2018 Podere Le Boncie Le Cinque
Giovanna Morganti forged her vision for Podere Le Boncie when she was a young winemaker. Her father, a renowned enologist, gave her a three-acre farm with olive groves near Castelnuovo Berardenga in the southern part of the Chianti Classico region. Giovanna planted a vineyard in the farm’s rocky, alberese soil with her favorite native Tuscan grapes — Sangiovese, obviously, but also Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda, Mammolo, and Prugnolo. And then she cultivated her vines and fermented their fruits scrupulously, intelligently, honestly, naturally.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s, many vintages of Giovanna’s beautiful wines were rejected by the Chianti Classico tasting commission as being “atypical.” And in those decades, because most Chianti Classico producers were corrupting their Tuscan wines with French grapes and new oak from small French barrels, Giovanna’s wines were atypical of the region. The commission compelled Giovanna to label her wines as Toscana Rosso rather than Chianti Classico. Today, Giovanna’s style of winemaking is emulated by her peers in Chianti Classico and heralded as the bellwether of the region. And the region’s tasting commission has been offering her the official Chianti Classico imprimatur. But Giovanna refuses them. “I don’t want to belong,” she says. “I like being on the outside.” She adds, “I don’t consider myself better than the rest. Just different.”
Giovanna sacrifices the sweat of her brow for the expressive character of her wines. She cultivates her vineyards according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture. She prefers gobelet vine training, which gives her “half the yield but twice the quality.” She favors harvesting by hand, natural fermentations in open-topped wooden casks, and long, tranquil aging regimens in large, used barrels.
Giovanna’s flagship wine is Le Trame, and its 2017 vintage reveals the pure beauty of the Sangiovese grape from the terroir of Tuscany. This is a bewitching wine of dark, robust cherry and powerful minerality. Its fruit soars from your glass, while the depth of its concentration and the balance of its structure persist on your palate and in your memory. Whether you drink a bottle of it tonight or in five, 10, 15, or 20 years, you’ll have one of the great wine experiences of your life.
The name of Podere Le Boncie’s Cinque acknowledges the five grape varieties comprising the wine: Sangiovese, Colorino, Mammolo, Foglia Tonda and Ciliegiolo. Cinque was sold exclusively at the winery until Giovanna acquired a vineyard called Chiesa Monti about two miles up the road from her house. While the 2018 Cinque is gentler and less structured than 2017 Le Trame, it is no less majestic a wine or less expressive of the warmth and generosity of southern Tuscany and of the purity of Giovanna’s winemaking style.
Giovanna and Podere Le Boncie show us all what Chianti Classico is at its best, and I personally hold both Giovanna’s Le Trame and Cinque in the highest regard. These are two of Italy’s most special wines. Different and better than the rest.