Salcheto | Organic estate winery in the Montepulciano region of Tuscany. The main wines are Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOC, and Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG. In 1983 Cecilia Naldoni and her husband Fabrizio Piccin (he was in the navy; she worked in a photo laboratory) bought 26ha of land, mainly arable and grazing, with only 3ha of vines, whose wine was initially sold in bulk (George, R: 2004, p.197). In 1990 they bottled their first wine (George, R: 2004, p.197). In 1997 they moved to Basilicata–see under Piccin–having sold Salcheto to Michele Manelli (from Sassuolo; he is also the Amministratore Delegato here), Luca de Feo (from Napoli; lives in Milan), and Ron Prashker (from Israel; lives in NY).

The name | ‘Salco’ means willow tree in Tuscan. Willow branches were used to bind and tie vine shoots. Salcheto is the name of the stream which rises in at the foot of the hilltop town Montepulciano and winds throough a valley where willows abounded. The stream forms part of the Salcheto estate’s border. Salcehto also plants willow which it uses as part of drive to be energy self-sufficient. The estate is off grid due its energy positive wine cellar (energy independence), and it uses the lightest glass wine bottles on the market (‘Toscanalla Bordelese’). Its integrated estate management model (re greehouses gases, water, biodiversity) is unique in terms of its water and cabron footprint.

Staff | Director: Michele Manelli since 1997 (see above). Oen: Paolo Vagaggini (still consulting here in 2015).

Vineyards | 2004 In 2004 there were 15ha of Montepulciano and 8ha of Chianti Colli Senesi near Chianciano (George, R: 2004, p.197). | 2015 In October 2015 at the estate ) I was told there were 50ha of vines in total:

– 28ha of Vino Nobile at Loc. Sant Albino (which is where the winery is). A nice site, getting the wind coming up of the Arezzo plain (Chiana V alley). The vines looked good and the soil in the oldest vineyard which had just been turned also looked and smelt good.

– 11ha at Loc. Poggio Piglia between Chianciano and Chiusi [which commune? Need to cross reference]. These grapes are for Chianti Colli Senesi. Grapes for the dessert wines also come from here.

– 11ha at Loc. La Bandita between Trequanda and Pienza [which commune? Need to cross reference]. These grapes are used for Chianti Colli Senesi and Rosato.

Vineyards | 2015 50 hectares. In the Martiena and Paterno zones of Montepulciano. 15ha of Vino Nobile and 4ha of Rosso di Montepulciano.

Organic certification2012 First vintage with full organic certification for all the vines.

Winery, Green initiatives | The first vintage here was 1990. A new winery was ready for the 2011 harvest. Completely underground and following ‘zero gravity’ precepts. The winery says it became Europe’s first to be self-sufficient ( “off grid”) with its 2011 harvest. Most of the energy comes from renewable resources and recycled winery materials. Water reclamation. Natural light. Solar panels for the cellar. Carbon dioxide from fermentation is captured/re-used (by being put in the lower part of the steel tank divided from the main part via a metal pipe and is used to turn the marc). Use lightweight Bordolese Toscanella bottles. GHG certification (green carbon footprint sticker on the bottles).

Winemaking | 100% hand picked. Some botti but mainly French and US oak barrels. The barrels can be spun.

White wines

Toscana Bianco, Pigliatello2009 2.500 half bottles. €27.50 for 500 ml from their restaurant/retail. Trebbiano and Malvasia. Late harvest. Dried on the plant. Picked end of November, early December. Noble rot too. Barrel fermented and aged 24m in oak. 13% + 86g/l RS. Bit blurred, some icing sugar, satisfying rich ripe honey and butterscotch, but lacks a little bit of clarity but will be a crowd-pleaser at the estate on 21st October 2015.

Toscana Bianco, Obvius Bianco2016 80% Trebbiano (organic estate vines), 20% Vermentino (from Incontri, a small estate in Suvereto). Nice apple and H2S at the Anteprima del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 16th Feb 2017. | 2018 70% Trebbiano from the Poggio Piglia estate, blended with 30% Vermentino made in collaboration with the biodynamic estate Incontri from Suvereto. Wild ferment. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Unfiltered. No added sulphites. Stelvin. 12,000 bottles. Lemony at the 2019 Anteprima.

Pink wines

Obvius Rosato | A blend of the three estates: Salceto, Poggio Piglia and La Bandita. | 2014 IGT Toscana. €15 from their restaurant/retail. 18,000 bottles. 90% Sang. 4m in steel. 10% CN, Mammolo, Merlot, CF, PV. Unfiltered, Cert org, no added sulfites. This really really good, very savoury and clean with lovely earth, sourness at end (licorice) but I don’t mind that. Really interesting. Nice length too, ripeness and freshness. Very good at the estate on 21st October 2015. Tried again over three days, the last of which was Sunday 01st Nov 2015 (one of three unopened bottles they gave me) and the wine held up really well, and three a light sedmient: again sour-savoury cherry, with some tannin, and licorice, quite “dulled” in its way but not in the sense of oxidised or dirty, just appealingly minor key, really good.

Red wines

Obvius Rosso | 2014 20,000 bottles. 100% Sangiovese. From Vigna della Bandita. €15 from their restaurant/retail. Steel then 6m in oak before bottling. Cert organic, no added sulfites. Needs a bit of air and she is right as this is the first time it has seen air since it was a grape. Nice plum fruit, youthful tannin prickle, sweetness and menthol coolness, with the no sulfite end too but also good, some bitter licorice at the estate on 21st October 2015. | 2016 Very clean, then some spritz, bit of egg at the end.

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG, Biskero80% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo, Mammolo. | 2014 80,000 bottles. 85% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and Mammolo. 20,000 bottles. Certified organic. €7.50 from their restaurant/retail. 4m steel. 30% in US oak for 2 months. Nice woody nose, with plenty of modernist fruit behind it. Clean and fragrant but modern. Some green on palate, spiky, enough sweetness of fruit,but does finish a touch dry, maybe a little cool at this time. Sour cherry at the estate on 21st October 2015.

Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, Salcheto2013 Plum style, lots of fruit and sweetness at the Anteprima del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 17th Feb 2014. | 2014 32K. €10 from their restaurant/retail. Certified organic. 4m in steel. 85% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and Merlot. Very youthful, fluffy fruit with some green and a hint of reduction or cheese but decent fluidity and grip. Bit of green acid too. Not bad for a fluid year at the estate on 21st October 2015.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Salcheto | 2002 Tank/vat sample of which a darkish modern colour but relatively tame extraction but also a fair bit of French oak, can’t really judge as sure this is from a good barrel rather than a final blend but good sexy modern international style at the consorzio on Tuesday 8th March 2005. | 2011 Very good weight, rich and old-viney at the Anteprima del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 17th Feb 2014. | 2012 €17 from their restaurant/retail. 100% Sangiovese. 18m in botti and tonneaux. Get new oak on the nose. Not too powerful, subtle, modernist but not a caricature. 65,000 bottles. Needs to settle down oak-wise but plenty going on, savoury too, good used of older and newer oak. For me to drink now to 2022 at the estate on 21st October 2015. | 2014 Nice crisp red/black fruit, savoury too (Anteprima 2017). | 2015 Primary black fruit, rich extract, a little drying, biggish mouthful at the Anteprima 2018. | 2016 18m in botti. 13.5%. Nice and soft, clean and clear, plenty of ripe fruit (2019 Anteprima).

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Salco | From the most mature plots in the vineyards of the company, the “Salco” (2 ha/5 acres) and the “Laghetto” (3,5 ha/8 acres), Salco is produced thanks to a clone of Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile that at each vintage reaches with ease a slight over ripeness. After maturing 2 years in wood, it is refined up to 4 years in our cellar. | 2013 100% Sangiovese. | 2015 Wild fermented in 70hl wooden vats. No added sulfites. Smooth bricky cranberry, well styled, fresh-tasting (Anteprima 2018).

2089 | Same as Salcho but as this is a blend of 2008 and 2009 it is in IGT. 6,260 bottles. 100% Sangiovese. 2 years in French tonneaux, 4 years in bottle pre-release. €70 from their restaurant/retail. Nice sweet fruit. Ripe and plummy, with new oak, even middle. Not heavy at the estate on 21st October 2015.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva, Salcheto 2010 95% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino. 15,000 bottles. Made with the governo toscano (15% left to dry and then added to provoke a second fermentation). 24m in botti. Nice at the Anteprima del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 17th Feb 2014. Delicious, really nice and soft and moreish, sweet raspberry fruit with a touch of mint, no edgy tannins, licorice too (I think as this a windy site), very nice indeed, not exotic as more subtle than that at the estate on 21st October 2015. €25 from their restaurant/retail.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva, Salco | Salco means willow. A selection of the best grapes from two plots called Salco (2ha) and Leghetto (3.5ha). First made in 1999. | 2005 Did two bottlings with cork and screwcap. Both have a bit of fizz inside. The screwcap tasted more oxidised, more funky at the estate on 21st October 2015. | 2007 €35 from their restaurant/retail. 100% Sangiovese. 2 years in French tonneaux, 4 years in bottle pre-release. More Mediterranean than the 2010, not as elegent, much fatter and riper and stickier and jammier to be frank at the estate on 21st October 2015. | 2010 €35 from their restaurant/retail. 15K bottles. 100% Sangiovese. Three Glasses from Gambero Rosso. From the oldest vines. 2 years in Fr tonneaux, 3 years in bottle pre-release. Lots of new oak, bit smoky maybe, but youthful and needs time to settle. This has nice licorice, some bitterness too maybe but also lots of youthful savoury sex appeal. Nice end at the estate on 21st October 2015. | 2012 Lovely tannin, rich, lovely end (Anteprima 2017).

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva, Vecchie Viti del Salco | From 2ha of the oldest vines, planted late 1980s, in the Salco vineyard. One bottle per plant. Easily reaches a slight overripeness. It ferments in wood and ages in large and small oak barrels for 18 months. Part of the Alliance Vinum project created by six Vino Nobile producers| 2013 100% Sangiovese. 15% dried grapes (Sangiovese), governo style. These are picked when they have lost 25% of their volume (on the vine). They are fermented apart to 8 degrees baumé then are added to the main tank for a co-ferment. Michele Manelli told me the seeds contain air, and so act as a softener. 14% alcohol. 60-80ppm total sulfites. Aged in 300-litre tonneaux. Interesting mouthfeel (Anteprima 2018).

Visits

Wine tasting On site, for which a charge is made. | Restaurant | With views from the terrace over Montepulciano.

Bibliography

Visit on 21st October 2015.

Contact

Salcheto

Loc. Sant’Albino [Villa Bianca]

Via di Villa Bianca, 15

I-53045 Montepulciano (SI = Siena), Italy

Tel+39 0578.799031 

Website www.salcheto.it