di Scansano DOCG and the Bianco di Pitigliano DOC in Grosseto provincein the south, by the Monteregio di Massa Marittima DOC in the west, and by Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata to the east (Rosemary George MW: 2004), p.295).
Consorzio: A fundamental step for the development of the denomination was the birth of the Consorzio di Tutela, founded by 21 producers in 2000, two years after the recognition of the DOC.
Size: In 2011 the Consorzio represented 52 companies out of about 70, over 500 hectares of vineyards on a total vineyard area of 750-800 hectares; and over 1.2 million bottles out of a total production of 1.8 million per year. Numbers destined to grow, given that the production potential of Montecucco, if all the vineyards were dedicated to the DOC, would reach 5.5 million bottles. In 2000 only a few tens of thousands of bottles were produced under the Montecucco DOC and there were about ten wineries in the area.
Name: The Montecucco DOC was named after the region’s most famous wine producing locality, the hill of Monte Cucco. That one of the DOC’s producers also bears the Montecucco name creates confusion and risks the image of the zone being tied to the performance of that particular estate.
Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG added: In 2011 Monteucco’s Sangiovese red wines were given their own Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG.
Production zone: The Montecucco DOC and Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG zones cover vineyards in the 8 communes listed below, all of which are in the province of Grosseto.
Wine quality: In my report for the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards blind tasting competition (for which I was Tuscany Chair) I wrote ‘Montecucco’s hilly terroir overlooks its neighbour Montalcino from on high. Mountain (monte) even features in Montecucco’s name. Yet Montecucco’s red wines often taste heavy, thick and flat and as if they were grown in the wheat fields on the plain. Time for a stylistic re-think?’
Montecucco DOC Bianco DOC: 40-100% Vermentino and / or Trebbiano grapes, 0-60% other permitted white grapes.
Montecucco DOC Vermentino: 85-100% Vermentino.
Montecucco DOC Rosato: 70-100% Sangiovese and /or Ciliegiolo grapes “vinified in rosé”, 0-30% other permitted grapes.
Montecucco DOC Rosso: 60-100% Sangiovese, 0-40% other authorised red grapes. Oak optional. It can be sold in September of the year following the harvest.
Montecucco DOC Rosso Riserva: 12 months in wood, 6 months in bottle. Can be sold from the 1st of November two years after the harvest.
Montecucco Vin Santo DOC: 70-100% Malvasia Bianca, Grechetto, Trebbiano.
Montecucco Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice DOC: 70-100% Sangiovese.
Certified Biodynamic: Campinuovi.
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p.174.
Rosemary George MW,. Treading Grapes (London, 2004), p.295)