Leading Italian producer calls for greater professional standards
Federico Carletti, owner of the 125-ha Poliziano estate in Montepulciano, and head of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano said the confusion between the Sangiovese-based Montepulciano wines and those of its Abruzzo neighbours was "crazy".
He said Abruzzo wineries should change their labels to reflect the terroir and DOC first and foremost (as in Abruzzo), then the variety - Montepulciano. "It would be much better".
He also told Harpers: "The popularity of Tuscan wine is falling a little bit."
Harking back to the "period of discovery" that came with Sassicaia 1985, right up until 1998, he said there are now too many wineries and too much confusion."In 1980 there were 25 wineries in Montepulicano - now there are 300," he said. The massive influx has diluted some of the standards, as outsiders have come into the wine industry, Carletti said. "We need to have more professionals making wine."
Carletti produces around 800,000 bottles per year, all from his own grapes. He aims to make wines that reflect the terroir: "I like to show the differences in the wines - I don't want to follow the market. I like less oak, and want to make wines that reflect the terroir of Montepulciano."
He was inspired to plant Cabernet Sauvignon after a trip to France in January 1983, when he visited Burgundy, the Médoc and St Emilion. He tasted the "unbelievable" Chateau Figeac, came home and planted Cabernet at the end of the same year. But he remains faithful to the Sangiovese variety - it accounts for 80% of his vines.
Sommelier Emily O'Hare, buyer at the River Café said Vino Nobile is "such good value, compared to Barolo - we always offer it to customers looking for that style who don't want to spend that much".
The climate has totally changed in the past 20 years, says Carletti. He says while he's not sure if temperatures have increased, the sun's intensity certainly has. This has forced him to re-examine his canopy management and consider planting at higher altitudes.