German entrepreneur, George Weber, visited many of the world’s most renowned winemaking regions: Bordeaux, Napa Valley, even nearby Bolgheri – home of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Tenuta San Guido. His three-year search ended in Maremma at the “mount of the wild boar” – Monteverro (“verro” is local dialect for wild boar).
Before investing in these 50 hectares of farmland, Weber employed the services of some of the world’s leading experts in agronomy. They ran many tests to verify that the soil composition and climatic conditions were suited to growing grapes, as this particular area had previously only been used for cultivating grains. Detailed chemical analyses of the soil strata were matched with microclimatic data, exposure tests, and other specialized agronomic evaluations.
The results were extremely positive. In fact, the stone-studded clay soils have excellent winemaking capabilities. The medium-depth clay soil is extremely rich in minerals, particularly iron. The vines benefit from a unique microclimate. Nestled at the foothills of the picturesque village of Capalbio in southern Tuscany, a mere five kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea, extremely hot summer days are tempered by constant, cool sea breezes.
Plantings began in 2003 with international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay and small percentages of Syrah and Grenache. Vines now cover 25 of a total of 50 hectares – the total planned area of vineyards.
The vineyards are impeccably maintained. Managing the vineyards plant by plant is a necessary practice if Monteverro is to make wines capable of being compared to the world’s top labels. Annual visits from leading agronomists are scheduled to monitor the vines growth and plan the year’s pruning.
Exceptional care is taken when the grapes are harvested exclusively by hand. Each parcel is divided into microparcels dependent on the ripeness and flavor profile of the grapes at harvest and vinified separately. Immediately following the harvest, the grapes are cooled before being brought to two sorting tables for further selection.
The vines are currently too young to be farmed organically, but the goal is to move in that direction. “What nature is able to do alone, using living organisms to achieve balance for the vines, enables the soil’s character to be expressed in the fruit,” Weber says. “A great wine is like a work of art: it pushes us to seek out and respect each terroir’s unique character.”
Winemaker, Matthieu Taunay says, “Each action undertaken here is [handled] with the care of [an] artisan who understands the strengths and weaknesses, potential and needs of every vine.”
A mere 20 years ago, the region had little to offer beyond its unspoiled natural beauty. It developed a reputation as Tuscany’s “wild frontier.” The facilities were built in such a way to not spoil the picturesque countryside, using natural colors and low roofs in the design scheme. Built into a hillside, the barrel room is housed underground; thus naturally regulating the temperature and humidity.
The great wines of Bordeaux serve as Weber’s inspiration. He aspires to produce an Italian Premier Grand Cru using Bordeaux grapes and Tuscany’s terroir.
Officially launched in 2010 with the release of the 2008 vintage, the vines are still too young to fully express the complexity and elegance Weber aspires to achieve. Nonetheless, Monteverro is off to an exceptional start with ratings ranging from 90-95 points from the major wine publications. It has been hailed as “…one of the most exciting young properties I have come across in a while,” by Wine Advocate’s Italian wine reviewer, Antonio Galloni.
The superstar team is composed of international dynamos.
Although his day-job keeps Weber (front center) based in Munich, his passion for wine often finds him at Monteverro overseeing the operations at the winery.
General Manager, Michael Voegele (far left), has worked alongside Weber from the inception of this project, beginning with the search for the perfect terroir. They have since worked on every detail together, be it financial, productive, or aesthetic.
Winemaker, Matthieu Taunay (far right), is a young Frenchman from the Loire who studied oenology in some of France’s most distinguished schools. After completing his studies, he traveled throughout the world working for many esteemed wineries.
Renowned winemaking consultants, Michel Rolland of Bordeaux and Jean Hoefliger of Napa Valley, lend their expertise to Monteverro as well.
Sales & Marketing Manager, Olympia Romba (back center), has spent many years distributing some of Bordeaux’s most prestigious wines throughout the world.