Wines of Complex Elegance from Tuscany
The Máté family wine estate nestles on two private hills in the temperate, seaward zone of Montalcino. A Roman vineyard 2,000 years ago, the seven campi of marvelously varied terroir lie between 300 and 400 meters above sea level. Totaling 7 hectares (15 acres) among Mediterranean woods of herbs and wild fruit, they were designed by Fabrizio Moltard, agron-omist to Angelo Gaja. The clones, chosen for each field by France’s Pierre Guillaume, com-prise: Sangiovese (in fossil-filled tufo), Merlot (in sandy clay), Cabernet Sauvignon (in marl), and Syrah (on mineral-rich, southern terraces).
Planted to a high density of 6,200 vines per hectare, (3,000 per acre), the yields are kept extremely low by three annual green prunings to concentrate flavors. Selected, hand-picked at fullest maturity and fermented in small temper-ature-controlled stainless steel vats or new wooden barrels, the grapes are punched down by hand to extract colors and tannins, while the must is kept cool to maintain the rich aromas of fruits and spices. The wines are aged for up to two years and a half in Allier French oak barriques and tonneaux.
In the Máté vineyards and winery, no effort is spared to yield wines of great refinement, replete with unforgettable flavors.
Ferenc Máté, author of The Hills of Tuscany and A Vineyard in Tuscany, and his wife Candace, a painter, left New York City in 1990 for the Tuscan countryside. In one of the world’s most prestigious wine zones, the seaward slopes of Montalcino, they bought an ancient, abandoned farm with two hills, a canyon with waterfalls and a 13th century friary with a tower and courtyard. Their neighbors were world-renowned wine makers Angelo Gaja and Gianfranco Soldera. Being perfectionists, the Mátés performed a “museum quality” restoration of the friary, then hired Gaja’s agronomist and France’s Pierre Guillaume to select the best varietals and clones in planting their four vineyards of wonderfully varied exposition, elevation and soil composition. Their Syrah and Merlot debued in 2006 from the difficult 2002 vintage. Their success was immediate: Wine & Spirits gave the Merlot 90 points, and Dr. Michael Apstein of the Boston Globe, rated the Syrah 92 points, calling it, “remarkable: luscious…gorgeously layered and seductive.“ Their wines continue to receive 'Outstanding' scores and recognition for their excellence. Their Brunello appeared on a TOP 100 list and has received Classic Scores (95 points) from both Wine Spectator and JamesSuckling.com.