When you reach it, the Canneto cellar welcomes you with a wonderful view on Montepulciano and Monticchiello, a gentle slope that descends among the vineyards.
I happened to visit Canneto during one of the hottest days of the summer, so hot that it’s even hard to appreciate the sight. When I arrived, they were bottling some Rosso di Montepulciano 2014, to make room for the Merlot that will probably need to be harvested earlier in August.
“We must get ready to do everything earlier – explained Ottorino de Angelis, administrator of the company – If we don’t harvest it when it’s ripe, the merlot grape shrivels up. It needs to be picked up at the right time, that’s why we’re making room in the cellar. The Sangiovese grapes don’t have this problem: with this heat it stops growing until September, when it’s more rainy and fresh, and we can harvest it in October”.
Ottorino took me for a tour. I was expecting a walk around the cellar, but instead we got on his Jeep and drove all around the farmstead, on the western side of the hill of Montepulciano. Every visitor can travel the narrow streets of the property, so that they can walk along the vines and the olive trees, up to the agritourism at the bottom of the slope. There’s even a small lake for the drop by drop irrigation, where some ducks were bathing when we passed by.
The farm comprehend 48 hectares of land, the most of it cultivated with vineyards. Vino Nobile is their main product, with 17 hectares dedicated to sangiovese, merlot and cabernet grapes. Four more hectares are left to the olive trees for the production of extra virgin olive oil. Ottorino was particularly proud to show me the farmstead, even in a busy day like that.
“To me, it’s the most beautiful company of Montepulciano. It’s hard to find 50 hectares all in the same place, around the cellar, with such a view. It’s possible to tour the whole property by feet, as the streets can be travelled in summer and in winter too, when it rains and when it’s sunny.”
The tour continued inside the vinification cellar, where the selection and fermentation processes take place. The wine will come back here at the end of its journey, before being bottled.
We went on into the storage cellar, where the bottle wine can rest for up to a year. Since last spring, Canneto has opened a new tasting space, a small but cosy wine shop that adds to the cellar tours. Over 70% of the Canneto wine is sold abroad, mostly to the USA and swiss markets.
The connection to Switzerland is very strong: the farm is in fact owned by a swiss company, Canneto AG, in Zurich. During the ‘70s, some swiss friends with a passion for wine began to import table wine from Montepulciano, spreading its name in their country and increasing the number of estimators of the product. From here was born the idea to create a winery. In 1987 they had their occasion: they appointed Ottorino de Angelis, agronomist, to buy the Canneto winery and to expand the production, which at the time was only cask wine.
They bottled the ’85 wine that was in the cellar when they bought it and started to sell it bottled. During the last 30 years the winery is still running by its own means, without any outside help. They built a new cellar, increased the hectares of vineyards and opened up to new markets, gathering prizes and praises from the major wine magazines.
The Vino Nobile is always the king among the Canneto production, but we should not forget about the Rosso di Montepulciano and the Chianti, and the Supertuscan Igt “Filippone”. There’s also a grappa made with marcs of Vino Nobile, a table white wine called “Calamus” and a white grape muffato.
From the next year, Canneto will start selling a selection of Vino Nobile Riserva called “Casina di Doro”, from the name of the cabin where the poliziano Doro Capitoni used to go hunting.
Ottoring showed me with great satisfaction the plate carrying the latest votes obtained from some prestigious magazines, as a certification of the quality of their product:
“Every year I try to do a bit better. Even if I’m 78 I still try to improve the production, the reception of our guests, to leave the winery in better conditions than when I found it. Also the overall quality in Montepulciano is increased, the commercial superiority of wines such as Brunello doesn’t stand up on a technical level. When I started my work at Canneto, 30 years ago, the quality was much inferior: now it’s very high, in every cellar of Montepulciano.”
(For tours and informations: Via dei Canneti 14, Montepulciano – Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel.: +39 0578 757737)